The Prince and Princess of Wales, both 41, joined a group of schoolchildren on Thursday for their weekly lessons outside at their forest school. Each child at Madley Primary School in Hereford attends an outdoor class at least once a week, learning their regular required lessons as well as environmental awareness, conservation and woodland management.
According to the school's website, "Forest school is a fully integrated part of our curriculum and is accessible to all year groups, not just building dens but finding out about ecology, experiencing writing in the woods, construction from natural materials, using equipment safely, using knives correctly and enjoying a stimulating environment."
Prince William and Princess Kate joined the children in helping prepare food for a campfire and skimming bark off logs. William also used a saw to cut some logs for a tree den — and Kate even popped inside for a look!
The outing came as Prince William and Princess Kate highlighted two organizations that have partnered with William's Duchy of Cornwall to raise better mental well-being.
The Duchy of Cornwall — the estate that generates an income to support William, Kate and their family's public life — has provided the school a woodland site at Brampton Hill Wood for its forest school for 12 years. As the school has grown, the Duchy has enabled the school to have a larger area to use, and increase the facilities available.
The couple have been longtime advocates of the benefits of both playing and learning outdoors. When Princess Kate and Prince William visited Norway in 2018, they spent time with kindergarten kids who are regularly taught outside in sub-zero temperatures.
In 2019, Kate helped design a “Back to the Nature” garden for the Chelsea Flower Show in London. The outdoor space was created with help from the Royal Horticultural Society and designers Andrée Davies and Adam White to highlight the benefits of playing outdoors. The garden — which included a treehouse, swing and hollowed-out tree trunk that is used as a play tunnel — got rave reviews from George, Charlotte and Louis.
Kate also said in a 2020 chat on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast that she is happiest when "I'm with my family outside in the countryside, and we're all filthy dirty."
After the school visit, the couple headed to a farm. There, they met Sam and Emily Stables, who are Duchy of Cornwall tenants who have founded a mental health charity for farmers.
We Are Farming Minds supports the mental health of farmers in rural communities in the county of Herefordshire, which is on the England-Wales border.
Services include counseling, a 24-hour phone and a text support line, free mental health awareness workshops and social events throughout the year to counter the isolation, which farmers can sometimes feel.
The Duchy of Cornwall is working with We Are Farming Minds as part of its ongoing mental health support for all its tenants. This mirrors Prince William's wish to utilize some of the causes and interests he and Kate have been developing in their public life into the day-to-day working of the vast estate.
Prince William inherited the estate, which historically goes the heir to the throne, when his grandmother Queen Elizabeth died last September.
Princess Kate and Prince William's day also included a surprise visit to SAS headquarters (Sterling Lines) in Hereford. Before heading to the school, they spent some time with the families of the special forces.
It has been an active week since the couple celebrated the life of Prince William's grandmother in west Wales. They have since attended separate Rugby World Cup matches in France. Kate also made a solo visit to a men's prison to highlight how addictions are often at the root of the journey to incarceration, while William championed ways to counter the high rate of suicides among construction workers.