Kate confesses to challenges of parenting – and cutting her children’s hair

Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent
·3-min read

The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed parenting during lockdown has left her “exhausted” and joked about her children recoiling in “horror” when she became their hairdresser.

Kate spoke candidly about the challenges of looking after Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis during a light-hearted chat with a group of parents and revealed husband William was her biggest support during the pandemic.

The duchess also urged families to “reach out to loved ones and friends” to help them deal with their mental health.

When asked to rate her maths ability, the duchess gave herself the score of minus five.

Kate took part in a discussion with three parents, whose children attend Roe Green Junior School in Kingsbury, north-west London, alongside headteacher Melissa Loosemore.

Kate chats with (L-R top row) headteacher Melissa Loosemore, and parents Rajana Panchani and Nicole Seidemann and (bottom row) Musadiq Subar (Kensington Palace/PA)
Kate chats with (L-R top row) headteacher Melissa Loosemore, and parents Rajana Panchani and Nicole Seidemann and (bottom row) Musadiq Subar (Kensington Palace/PA)

As part of a “show and tell” exercise during the video call on Tuesday, the headteacher instructed the group to write down answers to questions with the first request – “one word that describes parenting during this pandemic”.

The future queen held aloft the word “exhausting” while others joined in with similar sentiments including “hectic”, “patience” and “challenging”.

After being asked to explain her decision by the headteacher, Kate said: “I think as parents you’ve the day-to-day elements of being a parent, but I suppose during lockdown we have had to take on additional roles that perhaps others in our communities, or in our lives, would have perhaps supported us and helped us with.”

Chuckling, Kate added: “I’ve become a hairdresser this lockdown, much to my children’s horror, seeing mum cutting hair.

“We’ve had to become a teacher – and I think, personally, I feel pulled in so many different directions and you try your best with everything, but at the end of the day I do feel exhausted.”

Ms Loosemore agreed with the duchess, saying: “Absolutely, absolutely. I think that is probably something we can all share.”

Parent Nicole Seidemann, who has four children aged 11, nine, six and four, described herself as “definitely a full-time teacher right now and struggling to do much else”.

Kate during her visit to Roe Green Junior School in 2018. Jonathan Brady
Kate during her visit to Roe Green Junior School in 2018 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Asked to describe her experience of home schooling, she echoed the duchess’ comments, saying: “It is exhausting at the end of the day.”

In another exercise, the parents were asked to write down who had been their support during the pandemic.

As the other parents wrote “children”, “wife and children” and “husband”, Kate held aloft a tribute to her husband with the word “William”.

For the third exercise the parents were asked to rate their maths ability after several months of home schooling.

Self-deprecating Kate scored herself a “minus 5” while the others all gave themselves “eight”, but the parents explained they had all improved dramatically during the lockdown.

Kate shares a joke with parents during her video call (Kensington Palace/PA)
Kate shares a joke with parents during her video call (Kensington Palace/PA)

Kate laughed saying: “That’s pretty good! I am obviously right at the bottom of the class.”

The duchess visited Roe Green Junior School in 2018 to launch her Mentally Healthy Schools programme and the discussion covered some of the key issues raised by Kate’s landmark survey on the Early Years development of children, like parental welling being and loneliness.

The royal asked the group what they did for their own mental wellbeing and one parent mentioned exercise while another highlighted talking to close friends.

Kate said: “Being able to share your own experience with others who are going through the same thing makes it feel less daunting and makes you feel less isolated, so it’s really important to reach out to loved ones and friends.”