Duchess of Cambridge hails power of art in ‘moving’ visit to museum

The Duchess of Cambridge had a “moving” meeting with young people as she viewed photographs showing the living conditions of London’s most disadvantaged children.

Kate was at the Foundling Museum, of which she is now a patron, to understand how it uses art to make a positive contribution to society by engaging with vulnerable young people.

The museum tells the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and England’s first public art gallery.

Duchess of Cambridge visits the Foundling Museum
Duchess of Cambridge visits the Foundling Museum

Kate met young people who have all been in some form of care.

In a speech, she said: “I feel hugely proud to be here today to become patron of the Foundling Museum.

“Your work connects and celebrates two subjects that are deeply important to me – children and art.

“I am passionate about improving children’s life chances and giving them opportunities so that they can look forward to the best possible futures, fulfil their whole potential and have the freedom to explore their creativity.

“I have always believed in the power of art, not only to unlock that creativity but also to bring us joy and to inspire, challenge and positively change our lives.”

She added: “Your museum here powerfully links these two forces for good.

“By weaving together moving stories of looked after children with art and artists of all genres, you create meaningful learning experiences which will have a lasting and often transformational impact on young lives.

“I could not be more delighted to support such a special organisation.”

The museum works with contemporary artists, writers and musicians to develop learning programmes for young people.

Kate visited the museum’s Bedrooms of London, a photography exhibition by Katie Wilson that documents the living conditions of the capital’s most disadvantaged children.

Duchess of Cambridge visits the Foundling Museum
Duchess of Cambridge visits the Foundling Museum

Chatting to Kate about her exhibition, Ms Wilson said: “A lot of these people have fallen through the net.”

The duchess was shown the photographs by graduates of the museum’s Tracing our Tales programme, which has been developed to equip “care-experienced” young adults from London with the skills to devise and deliver workshops at the museum.

The graduates picked out images in the gallery that particularly resonated with them and chatted to Kate about their experiences.

As 20-year-old Callum, who has moved 14 times, spoke to Kate about one of the photographs, she put her hand on his arm and told him: “It’s so moving. It really is.”

She added: “Hold on in there.”

Kate also chatted to Ameera Patel and Rohima Poosch, and told the three 20-year-olds: “Hats off to all of you to have the inspiration and the willpower to stick with it.”

Royal visit to Foundling Museum
Royal visit to Foundling Museum

In 2017, Kate visited the museum and met the first intake of Tracing our Tales trainees.

Two years later she was meeting them again to hear how the programme has helped them gain confidence and employment.

She joined them in a creative Tracing our Tales training session where participants were learning how to deliver a creative workshop on block printing techniques.

Kate, wearing the same Catherine Walker coat dress that she wore alongside the Queen earlier in the day, was announced as a patron of the Foundling Museum not long before she arrived.

Caro Howell, director of the museum, said: “The Foundling Museum is thrilled and honoured to receive the duchess’s patronage.

“Her support is a huge boost to our work transforming the lives of vulnerable young people through the arts.”