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Cherish your school friends, Kate urges pupils during Bahamas assembly

The duchess addressed an assembly at the Sybil Strachan Primary School in Nassau which was closed for almost two years during the pandemic.

25 March 2022

The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken of the challenges faced by schoolchildren in the Bahamas during the pandemic.

Kate told primary school youngsters who were taught virtually for two years: “The pandemic has taken you away from your classrooms and your friends and learning from home has had its challenges.

“That is why it is so wonderful that after nearly two years away, you have recently returned to school and been reunited with your teachers and friends again.”

The duchess, who addressed an assembly at the Sybil Strachan Primary School in Nassau, added: “One of the hardest things that so many of us found about the pandemic was being separated from the people we love.

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 7
Musicians and dancers perform as they wait for the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Parliament Square in Nassau (Jane Barlow/PA)

“We have rediscovered how important our families are, and just how important our friends are.

“I always think it is the simple things in life that bring the most joy: playing together, chatting to your friends at school, eating meals together, listening to each other’s stories.

“These are the things that bring us together and give meaning to our lives.”

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 7
Young children in costume arrive to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Jane Barlow/PA)

The couple arrived in torrential rain sheltering under umbrellas held by their protection team and William quipped: “We seem to have brought the weather with us.”

Kate paid tribute to their hosts by wearing jewellery by local designer Nadia Irena and her dress was by Self Portrait.

The school, started in 1989, has more than 700 students from pre-school to grade 6.

Schools in the Bahamas were closed for nearly two years as a result of Covid-19, with children having to undertake their lessons virtually from March 2020 until January 2022.

Kate told the assembly: “The connections, the relationships and friendships that you make during school are so special. So please look after them, cherish them and take time for them. And be kind, understanding and loving to yourself and others.”

The duchess added: “We are so thrilled to be here in the Bahamas, a country that made us feel at home as soon as we set foot on its soil.

“If you are a child growing up in this country today it feels to me like you are very blessed indeed.

“The spectacular natural environment of the Bahamas is just one of those blessings – I only wish we were able to visit all of your 700 islands during our stay!”

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 7
People wait to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Nassau (Toby Melville/PA)

She said: “Our three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, all love being by the sea, so I hope they will be able to experience your clear waters and beautiful beaches before too long.

“However, as much as you have these natural wonders to enjoy, I know that the last few years have not been easy for many of you.”

The duchess, who has carried out pioneering work on early learning and development, praised the children’s parents and teachers: “We all owe them a debt of gratitude – our future society depends on it. So a big thank you to them for all they do.

“You have a wonderful proverb in your country – ‘When the moon is not full the stars shine more brightly’.

“I see all of you as the stars of this country, and I hope these difficult experiences have given you the motivation, empathy and compassion to become fully engaged citizens of tomorrow, who will continue to make the Bahamas the vibrant, life-affirming and soul-enriching place it is today,” she said.

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