Last week, The Duchess of Cambridge shared some really intimate family and personal secrets at her first-ever Podcast. Catherine joined Giovanna Fletcher at Giovanna’s popular podcast ‘Happy Mum Happy Baby’. The Duchess candidly talked about motherhood, childhood memories and her passion for early years work. You can hear the podcast here.
I simply loved the episode and the fact that we usually never hear Catherine speaking this much. In the podcast, The Duchess was warm, passionate while she very intelligently touched all the aspects of her personal, public and royal life – Childhood, Motherhood, Working Mother’s guilt, Mental Health, Public Expectations, fears and moments of family life.
Catherine met Giovanna, who is Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author, in Birmingham at the launch of landmark Survey ‘5 Big Questions on the Under Fives’. After the engagement. I believe the idea of having Duchess at the podcast was born that day. Then Duchess of Cambridge and Giovanna sat down together to record the podcast after their another joint engagement at LEYF Stockwell Gardens Nursery in London. You can take part in the survey by clicking here.
Both ladies, who are the mother of three young children, discussed Catherine’s work in the area of Early Years that has built up to the landmark survey, the importance of the early years. They also shared experiences as mothers to three children. The ‘Happy Mum Happy Baby’ podcast focuses on the challenges of Parenthood in a series of frank and warm conversations with mums and dads covering all aspects of parenthood, from tackling loneliness to being a single parent.
About hosting the podcast with the Duchess of Cambridge, Giovanna said, “It doesn’t matter who you are, what you have, or where you come from – we’re all trying to do our best with our children while continuously doubting our decisions and wondering if we’re getting it completely wrong. Talking helps unite us all. Having been with the Duchess of Cambridge on a couple of engagements to celebrate the launch of the 5 Big Questions survey, it was clear how passionate she is about the Early Years. It was then beyond wonderful to sit and talk further about the survey, her work – for which she has so much knowledge, and her own experiences of being a mother. This is a very special episode of the podcast and I’m very excited for people to hear it”.
During the podcast, Catherine shared some really intimate details of her childhood, her pregnancy, and life as a mother. She talked about her work in the Early Years and the survey. You can read the full transcript of the survey here. Some snippets from what Catherine told us during the podcast. About her work in Early Years:
since I got married, I’ve been looking into this as a huge passion, and going out and listening to what makes people tick and the things that unify people, but also the struggles that people are facing right in the early days, meeting lots of people who are struggling with addiction, homelessness, abuse and things like that, you really get moved by some of the challenges that people are facing and it’s really heartbreaking to hear. And the more you look into everybody’s experiences, so many of those hardest social challenges really get traced right back to the earliest years of somebody’s life.
And you hear that time and time again across the nation, across the world, you hear the really sad reality that what we experience in our childhood really has a lifelong impact on our future health and happiness.
So I suppose that has really driven my interest in digging deep into the early years landscape, speaking to academics, speaking to doctors, practitioners, charities, and all those within the sector to try and work out some of what could be done to help prevent some of these really sad social challenges that I think all of us witness across the country.
Catherine shared some sweet snippets from her childhood:
I had a very happy childhood. It was great fun – I’m very lucky, I’ve come from a very strong family – my parents were hugely dedicated to us – my siblings. I really appreciate now as a parent how much they sacrificed for us.
But it is really true – you know, they would come to every sports match – I was very keen on sport – they came to every sports match, they’d be the ones on the side-line shouting, and we’d always have our family holidays together.
But I think the things that really resonate with me most are the simple things and actually I see that now with my own children, life now is so busy, so distracting and actually sometimes the simple things like watching a fire on a really rainy day provide such enjoyment.
I remember that from my childhood – doing the simple things, going for a walk together, and that’s really what I try and do with my children as well because it totally strips away all the complications, all the pressures…
I think, if I take the experience from my own childhood, coupled with what I know now and what I’ve learnt from the experts in the Early Years sector, I think there’s a few things that really stand out for me.
One is quality of relationships. So, those moments that you spend with people that are around you. I remember that from my own childhood. I had an amazing Granny who devoted a lot of time to us, playing with us, doing arts and crafts and going to the greenhouse to do gardening, and cooking with us, and I try and incorporate a lot of the experiences that she gave us at the time into the experiences that I give my children now.
There are also the environments that you spend time in as well: a happy home, a safe environment. As children, we spent a lot of time outside and it’s something I’m really passionate about. I think it’s so great for physical and mental wellbeing and laying those foundations. It’s such a great environment to actually spend time in, building those quality relationships without the distractions of ‘I’ve got to cook’ and ‘I’ve got to do this’. And actually, it’s so simple.
