Kate learns about efforts to protect UK wildlife in Natural History Museum visit

By Helen William, PA

The Duchess of Cambridge was taken on a journey of discovery, handling a meteorite and peering at common newts, during a visit at the Natural History Museum.

A relaxed-looking Kate was being shown around the Angela Marmont Centre (AMC) in London, where she was given an insight into scientific efforts to try and help protect wildlife.

Kate, who is patron of the Natural History Museum where the AMC is based, was told about how the unit tries to help members of the public identify the nature specimens they find in their neighbourhoods.

The unit also provides training in wildlife identification, and leads research and citizen science projects which help to transform the understanding of over 80,000 species of wildlife in the UK.

Kate sported olive-coloured, wide-legged trousers from Jigsaw and a maroon long-sleeved top from Warehouse along with a Chanel handbag and block-heeled court shoes in the same colour for the trip.

She saw butterfly specimens, pressed flowers and peered into a tank of freshly-drawn pond life that included common newts and water lice, as she quizzed the wildlife experts about conservation and how to try and keep children interested in nature as they grow up.

The Duchess of Cambridge is patron of the Natural History Museum (Yui Mok/PA)

Kate giggled as AMC head John Tweddle told her that a dead frog in an envelope, which he had once received for identification from a curious nature lover, was his “least favourite” find.

Dr Tweddle, who explained that handing in live species was not encouraged, told the duchess: “It is an important service and takes us out of the ivory tower.”

Kate recalled previously seeing the butterfly collection with Prince George at the museum.

Kate met with Dr John Tweddle, right, during her visit (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

She also inspected a genuine meteorite and was told that people sometimes mistakenly brought in rocks and “things they think look like they have come out of a sci-fi film” only to find it is often industrial iron waste.

The AMC is a scientific hub which seeks to revolutionise the study of UK wildlife, and interest young people in the nature on their doorstep.

AMC studies of the UK’s natural world range from how and why wildlife is changing, through to using ground-breaking techniques, such as analysis of environmental DNA, to detect and identify minuscule insects and microorganisms.

After the duchess’s visit, Beth Stone, of the AMC, said: “It was fascinating. She is clearly very interested in our nature and getting the children interested.”