The Princess of Wales, 41, politely refrained from signing an autograph while spending time with school children during a surprise visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in London on Monday. Princess Kate joined 100 kids from 10 different elementary schools for the inaugural Children’s Picnic and toured several displays at the world-renowned garden show with students after.
In the Royal Entomological Society garden, the royal mom joined pupils from St. Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Islington and Glenbrook Primary School in Brixton to identify bugs and beetles in a wall of permeable modules. The children, however, buzzed for a souvenir from the princess and asked Kate to sign their sketches.
“I can’t write my name,” she was overheard saying, “but I can draw.”
The Princess of Wales drew a flower for a 7-year-old girl named Ruby, a tree for another girl and a pond surrounded by plants for a third child.
When asked again about why she couldn’t sign, the royal mom explained, “My name’s Catherine. I’m not allowed to write my signature, it’s just one of those rules.”
According to the Daily Express, members of the royal family avoid signing autographs given the risk of forgery. However, this protocol doesn’t stop them from connecting with well-wishers during official outings. Princess Kate and Prince William have both smiled for selfies with members of the public in recent months, relaxing an apparent former stance about avoiding such images.
Elsewhere during her outing at the Chelsea Flower Show, Kate revealed that her youngest son Prince Louis is busy with a gardening project at 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,” Princess Kate said of the experiment.
Repeating a favorite theme, the royal mom (who shares Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, with husband Prince William) extolled the virtues of spending time outdoors. “It’s so good for our bodies and our minds,” she told the kids.
Joining another group from Alec Reed Primary School in Northolt to discuss flowers and plants, the Princess of Wales made a relatable revelation about memorization. “Lots of the names are in Latin and I can never remember them,” she said before asking, “Is this different to your normal lessons? It’s a different way of learning today.”
READ: Princess Kate Reveals She ‘Never Expected To Become A Royal But Fell In Love With William ‘
The Children’s Picnic marked the first time the Royal Horticultural Society, which runs the Chelsea Flower Show, has invited school children to the event at such a large scale. The hope is that the annual picnic will inspire a future generation of gardeners — and many of the young attendees were fascinated by the princess.
While connecting with kids from St. George’s Church of England Primary School in Camberwell, some of the youngsters quizzed Kate about her favorite color (correctly guessing “green”) and asked what it was like to be a member of the royal family.
“You have to work hard, but you know the best thing about it is meeting kiddies like you,” Kate explained. Pressed on what the royal family does, she shared, “They help support all the different people in the country, showcase all the amazing work being done and look after everyone.” One curious child asked if she made the law, and Princess Kate diplomatically answered, “The Prime Minister makes the laws.”
According to 11-year-old Saron Fikremariam, the Princess of Wales also shared a special intention for her future royal role.
“I asked her what’s the first thing she is going to do when she becomes Queen and she said she is going to help kids,” the student said.
Jane Scarsbrook, the head teacher of Glenbrook Primary School in Clapham Park, London, added that the royal was a natural with the kids.
“She was really engaging. She was saying how great it was that the children were being invited for the first time — she was really happy about that,” Scarsbrook said of Kate’s take.