23 February 2022

Kate wields hammer to chop wood on fact-finding mission to Danish forest school

23 February 2022

The Duchess of Cambridge went back to nature on her visit to Denmark, chopping a log and taking a woodland ramble as she joined children at a forest nursery school.

Kate embraced the outdoor life that forms the backdrop to teaching for many youngsters in the country who thrive on being given the freedom to play in the open air.

In a wooded area on the outskirts of Copenhagen, the duchess, dressed for the bitterly cold but sunny conditions in boots, jeans, a polo-neck jumper and jacket, took on the challenge of splitting a log after watching five-year-olds complete the task.

Kate took three goes to chop through the log (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA) (PA Wire)

Surrounded by children dressed in outdoor onesies, teaching assistant Carla Bro advised Kate on her stance and grip and, laughing, the duchess struck the wood.

Kate took just three blows to split the log and was applauded for her efforts by Ms Bro, 21, who said afterwards: “She was very good, she had the right stance with both hands on the hammer and had good focus.

“She asked how we deal with risky play and how we keep things safe. We have safety rules and we teach the children they should not be afraid of tasks but treat them with respect.”

The duchess knelt down to meet the five and six-year-olds when she first arrived at Stenurten, a combined nursery and kindergarten near Copenhagen, and one little boy made her smile when he shouted out “hello Kate”.

Kate held hands with one of the forest school’s pupils as they went on a woodland walk (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA) (PA Wire)

When one youngster stepped up to split a log, Kate told him “you’re so strong” as he whacked the wood, and she clapped as he let out a sigh of relief when it finally split.

The duchess is on a two-day fact-finding visit to Denmark to better understand the country’s world-leading approach to the early years development of children.

Kate joined other activities and went on a brief woodland walk with a “wing buddy”, which sees a youngster paired with an older child to gain comfort and support.

She held the hand of a little girl who also held the hand of Maibritt Iverson, head of Stenurten, and the trio followed pairs of children as they ran into the wooded area.

The visit was part of Kate’s fact-finding mission to Denmark to look at the country’s early years education system (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA) (PA Wire)

At the end of the event, a mindfulness session was held to relax the children. The duchess sat with them in a circle around a fire covered by a wood canopy as everyone stared into the flames.

Kate’s two-day visit is also paying tribute to the historic ties Britain shares with Denmark and celebrates the countries’ joint jubilees – the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Golden Jubilee of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, both of which fall in 2022.

Denmark’s monarch greeted her guest, who had changed into a Catherine Walker coat, along with her daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, at Christian IX’s Palace in Copenhagen.

The three royal women posed for a picture in a large room within the royal residence and were overheard commenting on its decor.

The Duchess of Cambridge is welcomed by Queen Margrethe II (centre) and Crown Princess Mary. Owen Humphreys/PA (PA Wire)

Later Kate and Mary walked across the impressive Amalienborg courtyard and waved at around 100 members of the public gathered in the open space as they made their way to Frederik VIII’s Palace for a private lunch.

The duchess and crown princess, who have met a number of times in the UK and Denmark, will later visit the Danner Crisis Centre.

The shelter helps women and children who have been exposed to domestic violence. It is supported by the Mary Foundation, founded by the crown princess in 2007.

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