Duchess of Cambridge says she hopes George, Charlotte and Louis will be Scouts as she puts her leadership skills to the test

Hannah Furness
- 2019 Getty Images

The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken of her hope that her children will all one day become Scouts, following in Royal Family footsteps to join the movement. 

The Duchess spoke of her wish that Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis will all be “brought up in the Scouting community”, during a visit today to the Scouts’ headquarters at Gilwell Park in Epping, Essex.

After enjoying her time as a Brownie as a child, the Duchess became involved with the Scouts in 2012 as a volunteer leader with a Cub Scout Pack in Anglesey, Wales, while she and the Duke of Cambridge were living there.

Her recent work has focused on early intervention and young children’s development, seeing her pay a visit to learn more about a pilot scheme to bring scouting to children aged four to six.

During her visit, the Duchess spoke of her love of spending time outdoors with George, five, Charlotte, three, and ten-month-old Louis. 

 Tahseen Patel, 17, a Scout Explorer from Blackburn, told Kate about her work with the youngest Scouts, known as “hedgehogs”.

The Duchess of Cambridge visiting the Scouts headquarters at Gilwell Park Credit: Eddie Mulholland

Miss Patel said: “The Duchess was really interested in the kinds of activities Scouting offers that children can’t always learn or have access to in schools.

"She said she wants to bring her children up in the Scouting community and that she’s tried lots of activities at home with them, but would love them to become Scouts. 

" She said Prince George hasn’t joined yet, but hopefully soon.  I think that would be great – George could be a little Scouts ambassador.”

Lauren Noble, 14, who helped with the tour, said: “She said it would be a great thing for them to get involved in.”

Kate joins in a rocket launching activity Credit: Eddie Mulholland For The Telegraph

“She said she would like them to go into the scouting community because she loves what it stands for — that it’s a very open and inclusive way into life."

The Scouts launched 20 pilots last year to explore the potential of providing Scouting to children aged four to six.  The organisation currently reaches 473,000 young people aged six to 25 in the UK, but research has shown that the first five years of a child’s life are the most pivotal in their development.

Dressed in black skinny jeans, brown suede boots and a russet polo neck with a Scout scarf tied in a friendship knot, Kate joined young children in sessions which are part of the pilot, including model boat building, “balloon rockets” and an “alphabet adventure”, which aim to improve communication and teamwork.

At the balloon rocket station, where the children made rockets powered by balloons tied to string, she crouched down with a group of four-year-olds including Albie Wakefield, Jessica Grub, Adam Smyth and Harry Fly, the Duchess peppered them with questions about how it worked. 

The Duchess speaks with young scouts Credit: Eddie Mulholland For The Telegraph

After a couple of attempts , she laughed and told them:  “I didn’t do a very good job, did I?  You’re all much better than me.”

Next, the Duchess joined children on the “alphabet adventure” hunt.  

Rani Dadwal, four, from Birmingham, presented Kate with a letter C.  “Is this a curly C for me? Thank you,” she said, before another girl presented her with a K, saying “K for Kate.” 

“I know, it’s very confusing, because I’m Catherine with a C," she said. 

The duchess then watched a group of young Scouts building model boats and floating them in small paddling pools, before spotting a tee-pee style den which some of the children had built from sticks and leaves.

The Duchess of Cambridge puts her Scout leader training to the test Credit: Eddie Mulholland For The Telegraph

“Wow, did you build this?  It’s a very good den, I’m very impressed,” she told Maya Rahman, 8, and Sayena Aktar, 7 . 

“How long did it take you to build? A whole day? Have any of you ever spent the night outside, with the animals and owls?  That might be fun.”  

The den was similar to the tee-pee which featured in the Cambridges’ Christmas card image taken at Anmer Hall last year, recreated in the Duchess' "woodland wilderness" garden for this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

“It’s very cosy in here,” she confirmed, noting that it was also "very waterproof" after children poured water on the roof as a test. 

A team of Scouts aged 14 to 18 then showed her around some of the park’s features, including the Gillwell Oak, which is more than 400 years old and is said to have been used as a hiding place by 18th century highwayman, Dick Turpin.  

“It’s beautiful,” she told them.  “I can see how schools and parents will really value what’s on offer here as they’re not always able to provide all these activities.”

The Duchess then planted a sapling Oak to mark the 100th anniversary of Gilwell Park, the international home of Scouting, joking:  “Normally I have to do this in high heels, this is much easier.” 

During the final part of the vist, she was shown a faith garden, which features a mosque, synagogue and a Buddhist sala built by the Scouts of Thailand in 1967.

Liran Dror, 15, a Scout explorer from Hampshire, said:  “She was really interested in the values of the different religions, particularly caring for people, helping to bring people together from all over the world, tolerance and how that is reflected in Scouting.”

Kate admires a Scout's many badges Credit: Getty

Frankie Newbury, 29, the programme delivery executive for the Scouts early years pilot schemes, also accompanied Kate during the visit.  

She said:  “The Duchess was particularly interested in how the pilots are reaching out to the very youngest children, often from disadvantaged areas.  She asked lots of questions about how we’re trying to bring in children from less privileged backgrounds.”

Matt Hyde, the chief executive of the Scouts, said:  “To have such a high-profile visit is a huge honour and will make so many people involved in Scouting in the UK and globally, very proud.”

The Scout movement was founded in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell. The Queen, who was a Girl Guide in her childhood, is its patron.