They visited the Foundling Museum in London.
Prince William and Duchess Kate made sure that their first joint engagement of 2022 was for a worthy cause. On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Foundling Museum in London, which tells the story of an 18th-century hospital first set up as a care home for children.
The duchess became patron of the Foundling Museum in 2019, but it was the first time the couple had visited the historical building together. Though the venue is focused on the past, the issues discussed during their January 19 engagement were very much of the moment, as the royal couple had arranged to meet with representatives from across Britain’s children’s care sector.
Upon arrival, the Cambridges joined a roundtable discussion, which brought together relevant experts and stakeholders to speak about the wider landscape of children’s care in the United Kingdom and the issues that young people leaving care can face, including unemployment, lack of housing, mental health struggles, and addiction.
“From your experience, what makes the difference between a young person succeeding after leaving foster care and when they do not?” they asked the experts. They were then told how young people face additional challenges, such as being exploited by the criminal world, when they regularly move from home to home. William remarked, “If you keep moving a child around, when they are an adult, their relationships are so short and shallow.”
Kate—who wore a long-line blue coat, a favorite pair of Jigsaw trousers, and a pair of $10 earrings from British store Accessorize—is no stranger to conversations about the welfare of children in the U.K., having dedicated the majority of her royal work to early childhood development and the social challenges that affect a child’s growth later in life. Last year, she launched The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to “drive awareness of and action on the extraordinary impact of the early years in order to transform society for generations to come,” a spokesperson said.
Wearing masks when appropriate, the royal pair extended their stay at the museum for an additional 30 minutes to ensure they had enough time to speak with individuals who have lived the experience of the care system and learn about their stories. They also participated in a therapy session with the group.
Before leaving, William and Kate met a group of young care leavers to hear about some of the challenges they have encountered, and the impact of the support and training they are receiving through the Foundling Museum’s Tracing Our Tales program, which provides paid employment and valuable life skills such as public speaking and people management.
Though the engagement was successful, the couple couldn’t completely avoid other dramas the royal family are facing at present. As they left the building, a Sky News reporter asked William, “Do you support Prince Andrew?” He didn’t comment.