Prince George and Princess Charlotte have expressed an interest in homelessness after watching rough sleepers on their way to school and asking "why can't they go home?", the Duke of Cambridge has revealed.
The Duke said he made a point of discussing the struggles faced by others as he drove his elder two children to school at Thomas’s, Battersea.
He made the remarks in a BBC Christmas special as the Cambridges joined forces with Mary Berry, taking the 84-year-old former star of The Great British Bake Off along to some of their royal engagements.
The visits are interspersed with intimate conversations about their lives, in which both discuss what inspires their work and their determination to ensure that their children, Prince George, six, Princess Charlotte, four, and 18-month-old Prince Louis, understand how fortunate they are.
The Duke chatted to Berry during a visit to The Passage, a homeless charity in central London of which he is patron.
He described how his mother had taken him there when he was around eight years old, acutely aware of the importance that her sons were aware of what life was like outside palace walls, and vowed to take his own children too one day.
“It had a profound impact on me,” he said. “My mother knew what she was doing with it.”
“I know it sounds a little bit contrite, but on the school run already, bearing in mind they’re six and four, whenever we see anyone whose seeing rough on the streets, I talk about it and I point it,” he said.
“I explain why and they’re all very interested. They’re like, why can’t they go home?”
Lifting the lid on family life behind Kensington Palace walls, the Cambridges also revealed Prince Louis “absolutely loves” home grown beetroot and George is a Chelsea fan, despite his father’s efforts to the contrary.
As the Duchess gave a Berry a tour of her new play garden at RHS Wisley, she spoke about how much her children loved being outside and her desire to encourage families to spend time together and to “focus on the simple things”.
“Sometimes, when it’s chucking it down with rain and it’s freezing cold and I’m dragging (the children) outside they would probably rather be staying inside,” she laughed.
“But I think it’s so important.”
She described how her children had collated a “crazy little” collection of bits and pieces procured from various places that they proudly show grandparents and friends.
“George thinks it’s a museum,” she said. “It’s very sweet. It’s quite small, it’s full of these little treasures, whether it’s a crab’s claw or a little shell he’s found that he loves.
“And that’s what’s so nice - for them their world’s quite small.”
The couple's large, modern kitchen at Kensington Palace is clearly at the heart of family life.
The Duchess said she thoroughly enjoyed cooking with the children and encouraged them to be as creative and as independent as possible.
She revealed that one of the last things they cooked together was Berry’s pizza dough, proudly telling the veteran presenter it had been a great success.
She said they grew their own vegetables, including carrots, beans and beetroots, which were a “massive favourite.”.
“Louis absolutely loves beetroot,” she said. “Charlotte obviously likes her Charlotte potatoes."
When it comes to birthdays, the 37-year-old is just like any other parent and loves staying up late to create an impressive cake.
“It’s become a bit of a tradition that I stay up until midnight with ridiculous amounts of cake mix and icing,” she said. “I make far too much but I love it.”
Berry also joined the Duchess on a trip to Liverpool to visit the Brink, the UK's first dry bar set up by Action on Addiction, which provides a safe space for those suffering from addiction.
As they blended mocktails behind the bar, the Duchess admitted she had once suffered an unfortunate mishap with a blender.
”I did this with a spinach soup once and forgot to put the lid on it,” she said.
“We ended up with spinach soup on the ceiling.”
As they set off to serve their drinks, she added: “It reminds me of my university days when I did a bit of waitressing. I was terrible.”
The Duchess confessed that the nature of her charity work often had a profound personal impact and that it was not always easy just to switch off and return to her own life.
“You’ve taken on so many interesting stories - quite traumatic stories - and you have to allow yourself time to reflect and really take on what you’ve learnt before you dive into your own life and school pick ups,” she said.
The Duke admitted that it was his wife who did most of the cooking at home, suggesting that his own talents barely stretched beyond making a cup of tea, although the Duchess conceded he was “very good” at breakfast.
She added, somewhat ruefully, that in their university days, when they first started dating, he used to cook all sorts of meals, including bolognaise.
“I think that was when he was trying to impress me Mary,” she laughed.
The Duke also revealed it was his wife who was the mastermind behind the incredibly successful mental health campaign spearheaded by the younger royals at Kensington Palace.
“She realised that my work, Harry’s work and her work were all headed in different directions but all dealing with mental health," he told Berry. "She was the one who joined the dots and said we need to tackle mental health.”
The Duke, who is a keen Aston Villa fan, revealed that Prince George had already written his list for Father Christmas and that they planned to get him something to do with either drawing or football.
“He loves his drawing, he’s a very good drawer,” he said.
“He’s loving his football as well. I’m trying not to be too biased. I said you can support anyone but Chelsea. So naturally, he supports Chelsea.”
A Berry Royal Christmas is on tonight at 8.30pm on BBC One