Duchess of Cambridge visits ‘Bug-ingham Palace’ at school gardening project

Today, The Duchess of Cambridge visited Robin Hood Primary School in Kingston, where she had the chance to show off her gardening skills and ‘visit’ Bug-ingham Palace. Catherine was there to mark the 10th anniversary of the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) campaign for school gardening.

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Robin Hood primary school, where she is welcomed by pupils and staff (C/ @KensingtonRoyal Twitter)

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The RHS campaign aims to encourage schools to provide opportunities which allow young people to get involved in gardening.  So far, 34,000 schools have taken part in the scheme, including Robin Hood Primary School, where today’s visit was held. The Queen is currently the patron of the RHS, and the charity was first given its royal charter in 1809.

The Duchess arrived at the school to crowds of pupils and staff, with the children waving flags to greet the royal guest. Yesterday she visited the Foundling Hospital Museum.

Kate had the chance to speak to many of the green-fingered pupils, chatting to them about the benefits of gardening as a hobby.  Thanks to the RHS scheme, Robin Hood school has developed an outdoor curriculum, where pupils can learn about gardening in a woodland setting.

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Dressed down for the occasion, Catherine got stuck in as she helped the students to plant daffodil and fritillary bulbs, which will be ready for springtime.

The Duchess was also shown how to whittle sticks in order to make homes for insects. Upon completion, the homes are placed inside the school’s bug hotel, cleverly known as “Bug-ingham Palace” – Kate had a giggle at the choice of name!

The Duchess of Cambridge helps create homes for bugs at Robin Hood primary school (C/ @KensingtonRoyal Twitter)

The campaign for school gardening helps young people to develop skills and qualities such as confidence, working in teams and communication. In keeping with Catherine’s work on mental health, the RHS campaign has discovered that 4 in 5 young people who take part in the programme have used gardening as a method of improving their health and mental wellbeing.

The Royal also spoke of her love of gardening, which she is trying to pass on to George and Charlotte. It is thought the family have a vegetable patch at Anmer Hall.

In a short speech to the playground, Kate told the children and staff: “It’s really inspiring and exciting to see what you’ve all been up to.  I’ve got such fond memories of being in the garden and being outside from my own childhood, and I’m sharing that with my own children, George and Charlotte, at the moment.

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“And I’m really excited about what you’re doing here and taking inspiration from that in the school environment as well.  What you have created here is really so special. Hopefully you’ll have lots of memories of your time here in the garden, looking for insects or planting bulbs.”

To mark 10 years of the campaign, the Duchess was invited to cut a cake which had been made specially for the occasion.

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