The Duchess of Cambridge undertook engagements in England’s beautiful Lake District today.
She started the day’s activities at the National RAF Air Cadet Adventurous Training Centre at Windermere, where a £2 million refurbishment and remodeling project has just been wrapped up.
The Duchess was there in her role as Honorary Air Commandant of the Cadets.
The center “operates 24/7, providing 7-day residential adventurous training and leadership courses for over 40,000 RAFAC adult staff and cadets,” per the Cadets.
She did some mountain biking with a group of cadets.
Then the Duchess and cadets did a little abseiling.
More from this Sky News story:
Itelouwa Odipe, 13, from Lancaster, spoke to the duchess as she waited to rappel down the quarry. “She was about to abseil and I was next in line, so she asked me if I wanted to go before her. I was a bit scared so I said no,” he said.
“I think she was very kind. Even though she is a royal highness she still does things normal humans do.”
Kensington Palace noted in a news release that “The Duchess of Cambridge passionately believes that spending time outdoors plays a pivotal role in children and young people’s future health and happiness, building foundations that last over a lifetime by encouraging active exploration and the opportunity to form and strengthen positive relationships.”
And from The Telegraph’s coverage by Hannah Furness:
The centre will allow hundreds of cadets from across the UK to visit the Lake District each year and take part in a wide variety of activities, building their confidence and leadership skills and achieving their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
The duchess asked the teenagers about the activities they took part in and how the pandemic had affected their mental health.
She said of the activities: ‘It’s so great to have these challenges.’
Josh Binnie, 15, from the Kendal squadron of the cadets, told her about his experience in a glider and was asked by the duchess whether it made him travel sick.
When he said no, she replied: ‘You’re made of tougher stuff than me.’
A quick video from Kensington Palace.
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) September 21, 2021
After her visit with the Air Cadets, the Duchess headed to Lake Windermere.
At the Duchess’s request, she was going to spend time with two of the Windermere Children, Holocaust survivors who spent time in the Lake District for a period of recuperation after the atrocities they experienced in Nazi concentration camps.
Below, the Duchess boards the 1902 steam launch Osprey.
The Duchess out on the water with Ike Alterman, a 93-year-old survivor from Poland who was a prisoner at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Theresienstadt.
The Duchess also met Arek Hersh, 92. People’s story reports Mr. Hersh was “A survivor of Auschwitz, he lost his parents and his brothers and sisters — in total 81 members of his family perished.”
Mr. Hersh and Mr. Alterman were among the 300 children brought to the Lake District in 1945. The Evening Standard’s story notes that when they were out on the water, they did “a tour of the places they remembered, and they pointed out the bay where they used to go swimming and a wartime housing complex built for aircraft factory workers that became their home for their first six months in Britain.”
They were settled at Calgarth Estate, on the shores of Lake Windermere.
More about the Windermere Children from this Guardian story:
In 1945, the immediate priorities for the children were to get clothing and find out about their families. The Red Cross supplied clothes, but they were odd shapes and sizes, so many children walked around in their underwear for a few days until donations of garments from local families started arriving.
What kind of physical and mental shape must these children have been in? How do you begin to repair the damage done to individuals, who in many cases were the only surviving members of large families? How do you try to imagine what they might be thinking? These were the questions that faced the therapists and educators at Windermere who were to help them in August 1945.
The Calgarth estate programme was designed to be a temporary scheme, running for four months, after which, the younger children would be placed in the care of foster families, and the older ones would live in hostels and prepare for work.
In a series of posts on Twitter, the Duchess said:
I wanted to be able to meet some of the survivors Ike & Arek in person to hear their stories; about how they went on to create their own companies, write a book & to this day, still sneak in the odd round of golf.
‘It was so powerful to hear how their time in the Lakes enjoying outdoor recreation, sport and art therapy, allowed them to be able to begin to rebuild their lives and eventually, their families here in the UK.’
More about the Duchess’s visit with the survivors via this People story.
“She was absolutely delightful,” Ike Alterman… told PEOPLE. “We laughed, she asked questions and she wanted to know the answers. We talked about her kids and my kids, and how we love the lakes. I have two girls and two grandchildren. I told her what happened to me during the war and when I arrived and how I progressed in business later.”
Below, the Duchess with Mr. Alterman.
