If Kate Middleton, a.k.a. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, ever needs a second career, she might choose music. At the very least, she proved a quick learner at an event earlier this week in Kent. Duchess Kate paid an under-the-radar visit to the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School in Beckenham where a young boy instructed her in the intricacies of playing the ukulele.
Students are enrolled at the school while patients at either Bethlem Royal Hospital or Maudsley Hospital, which treat mental health issues. Headteacher Dr. John Ivens said the Duchess was very interested to learn about the school’s work and the stories of the children who attend.
“Clearly it was very important for her to understand how young people get to a situation that they need to be an in-patient at such a young age. It was clear that her intention in coming was to find out more about this area. She talked a little bit about that with the children and about what [Kate Middleton and Prince William’s son Prince] George likes. It was lovely.”
Dr. Ivens is also involved with Place2Be, another of Duchess Kate’s charities.
The ukulele lesson was one part of Duchess Kate’s 90-minute visit to the school. Dr. Ivens described how Kate was attentive and an eager student, even showing some musical talent.
“One of the boys managed to teach the Duchess a couple of chords on the ukulele. She kept up with them. There’s a career there.
The Duchess is very good at listening to what people are saying to her, especially children, and responding in a thoughtful way.”
If Kate Middleton decides to take on a new career as a musician, she make look to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. The organization’s website espouses the virtues of the instrument, which is compact and versatile.
“The ukulele is small, convenient and relatively inexpensive, and one can often quickly and easily learn the basics to a rewarding level. One can then undertake a world tour with only hand luggage. Some people go so far as to say that playing a tune on a ukulele is a way of identifying good music; if the composition is good, it sounds good on a ukulele; the very limitations of the instrument encourage thinking creatively about music.”
If the royal decides to pick up the ukulele while she’s waiting for Prince George’s younger sibling to arrive — Duchess Kate is expecting baby number two in April — she can look to this season’s American Idol for inspiration. A young contestant gave an impressive audition using the instrument, which he says his grandmother taught him to play.
[Kate Middleton image: Getty]