Kate photobombed by toddler during visit to Christmas tree farm

By Laura Parnaby, PA
1 / 4

Kate photobombed by toddler during visit to Christmas tree farm

The Duchess of Cambridge was photobombed by a toddler as she celebrated a new patronage with a festive visit to a Christmas tree farm.

Kate was speaking with a group of children about what they wanted for Christmas when three-year-old Freddie leant in front of her with a cheeky smile to get in the picture.

The duchess was visiting the farm in Missenden, Buckinghamshire, to celebrate becoming a royal patron of the charity Family Action, a position passed to her by the Queen who had held it for more than 65 years.

To mark the occasion, Kate was joined by families and children supported by Family Action for Christmas activities at the farm on Wednesday.

Dressed in a green jumper, red coat and jeans, the Duchess was greeted by the Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, on arrival.

The duchess then helped children make decorations and eco-friendly reindeer food in the farm’s Elves Enchanted Forest.

Freddie Rusbridge who managed to ‘photobomb’ the Duchess of Cambridge (Jonathan Brady/PA)

While she was in an ‘Elf Workshop’ with several children, Freddie leant in front of her to get his photo taken by a PA photographer, who had joined them for a moment.

Kate laughed and spoke with the children about what they wanted for Christmas, and when one child said he wanted a dinosaur, she asked: “Which one, a diplodocus or a T-rex?”

The duchess then spoke with three more children about their Christmas traditions in a small wooden hut called ‘Lapland Lodge.’

She asked them: “How tall is your Christmas tree?” and one child threw her arms above her head to demonstrate.

The children then pretended to feed wooden reindeers from buckets of eco-friendly reindeer food, as the duchess held their hands and said: “The reindeers will love that.”

Kate took part in Christmas activities with families and children who are supported by the Family Action charity (Jonathan Brady/PA)

They moved outside to choose a Christmas tree, and Kate helped Freddie and several other children place a ribbon on their favourite.

The duchess’s new patronage fits in with her charity work focusing on early years and the importance of supporting children and families.

Family Action, which works with vulnerable or disadvantaged children, was founded in 1869 to help families in difficulty by giving them practical help.

The charity now supports families with issues such as financial hardship, mental health and emotional wellbeing, social isolation, parenting challenges, domestic abuse, and substance misuse.

Mother of camera-happy Freddie, Ann-Marie Walsh, said the charity has been a “brilliant” help for her family.

The Duchess of Cambridge leads children to pick a Christmas tree during a visit to Peterley Manor Farm in Buckinghamshire (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Ms Walsh, 38, who has four children aged 21, 16, five and three, said: “I’m a single mum, and they (Family Action) helped steer me in the right direction.

“They have helped me find my way when I have been upset and helped me look after my children – it means my children are happy.”

Ms Walsh, who is from Peterborough and is currently unemployed, spoke with the duchess about the financial strain of the festive season for single-parent families.

The chief executive of Family Action, David Holmes, said the charity helps 300,000 children a year, and 45,000 families.

Mr Holmes said: “The duchess was really interested in being able to highlight the importance of the early years, and how important it is to have a good start in life.

“She’s such a strong advocate for that.”

Kate – mother to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis- also visited Family Action’s base in Lewisham, south-east London, in January 2019 and launched its national support line, FamilyLine.

She also spent time at Hornsey Road Children’s Centre in north London, where the charity provides services, in 2017.

This year marks the charity’s 150th anniversary.