HOLLY WAINWRIGHT: The five things I learnt from Kate Middleton about parenting.


I have been talking to the Duchess of Cambridge about parenting. Well, you know, in my imagination.

Because Kate – and I shall call her Kate, even though that is not what she calls herself, I’m sorry, but I am helpless not to – was on a podcast the other week talking about having little kids (because she has three of them, if you haven’t caught up: George, Charlotte and Blanket, sorry, Louis).

And I was listening, because I need all the help I can get.

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The first thing I thought when I heard Duchess Kate talking was, ‘So that’s what she sounds like.’ Because while she’s one of the most photographed and recognisable women in the world, she hardly speaks. Well, I’m sure she speaks at home, to her kids, and to Wills, and to the servants – but into a microphone, not so much.

And she sounds bloody lovely. A bit posh, but that’s to be expected. She is a Duchess and everything, after all. But lovely. Nice. Kind. A bit shy.

So, we got on great in my imaginary conversation.

Kate Middleton Happy Mum Happy Baby
Image: Instagram / KensingtonRoyal

The reason Kate was talking on a podcast called Happy Mum, Happy Baby to fellow mum-of-three Giovanna Fletcher is because one of her jobs (and look, she has a few extra ones since certain other members of the royal family have buggered off/got fired) is as a champion of early childhood education and care.

And over in Britain she helped launch a big project called Five Big Questions For The Under Fives, which is a project that asked, you guessed it, five questions to British parents of kids who are under five.

I have questions, too, Kate. We have so much in common, see. My kids are no longer under five, but I still have so many questions, like: Why does my bathroom smell like little boy's wee, like, ALL THE TIME. So, thanks for, you know, helping out.


Here's what I learned about parenting from my new friend Kate:

Even Kate gets distracted by her phone.

Kate says it's important to put your phone down and engage with the small people sometimes. "Sometimes the simple things, like watching a fire on a really rainy day (what's on fire, Kate, what?) is the most important thing... to strip away all the distractions." And again, we must be soul sisters, because I also try to sometimes put my phone down to walk outside with my kids, but usually what happens when I put my phone down is that one of my children picks it up and hacks my passcode to watch videos of someone they'll never meet playing Minecraft. I wonder if George does that? Or if there are just too many fires to watch.

She gets "Mum guilt", too.

"Anyone who says they don't is lying," says Kate. And she's right. Mum guilt is the single most destructive thing for the mothers of young children. That and the 25th rendition of Baby Shark before 6am. "The more people you have around your children who are safe, loving and caring the better," Kate says a "wise man" once told her. I bet that was Prince Philip. He is very wise.

She was not a perfect pregnant person.

The world knows this, but Kate clarified that during all three of her pregnancies, "I got very bad morning sickness, so I am not the happiest pregnant person." This is an understatement. Kate had hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition so severe that she needed to be hospitalised. She says the sickness was so bad that labour was a relief. "Because I was so sick, I actually quite like labour." Think about that. Labour was a relief. Women are f*cking superheroes.


She's a little bit woo-woo, just like you.

Kate was into hypno-birthing. But, you know, she's not weird or anything. "I'm not going to say that William was standing there chanting sweet nothings at me, he definitely wasn't," she says. But she says she saw the power of meditation and deep breathing when she was nearly dying of sickness in her pregnancy and so it helped her enormously when she was giving birth and having to visualise standing in front of the nation's media five minutes later. That, my friends, is a powerful endorsement.

You don't have to be at every drop-off and pick-up to be a good mum.

"I want them to remember the fun bits (those fires again)," says Kate, "the moments of still." Not whether she was always at the school gate. Which is how we all feel, right? I definitely don't want my kids to remember the drop-offs when everyone was crying (including me) and we are so late I basically just slow down the car to push them out. OR that time I forgot to book them into before-school care but I had a meeting, so I just told them to crawl under the gate and act natural. I bet Kate's done that, at least once.

My new friend also shared that she didn't find out the sex of her babies, that she and William practised putting a doll in the car seat before they did it with George in front of the cameras, and that she's at her happiest stomping about in the countryside, covered in mud.

She was a bloody delight.

And honestly, I wouldn't mind having her as my very own parenting podcast co-host, given my current one isn't very royal.

This story originally appeared in Holly Wainwright’s weekly newsletter. You can get more stories like it by subscribing to her weekly newsletter. You can also follow Holly on Instagram or Facebook.