And with Mr. Hersh.
Thank you Ike and Arek, two of the ‘Windermere Children’, for sharing your powerful stories today. pic.twitter.com/M8GXajXW74
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) September 21, 2021
Below, the Duchess speaking with Arek and Jean Hersh.
We return to Simon Perry’s People article.
His wife, Jean, added that the Windermere Children didn’t know English. “Arek had many, many years of nightmares,” she said. “They were all very small. They couldn’t believe how beautiful this place was. He says he literally felt himself growing here.”
“This is a happy day,” she added. “Arek has had some lovely moments through his teaching about the Holocaust. It isn’t because he’s meeting important people — he’s met the Queen — but because he’s met some wonderful ordinary people too. Our life is very rich. Meeting the Duchess is obviously is a nice honor.”
After the boat ride, the Duchess visited the Jetty Museum, where she spent an hour speaking with the children and grandchildren of Windermere Children.
The Telegraph reports, the Duchess heard how they had met up once a year through the rest of their lives. Here you see her with Judge Robert Rinder (L), whose grandfather, Morris Malinicky, was a Windermere Child.
Now for our look at what Kate wore.
When with the Air Cadets, the Duchess wore her Seeland Hawker Quilted Jacket (€79.95, about $95) in pine green, a piece that was first noted in January 2020.
The jacket is available at Seeland, as well as at Wave Inn, along with Ardmore, Bushwear, and A. Farley. Kate changed into a Really Wild piece for the boat ride, their Belted Jacket in a color called ‘ivy green.’
The jacket has a tailored silhouette; it is made of “super-soft luxury wool.” It features a button front, notch lapels, working cuffs, a center-back vent, belt loops, and inverted-pleat flap pockets. Many thanks to Mallory, Middleton Maven, and Royal Family 93 on Twitter for their speedy ID of the piece.
Middleton Maven has a suggestion for the sweater worn beneath the jacket, and I think she is probably correct. She suggests it is a Boden piece, the British retailer’s Cashmere Knitted Top ($140) in the ‘smoky quartz’ colorway.
The t-shirt style top is 100% cashmere with ribbing at the collar, cuffs, and hem.
Kate repeated her See by Chloé Liegi Ankle Boots.
And Bobble Hoop Earrings by Liv Thurwell (£110 – £130).
I believe the Duchess *may* have also been wearing her Round Stilla Lapis Lazuli Pendant Necklace ($220) from Astley Clarke, first noted when worn for a Holocaust Remembrance Day video call the Duchess had with Manfred Goldberg (L) and Zigi Shipper (R), who were in their teens when they were imprisoned at the Stutthof Concentration Camp in northern Poland.
We’ll close this portion of the post with one more photo of the Duchess today, this one by Mark Stewart.
Also today, news that one of our oldest UFOs was identified by the amazing Giulia. Do you remember the ensemble the Duchess wore as the couple arrived at Charlottetown Airport on Prince Edward Island during the North America tour in 2011?
The jacket has long been a mystery for many Kate fashion followers. Anytime I searched for it, I came up empty-handed. Well, Giulia solved the mystery when she found an eBay auction for the piece.
— Giulia (@Giulia_lelepug) September 20, 2021
It is by Uterqüe, one of the brands Zara owns. Here is another look at the Duchess in the piece.
Way to go, Giulia!
There is a PBS documentary entitled “The Windermere Children: In Their Own Words.” Below, a preview of that program.
This is a preview of the BBC’s hour-long drama about the Windermere Children.
You can hear Arak Hersh speak about his experience in this 2-minute video.
The Royal Family Channel’s Air Cadets video runs about 3:30.
The RFC video of the Duchess on the Lake is about the same length.
- Learn more about the Windermere Children at the Lake District Holocaust Project site; visit the oorganization’sFacebook page here; the Twitter feed is here.
- You can rent a 2020 film, The Windermere Children, at Amazon ($3.99); a BBC program, learn more about a BBC program, The Windermere Children in Their Own Words, on this page.
- The Telegraph’s story by Hannah Furness is here; a Sky News story is here; Simon Perry’s People piece on the Air Cadets portion of the day is here, and his piece on the meeting with the Holocaust survivors is here; a Daily Mail piece is here; Victoria Murphy’s story for Town and Country is here; an ITV story is here.