Today, February 22, The Duchess of Cambridge embarked on a 2-day solo trip to Denmark with The Centre for Early Childhood (which is set up through The Royal Foundation). Kate spent the first day visiting the University of Copenhagen, the Children’s Museum in Frederiksberg, and the Lego Foundation PlayLab.
Kate’s BA flight out of Heathrow was delayed by 30 mins, but once she landed in Denmark she was met by the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, Mrs. Emma Hopkins. I mention this only because it’ll be “counted” as an engagement in the end of year numbers because counting engagements is a weird science lol.
Kate then went to her first visit at the Centre for Early Intervention and Family Studies at the University of Copenhagen, after which she visited the Children’s Museum in Frederiksberg to meet with parents who benefitted from two programs: the ‘Copenhagen Infant Mental Health Project’ (CIMPH) and ‘Understanding Your Baby Project’.
It was during this visit that Kate said she was “broody” and that after visiting with babies she comes home to tell William “let’s have another one”.
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After meeting with two eight-month-old baby boys and their parents, [Kate] joked: “It makes me very broody. William always worries about me meeting under one-year-olds. I come home saying ‘let’s have another one’.”
The Duchess spent time with three Danish health visitors, who told her about their system of continued care for families from pregnancy. They visit seven times in the first year, and have all been trained to teach parents how to boost their baby’s social development through eye contact, chatting and play.
“Do you feel there is an awareness of social and emotional development?” the Duchess asked, adding that in her experience: “There is a lot of talk about feeding and nutrition and physical milestones, but less on the emotional and social milestones.”
Told how even well-educated mothers and fathers struggle with feeling “insecure” about their parenting, she agreed: “[There is] The expectation that maybe they should know already. Whereas some of the more disadvantaged families probably have different challenges? Do you feel there is a challenge for poorer communities and disadvantaged families, of having to concentrate on primary needs? If they are struggling with meeting primary needs [like providing food and clothes] do they have time to focus on social and emotional development?”
In a small art studio, the Duchess sat around a table with two couples, each first-time parents, and their nearly-nine-month-old babies Svend and Aksel.
The Duchess asked them about their experiences of the Danish health visitor system, observing: “From what I’ve heard about health visiting here it seems really extraordinary. This focus on emotional and social development, looking holistically. It’s a highly-regarded profession.”
Asking whether they felt confident asking for help if they were struggling, or whether there was a “stigma”, she heard how important it was for parents to know that their trusted health visitor was giving advice based on research.
“To have first-hand advice based on research, founded in science, must be really good,” she replied.
Commenting on a tendency to look online for answers but not be able to trust the results, she agreed: “It’s a wealth of knowledge but you don’t always know where it’s come from.”
Hearing about how the Danish system trains health visitors to speak to new parents in a non-intimidating way about how to boost their children’s well-being, she asked the fathers whether it helped provide them “with a common language” to discuss emotions with their friends.
“As fathers, do you feel part of this conversation?” she asked. “Particularly the age your kiddies are, often people’s focus is on the mother. Do you feel the health visitors bring you into the role as well?”
Told that yes, many Danish fathers took parental leave, she added: “It’s so nice! You get to know him [your baby].”Mirror
Kate’s final stop of the day was to the Lego Foundation PlayLab at University College Copenhagen. She was there to learn more about the Playful Learning Programme which aims to develop and encourage a more playful approach to children’s development and learning. The program is a partnership between the university colleges and the LEGO Foundation.Embed from Getty Images
One of the most whimsical moments I’ve seen from Kate happened when she went down a slide at the LEGO Foundation. Afterward, she said: “You stood far enough out of the way. In the spirit of where I am, I had to do that.”
Anyone who didn’t think Kate would theme dress for this occasion hasn’t been paying attention because Kate went full Danish flag for her first day. Opting for a repeated red Zara “Textured Double-Breasted Blazer”, a new white ME + EM top, black trousers, black Aspinal Midi Mayfair bag and black Gianvito Rossi pumps.Embed from Getty Images
Kate paid a nod to her host country by selecting earrings from Maria Black, a Copenhagen-based designer. Her necklace is from Monica Vinader.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images