Hand-picking charities that resonate with them the most, the royal couple is booked solidly for engagements throughout the year.
For the casual observer, it’s almost impossible to keep up with their frenetic pace.
But now, new book, William and Kate’s Britain, a unique guide to their favourite locations, has shed some much needed light on their schedule and why they pick the causes they do.
Here’s an edited extract from their exhausting itinerary to help piece together the charity puzzle.
Clouds House, East Knoyle, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Until 2012, the drug and alcohol dependence treatment centre Clouds House was better known as the place where former Take That singer Robbie Williams spent six weeks in rehab.
But now the Duchess of Cambridge has upped the profile of ‘Clouds’, which is run by the charity Action on Addiction, by making a secret visit there on the day her husband arrived in the Falklands in 2012.
She later announced that she would be patron of Action on Addiction, following in the footsteps of Princess Diana, who was patron of Turning Point.
The Grade II listed building also has an architectural heritage: designed by Arts and Crafts architect Philip Webb for Conservative politician Percy Wyndham and his wife Madeline, it was frequented by artists such as Edward Burne-Jones and politicians such as Arthur Balfour. It was completed in 1886 but had to be rebuilt after it was destroyed by a fire.
2. Child Bereavement UK, Clare Charity Centre, Wycombe Road, Saunderton, Buckinghamshire
The charity Child Bereavement UK has a special resonance with Prince William as he lost his mother as a child. Founding patron Julia Samuel was a close friend of Princess Diana, who made an unscheduled visit to the charity’s launch in 1994, despite having retired from public life.
A counsellor at St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, she is one of Prince George’s seven godparents. William, who is royal patron of the charity, followed in his mother’s footsteps when he toured their headquarters in 2013 with Kate, who was five and a half months pregnant.
The couple met staff, bereaved families and fundraisers such as cookery writer Mary Berry, who is a long-term patron of the organisation. The presenter of The GreatBritish Bake Off has raised money for the charity since the death of her 19-year-old son William in 1989.
William told her: ‘My wife is a big fan of yours – and my tummy is a big fan.’ The Child Bereavement Charity supports families who have lost – or are facing the loss – of a child. They train 5, 000 professionals each year (police, nurses and counsellors) on how to deal with families coping with personal loss.
3. Naomi House Children’s Hospice, Stockbridge Road, Sutton Scotney, Winchester, Hampshire
The Duchess of Cambridge chose the date of her 2nd wedding anniversary – April 29, 2013 – for her visit to Naomi House to celebrate Children’s Hospice Week.
While William was on duty as a search and rescue pilot in Anglesey, Kate toured the hospice and met staff, volunteers, supporters, children and their families. And in a nod to her anniversary, she was presented with a framed picture from the children’s book the Very Hungry Caterpillar, featuring the children’s fingerprints and made in cotton – a traditional symbol for a second wedding anniversary.
Naomi House, which was opened in 1997 by Prince Charles, and its sister hospice Jacksplace (which cares for children over 16) support families from seven counties in the South of England – Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Surrey,
West Sussex and the Isle of Wight – and offer palliative care, respite, emergency and end of life care.
4. Oxford Spires Academy, Glanville Road, Oxford
When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got their cocker spaniel puppy, they refused to disclose its name, claiming it was a ‘private matter’ and they did not want to be accused of ‘breaching their own privacy’.
But the secret was coaxed out of Kate by Abubakr Hussain, a seven-year-old pupil at Rose Hill Primary School. When he asked Kate what she was going to call the cuddly toy she had been given (pupils are given soft toys in art class), she revealed that she would name the dog Lupo (wolf in Italian) after her own pet.
Kate’s 2012 trip to Oxford was her third solo engagement and her first as patron of The Art Room, which helps disadvantaged children gain self-esteem, self-confidence and independence through art therapy. She visited ‘Pippa’s Room’ at Rose Hill, where she joined eight children making puppets from tennis rackets.
Royal Marsden Hospital, Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey
Almost 30 years after Princess Diana toured the hospital in 1982 on her first solo engagement, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opened its new £18 million Oak Centre for children and young people.
Despite having not slept all night, because he was on a shift with RAF search and rescue, William and Kate chatted to cancer sufferers at the hospital on their visit in 2011.
The Duchess was so touched by meeting nine-year-old Fabian Bate, who was in the middle of four hours of chemotherapy to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia for the second time, that she wrote a letter to Fabian, which was among his most treasured possessions when he died on Remembrance Day 2014.
The couple also met 16-year-old Ewing’s sarcoma sufferer Chloe Drury, who was delighted to shake William’s hand. Sadly, Chloe died from the rare bone cancer in 2013, just weeks after her 18th birthday. Opened by the Queen in 1963, the Royal Marsden in Sutton is affiliated to the world-famous Royal Marsden in Fulham – the first hospital in the world dedicated to the study and treatment of cancer.
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were guests of honour at the British Film Institute in 2012 when they attended a charity premiere of the wildlife film African Cats in aid of the African conservation charity Tusk.
Eighteen months after they got engaged in Africa, a continent they both love, William, who is patron of the charity, and Kate, watched the true story of a pride of lions and family of cheetahs battling for survival.
Afterwards the couple mingled with guests such as film maker Guy Ritchie, who is a distant cousin of Kate, Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler and Dragons’ Den judge Deborah Meaden, who is a patron of Tusk. CEO Charlie Mayhew said: ‘We are now seeing daily reports of elephants being poached across the continent and in South Africa, the country has lost 170 rhinos already this year.
William is passionate about Africa and he’s very concerned about the current crisis.’ Founded in 1933, the BFI opened its first cinema screen after the war. The Queen visited in 2012 to celebrate its anniversary.
7. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London
The Royal Albert Hall was the venue for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first joint engagement with the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall – a 2011 Take That concert, organised by Gary Barlow, in aid of the Prince’s Trust and the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry.
It was also the scene of a black tie charity ball hosted by William and Kate, who were ambassadors for the Olympic Games, to raise money for the Great Britain team.
They watched singer Alfie Boe and Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh perform the official Team GB song, One Vision. ‘Naturally, I was asked to compete for Team GB in every sport,’ William joked, ‘but sadly Lord Coe said there were London pigeons with more athletic prowess than me. Anyway, to adopt a famous phrase from Sir Steve Redgrave, if you see me in a pair of Speedos during the Olympics, shoot me. For all of us mere mortals — and I include my brother Harry, still droning on about beating Usain (it never counted, as it was a false start) this is a lifetime opportunity. We will witness an exceptional moment in our island history. The mood in London will be electric, ecstatic, amazing. I just can’t wait.’
The Royal Albert Hall was officially opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria in honour of her late husband Prince Albert, who had conceived the idea of the venue. She was so overwhelmed by emotion that her son, the future Edward VII, declared the Royal Albert Hall open.
The royal family has its own private entrance near Door 8: it leads to a private room opposite the royal box, which is hung with signed pictures of all the reigning monarchs and their consorts (the entrance was originally at the North Porch’s Door 6 when they arrived in carriages). When the Queen, who is patron, attends an event at the Royal Albert Hall, a 12ft long velvet hammercloth or banner with the royal insignia, embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework, is hung across the front of the royal box.
8. Shooting Star House Children’s Hospice, The Avenue, Hampton
The Duchess of Cambridge won over a five-year-old girl when she visited the hospice where she was recovering from a kidney transplant – and was given a hug and a thumbs up.
Kate, who is patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, met Demi-Leigh Armstrong when she toured the Shooting Star House Children’s Hospice in 2013 and joined a music therapy session.
After coaxing some of the children to sing with a frog puppet, she offered Demi-Leigh a rattle for her friend, who did not have a musical instrument. But Demi-Leigh turned her back on the Duchess after saying: ‘No.” It was only when Kate went to leave the hospice, that Demi-Leigh grabbed her leg and said: ‘Give me a hug first.’
She then had a cuddle with the future Queen and gave a thumbs-up. Shooting Star House is run by the charity Shooting Star Chase, caring for babies, children and young people, who have life-limiting conditions, and their families.
They offer support at their two hospices, Shooting Star House, in Hampton, and Christopher’s in Guildford.
9. Norfolk Showground, Dereham Road, Costessey, Norwich, Norfolk
The Duchess of Cambridge threw protocol to the wind when she visited Norwich Showground in 2014 for the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices £10 million Nook Appeal.
Moved to tears after listening to physiotherapist Leigh Smith talking about the death of her three-month-old daughter Beatrice, she spontaneously gave her a hug.
Kate, who was 18 weeks pregnant with her second child, had already given some comfort to Leigh, who had written to her after the death of the three-month-old by sending a hand-written reply.
Kate, who is patron of the charity, also unveiled a range of Emma Bridgewater mugs, which are being sold for the appeal – she approached the potter personally on the charity’s behalf. Set in glorious parkland, Norfolk Showground, which is owned by the Royal Norfolk AgriculturalAssociation, is home to the world renowned Royal Norfolk Show – the largest two-day agricultural show in the United Kingdom.
10. St Dunstan’s Centre, Queens Road, Llandudno, Conway
When Prince William first arrived on the island of Anglesey in 2010 he paid a visit to Llandudno to see the St Dunstan’s Centre for blind ex-servicemen and women.
He is the first royal to have visited the centre, which opened the following year, although the royal family has been involved with the charity Blind Veterans UK since it was launched after World War I (Princess Alexandra was its first patron).
During his visit William met Simon Brown, who was blinded by sniper fire in Iraq (he showed him his glass eye with a Union Jack printed on it) and tried his hand at archery under the instruction of former Welsh guardsman Clive Jones, who lost his sight in both eyes when he was assaulted while off duty (William was blindfolded). ‘I’m sure he’ll make a good shot with practice,’ Jones joked.
Blind Veterans UK was set up by Sir Arthur Pearson, then President of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, who had lost his own sight through glaucoma. In 1996, one of its members, Don Planner became the first blind man to climb Mont Blanc.
11. Great Tower Scout Activity Centre, Birks Road, Newby Bridge, Cumbria
Even though she is the Duchess of Cambridge, she still had to learn the ropes: so, in 2013, Kate braved the snowy weather to do an adventure training course with the Scout Association.
She joined 24 other volunteers at the Great Tower Scout activity centre, close to the shore of Lake Windermere, in the heart of the Lake District. There she learnt how to supervise tree-climbing and rock-climbing and how to light a camp fire, removing her fingerless mittens to cook unleavened bread on a stick. ‘It’s actually not bad,’ she joked, ‘if you were really desperately hungry.’
The Great Tower Scout Activity Centre, which is set in 250 acres, offers cubs and beaver scouts, a choice of both land and water-based adventures, including archery, low and high ropes, climbing and abseiling, sailing and canoeing. It has five lodges as well as camping sites.
The Scout Association was founded in 1907 and has 32 million members worldwide (525,000 in the UK).
About the author: Claudia Joseph trained as a fashion journalist at the London College of Fashion before becoming a news reporter. She has worked at Tatler, The Times, and the Mail on Sunday, and contributes regularly to a number of British newspapers and magazines. She also commentates on royal matters on radio and TV and is author of Kate: The Making of a Princess. She lives in London.