Kate Middleton and Prince William Step Out for Their First Royal Outing of the Year

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The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit The Foundling Museum
The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit The Foundling Museum

Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images Kate Middleton

For their first joint outing in the new year, Kate Middleton and Prince William are shining a light on an important children's cause.

The couple headed to the Foundling Museum, which tells the story of the 18th-century Foundling Hospital — the U.K.'s first children's charity. It was initially set up in 1739 as a care home for children at risk of abandonment. Kate is now patron of the museum.

Soon after arriving at the museum in central London, the couple joined a roundtable discussion with experts from across the sector to speak about the wider landscape of foster care in the U.K., the challenges that young people leaving care can face — such as employment, housing, mental health and addiction — and the work underway to tackle these issues.

Princess Kate has made early childhood development a keystone of her royal work. Noting that many of today's hardest social challenges have their roots in the formative childhood years, she has focused on collaborative action to help improve outcomes for kids as they move into adulthood.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit The Foundling Museum
The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit The Foundling Museum

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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During the outing, Kate and William joined the group in a bonding exercise, which had them drawing images on the floor. At one point Kate jokingly asked William, "Is that me?" William replied with a laugh, "Yes, that's you."

They also spoke with those who have experienced the care system first-hand. One of those was poet-writer Lemn Sissay, who helped with Kate's portraits project, Hold Still, which captured life in the U.K. amid the pandemic. He also spoke at her Christmas carol concert in December. Sissay's book, My Name Is Why, chronicled his own story of a life in the foster care system.

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The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit The Foundling Museum
The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit The Foundling Museum

Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Images Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Foundling Museum

One of the main activities in the museum is to use the work of artists, writers and musicians to develop learning programs, especially for marginalized and vulnerable young people. This aligns with Kate's interest in art therapy that is used across some of the mental health charities and organizations that she supports in her wider public work.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit The Foundling Museum
The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit The Foundling Museum

Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images Prince William and Kate Middleton

Some of those who have been helped by the "Our Tales" program have gone on to run art workshops at the museum. William and Kate were shown the project, which was set up to help young adults who have experienced foster care learn the skills to devise and help with workshops at the museum for families, with it providing paid employment and valuable life skills in the process.