Duchess of Cambridge goes back to school - and thinks pink

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Watch: Duchess of Cambridge visits London school

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The Duchess of Cambridge put the royals' beef with the BBC behind her today, as she visited a North London school to join a science lesson. 

The focus was on neuroscience, and the crucial impact of early childhood development on the growing brain. 

"it's a real passion of mine, learning about babies' brains, about how our adult brains develop and how our early childhood influences the adults we become." Kate told the class.

The Duchess wore a smart cerise coat and matching polo neck from Hobbs with black trousers and suede stilettos for her school trip, which wasn't flagged to pupils until 15 minutes before she arrived.

She added, "Keep thinking about it, keep talking about it with your friends. Well done, I'm super impressed. Thank you for having me today," Kate told the Year 8 class of pupils aged 12 and 13 as she commented on their hard work during the lesson at Nower Hill School.

The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to students during a visit to Nower Hill High School in Harrow, north London, to join a science lesson studying neuroscience and the importance of early childhood development. Picture date: Wednesday November 24, 2021.
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to students during a visit to Nower Hill High School in Harrow, north London, to join a science lesson studying neuroscience and the importance of early childhood development. (PA)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 24:  Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she arrives for a visit to Nower Hill High School on November 24, 2021 in London, England. During the visit the Duchess joined a science lesson studying neuroscience and the importance of early childhood development.  (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a Hobbs coat and jumper, which are both on sale. (Getty Images)

Shop Kate's coat

Shop Kate's jumper

The Duchess's great passion project as a royal is early years development and support for children. 

In June this year, Kate launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, part of her stated mission to support children and parents, and today's visit was organised to help the Duchess see how early learning science is being taught in schools.

Head teacher Louise Voden said afterwards, of the Duchess joining the lesson, "I never thought she would do that!

Read more: The Duchess of Cambridge's classic white Superga trainers have gone on sale

"She was an absolute natural. She was really interested in what they had to say and their thoughts about the materials they had been learning about. She clearly feels very passionately about it." The Head added, "it was all delightful."

Voden told People Magazine that Kate "made them feel at ease" by "reading the children's body language and knowing who is perhaps a little hesitant and nervous.

The Duchess of Cambridge (right) speaking to Dr. Elizabeth Rapa, Senior Researcher from the University of Oxford, during a visit to Nower Hill High School in Harrow, north London, to join a science lesson studying neuroscience and the importance of early childhood development. Picture date: Wednesday November 24, 2021.
The Duchess of Cambridge chatting to a researcher in Early Years neuroscience. (PA)

"She picked up on the signs with the children, and got down to their level and asked questions in language they can understand. She really engaged with them and asked them great questions."

The teacher also praised the duchess' concern, saying, "You can see the interest genuinely stems from the fact that some children who don't enjoy the right experiences in their very early years go on to have real problems. 

"She is really keen to see this work go into the mainstream science curriculum."

After the lesson, the two also discussed child mental health and the impact of the pandemic. 

The majority of Kate's personal work as a royal is concerned with her Early Years projects. Last month, she said: "Our early childhoods shape our adult lives and knowing more about what impacts this critical time is fundamental to understanding what we as a society can do to improve our future health and happiness."

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, plays with children as she visits the LEYF (London Early Years Foundation) Stockwell Gardens Nursery & Pre-school in London, Britain January 29, 2020. Phil Harris/Pool via REUTERS
Kate often visits young peoples' projects - last year she joined primary school children to see what they were learning. (REUTERS)

A royal aide also said recently, "The Duchess has made the observation that the more you learn about the science of early childhood, whether it's brain development, social science, what it means for our adult mental health, the more you realise that this is the social equivalent to climate change...

"But it is not discussed with the same seriousness or strategic intent that that issue is."

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take carol service to ITV after BBC rift

The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood states its aims as being to "drive awareness of and action on the extraordinary impact of the early years, in order to transform society for generations to come," and focuses on research, collaboration across the public and private sectors to find solutions, and creative campaigns to drive change and better understanding. 

Kate has devoted time and energy to the foundation over the past nine years, and according to the website, "has seen over and over again how often problems can be traced back to the earliest years of someone’s life.

"What we experience in the early years, from conception to the age of five, shapes the developing brain, which is why positive physical, emotional and cognitive development during this period is so crucial."

Shop The Duchess of Cambridge's outfit 

Fuchsia Pink Tilda Wool Coat | £224.25 (Was £299)

Lara Merino Woll Neck Jumper | £56.25 (Was £75)

Watch: Prince William and Duchess Catherine are 'perfect to lead royals into the future'

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