Kate Middleton didn’t hesitate to abided by royal protocol, as she politely declined a fan’s request for an autograph.
On 22 May, the Princess of Wales made a surprise appearance at the Chelsea Flower Show’s first-ever children’s picnic in London. For the occasion, Kate invited children from 10 different elementary schools to the outdoor lunch, where they had the opportunity to look at several floral displays in the garden.
She also had the chance to chat with these young students, while they worked on some of their own sketches. According to People, when one fan asked Kate to add her signature to their drawing, she politiely declined to do so.
“I can’t write my name,” she was overheard saying. “But I can draw.”
People reported that instead of writing her name, Kate drew a flower on a sketch, which belonged to a seven-year-old girl named Ruby. She also drew a tree for another student, along with a pond surrounded with plants for a third child.
Another fan later asked the royal why she couldn’t sign her name on the drawings. In response, Kate explained: “My name’s Catherine. I’m not allowed to write my signature, it’s just one of those rules.”
According to Express, it has been a long-standing rule within the British family that royals cannot sign autographs. This regulation was ultimately put in place to prevent signatures from being forged.
However, this rule appeared to have been broken before. Back in 2010, now King Charles III reportedly gave an autograph to a local couple’s son while visiting residents in Cornwall. According to The Telegraph, at the time, he reportedly wrote “Charles 2010” on a piece of paper and apologised to the fan for his “shaky writing,” as he “never writes standing up”.
Despite the fact that Kate couldn’t give an autograph to fans, she went on to have many different conversations with them on Monday. During her visit to the garden in London, she spoke her and husband Prince William’s three children: Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five.
More specifically, according to People, Kate said that her youngest son has taken on a new gardening project for school: Growing beans.
“Louis is growing broad beans at school. You put them in a cup and you can see the roots growing. They get big quickly like sunflowers,” she said.
The mother of three emphasised how much she and her family enjoy spending time outdoors, explaining: “It’s so good for our bodies and our minds.”
During the outing, Kate also opened up about the royal family, when a young student asked her what it was like to be a member of it. “You have to work hard, but you know the best thing about it is meeting kiddies like you,” she said, as reported by People.
When asked about the work that the royal family does, she responded: “They help support all the different people in the country, showcase all the amazing work being done and look after everyone.”
Monday’s picnic was aimed to help bring gardening and nature into the lives of more children, something that Kate has continued to advocate for over the years. It also came one day before the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual flower show began. The flower show started on 23 May and will go until 27 May.
This year’s showcase is focused on restorative gardens and the positive impact that gardening has on mental health and well-being. It will also feature the first official bust of the King this year, sculpted by artist Keziah Burt.
Kate’s appearance at the picnic, during which she wore a bright, pink dress, comes two weeks after she attended the coronation of her father-in-law and step-mother-in-law, King Charles and Queen Camilla.