We have always known that William and Catherine are very hands-on parents. Last year, Catherine cancelled her appearance at the Tusk awards as there was nobody to babysit little Cambridge kids. When Giovanna asked, Do you struggle with mum guilt? For having the juggle…” Catherine said,
Yes absolutely – and anyone who doesn’t as a mother is actually lying! Yep – all the time, yep – and you know even this morning, coming to the nursery visit here – George and Charlotte were like ‘Mummy how could you possibly not be dropping us off at school this morning?’
About her first pregnancy with Prince George, Duchess said,
It was fine. I got very bad morning sickness, so I’m not the happiest of pregnant people. unfortunately. Lots of people have it far, far worse, but it was definitely a challenge. Not just for me but also for your loved ones around you – and I think that’s the thing – being pregnant and having a new-born baby and things like that, impacts everybody in the family.
You know, William didn’t feel he could do much to help and it’s hard for everyone to see you suffering without actually being able to do anything about it.
I was really sick – I wasn’t eating the things I should be eating – but yet, the body was still able to take all the goodness from my body and to grow new life, which I think is fascinating.
We all remember the moments of ‘Great Kate Wait’ in 2013 when William and Catherine introduced their first child Prince George to the World in front of International Media. Duchess talked about that exact moment in the podcast and gave what was actually happening,
Yeah, slightly terrifying, slightly terrifying, I’m not going to lie. No, it’s hard, I like to decompartmentalise – what’s the word – compartmentalise, yes, the whole thing. Everyone had been so supportive and both William and I were really conscious that this was something that everyone was excited about and you know we’re hugely grateful for the support that the public had shown us, and actually for us to be able to share that joy and appreciation with the public, I felt was really important. But equally, it was coupled with a new-born baby, and inexperienced parents, and the uncertainty of what that held, so there were all sorts of mixed emotions.
Everything goes in a bit of a blur. I think, yeah I did stay in hospital overnight, I remember it was one of the hottest days and night with huge thunderstorms so I didn’t get a huge amount of sleep, but George did which was really great. I was keen to get home because, for me, being in the hospital, I had all the memories of being in the hospital because of being sick so it wasn’t a place I wanted to hang around in. So, I was really desperate to get home and get back to normality.
And the moment when Prince William carried his son Prince George to the car before driving his family away from the hospital to their home. Giovanna thought ‘The Duke when he put Prince George in the car, that was seamless” – we all thought but Catherine shared some really interesting tidbits,
But he probably didn’t think so at the time! We were like ‘What do we do?… in a swaddle?’. ‘How’s this supposed to work?!’. We’d even tried to practice with a little baby, like a little doll, at home but you know it just never works out the way you planned it so it was quite hard to do that on the world’s stage, but no, he did a very good job.
The Duchess of Cambridge topped the whole podcast with an extremely sweet moment,
I’ve got this one photo of Charlotte smelling a bluebell, and really for me, it’s moments like that mean so much to me as a parent, and I try every day to put moments like that in even if they’re small or even if I don’t have time… but that in an ideal world is what I would like to do.
Someone did ask me the other day, what would you want your children to remember about their childhood?
And I thought that was a really good question because actually if you really think about that, is it that I’m sitting down trying to do their maths and spelling homework over the weekend?
Or is it the fact that we’ve gone out and lit a bonfire and sat around trying to cook sausages that hasn’t worked because it’s too wet? That’s what I would want them to remember, those moments with me as a mother, but also the family going to the beach, getting soaking wet, filling our boots full of water, those are what I would want them to remember.
Not a stressful household where you’re trying to do everything and not really succeeding at one thing.
A refresher of what Duchess of Cambridge wore that day. She was wearing a new blue long coat that is still unidentified with Sezane Tulio Jumper and black skinny jeans. Her Russell & Bromley Fab Dry Ankle Boots and UFO Gold Fringe Earrings.
Next, The Duchess of Cambridge, the Patron of Sports Aid, will visit the London Stadium at the Olympic Park in Stratford on February 26.
Update: In December 2020, Giovanna Fletcher talked about her experience of hosting The Duchess of Cambridge at her podcast when Mrs. Fletcher joined the Reality show I am Celeb. From Daily Mail’s report,
She told Shane: ‘I would call her Kate Middleton before (the interview) but they all call her Katherine or The Duchess. So now, I’m kinda like “the Duchess, or Katherine”.’ Giovanna then added she ‘might have fallen in love’ with Kate after their interview, as Shane teased her by saying she had a ‘Girl crush.’
The Hello! reported,
When fellow campmate Shane Richie asked Giovanna what Kate was like, she gushed: “Divine, absolutely elegant, self-deprecating,” and later agreed that the Duchess was her “girl crush”.
Giovanna said that when they recorded the podcast interview, it was meant to be 45 minutes but ended up running to 90.
She added: “Basically Prince William had come in as the [comms team] was briefing her and he just said: ‘Just talk, don’t worry about saying anything you shouldn’t or exposing too much, we can change it in the edit, just talk.'”