Duchess of Cambridge tells children lockdown is 'difficult for us all' in online assembly

·Royal Correspondent

The Duchess of Cambridge will tell children lockdown has been a difficult time for everyone as she encourages them to look after their mental health in an online assembly.

Kate, a mother of three, recorded an assembly from Anmer Hall which is being broadcast with Oak National Academy, an online classroom developed during the pandemic.

She will tell children tuning in on Thursday morning that “frustrations are totally normal” as she encourages them to be kind to each other.

The duchess will say: “Today, I wanted to talk to you about the importance of being kind and looking after one another.

“We all have our ups and down, especially when things change in our lives as they have in so many ways recently. This can cause us to have a huge range of different feelings. Sometimes these feelings may be good, but sometimes they may be uncomfortable, and we feel worried, angry or upset.

“Being unable to see your friends or spend time with your family will undoubtedly be frustrating for you, just as it is for them. It’s been a really difficult time for us all.

“But it’s important to know that these feelings and frustrations are totally normal, and that they won’t last forever. Talking to someone – whether it’s a friend, family member or teacher – is something you can do to make yourself feel that little bit better.

“And you can also play your part in helping others feel better too. Whether offering a friendly ear, or helping someone in need. Small acts of kindness can go such a long way.

“But as we help others, we mustn’t forget to nurture ourselves by taking the time to focus on the things that make us feel happy too. This might be playing our favourite game, being outside, or talking to our friends. They all help with our mental wellbeing.”

The Duchess at a dinner for Place2Be, which provides emotional support at an early age and believes no child should face mental health difficulties alone. (Getty Images)
The Duchess at a dinner for Place2Be, which provides emotional support at an early age and believes no child should face mental health difficulties alone. (Getty Images)

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The duchess took the theme of kindness, and spoke to five children, aged from five to nine, from Waterloo Primary Academy in Blackpool, whose parents are key workers.

She asked them about their acts of kindness, and looked at their photographs which they have submitted for her Hold Still project.

She asked them: “And what do you think…if a friend of yours is really kind to you, how does that make you feel?”

They replied: “Really happy.”

Then she asked:“And does it make you happy if you’re kind back?” and was told “yes”.

She said: “It’s true isn’t it? So many times when we do things for other people, it makes us feel really good about ourselves.”

Mark Hamblett, head teacher at Waterloo Primary Academy, said he told the children who they would be talking to 10 minutes before so they wouldn’t get nervous.

He said: “I couldn’t be more proud of them. The last few months and weeks have been so difficult to navigate, and the children have been incredible.”

Kate has led an assembly for a school in Blackpool. (Kensington Palace)
Kate has led an assembly for a school in Blackpool. (Kensington Palace)

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Kate, 38, has focused much of her royal work both on Early Years Development and mental health in people of all ages.

The duchess gave the assembly through the virtual academy which has been running assemblies each week to provide some normality for children who are learning from home.

Other famous names who have given an assembly include Beth Tweddle, Stuart Pearce and Helen Sharman.

The Oak National Academy is part of the Reach Foundation, a charitable organisation founded by philanthropists Mark and Wendy Wilson.

While the duchess has not yet made an in-person visit, her husband Prince William made his first face-to-face engagement since lockdown earlier this week, going to Kings Lynn Ambulance Station near their home in Norfolk.

Although the Royal Family will be keen to return to regular engagements, much of their work will still be carried out online or virtually until restrictions ease.

Visits so far have mostly been outside and have observed social distancing rules.