Kate visits farm on surprise trip to Northern Ireland for project close to Duchess’ heart

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KATE, Duchess of Cambridge, has paid a surprise visit to Northern Ireland this afternoon as she continues her tour across the UK to promote her landmark survey.

Kate was given a tour of The Ark Open Farm in Newtownards this afternoon, as she paid a surprise visit to Northern Ireland. At the farm, the Duchess of Cambridge also met young children from two local nurseries and families who have benefitted from the work done by the projects run at the farm by the Early Years programme. 

The Early Year is a programme launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation and sees Kate working on how to improve the understanding of the first five years of a child’s life. 

The project also aims to improve the help given to associations and people working with children, in a bid to provide the youngsters with the best start in life. 

Today, Kate fended off the cold by wrapping herself up in a casual outfit, ideal for the tour of a farm. 

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a brown down above a white rollneck sweater.  

kate middleton northern ireland royal visit duchess cambridge royal family news

Kate is visiting Northern Ireland today (Image: GETTY)

kate middleton northern ireland royal visit duchess cambridge royal family news

Kate met children at the farm (Image: GETTY)

Kate also wore dark jeans and brown boots. 

Upon arriving at the farm, the Duchess was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Co Down David Lindsay, the Sheriff of Co Down Austin Baird and the Mayor of Ards and North Down Bill Keery.

While at the farm, Kate was seen helping children feed a lamb. In another sweet snap, the Duchess was spotted petting an alpaca. 

kate middleton northern ireland royal visit duchess cambridge royal family news

Kate was spotted handling a snake at the farm (Image: GETTY)

kate middleton northern ireland royal visit duchess cambridge royal family news

Kate is touring the UK to promote her nationwide survey (Image: GETTY)

The Duchess of Cambridge’s latest trip is part of her tour across the UK to promote her landmark survey, 5 Big Questions on the Under-Fives. 

The nationwide survey, which will be closed on February 21, aims to “spark a national conversation” to help create “lasting change for generations to come”, Kensington Palace said.  

Participants are asked what influences the development and what period of childhood is the most important for the happiness of the individual.  

kate middleton northern ireland royal visit duchess cambridge royal family news

Kate wore a casual outfit on her latest visit (Image: PA)

kate middleton northern ireland royal visit duchess cambridge royal family news

Kate met some of the children and their families taking part in projects run at the farm (Image: GETTY)

Speaking about the survey during today’s visit, Kate said that there were “no rights or wrongs” when it came to answering the questions. 

In late January, Kate revealed the survey had gathered the opinions of more than 100,000 people in a week. 

During a visit to the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) Stockwell Gardens Nursery and Pre-School, where she served breakfast to children and discussed the importance of providing them with nutritious food, Kate said: “It’s great to visit places like this where communities come together to support one another.

“Last week I launched a UK wide survey on early childhood because I want to hear society’s views about raising the next generation. 

kate middleton northern ireland royal visit duchess cambridge royal family news

Kate and Prince William’s romance – a timeline (Image: EXPRESS)

“I’m so happy that over 100,000 people from all across the UK have already completed it, and I can’t wait to see the results.”  

Kate’s visit to Northern Ireland comes one day after her joint engagement with her husband Prince William, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. 

The two couples were in high spirits as they visited the new Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) in Loughborough.   

There, the royals spoke about physical and mental health with injured military personnel. 

kate middleton northern ireland royal visit duchess cambridge royal family news

Kate toured the farm and learned more about projects focused on the early years (Image: PA)

Kate will cross once again the Irish sea next month, when she will visit Ireland alongside Prince William. 

In a brief statement shared on Twitter, Kensington Palace said: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake an official visit to Ireland between Tuesday 3rd March and Thursday 5th March, at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.” 

Plans for the Cambridges’ tour are still in the early stages and is not likely to be officially confirmed until several days beforehand, but officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs are finalising the arrangements, according to The Sun.

Source: EXPRESS CO UK