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Irish pre-schoolers receive surprise letter from Kate Middleton

Louise Walsh

Four-year-old Montessori students in Meath have set their sights on writing to the US President after they received a letter from "a real princess" to add to their celebrity replies.

Happy Days pre-schoolers were overjoyed to find a letter from Kensington Palace delivered to their school in Ratoath, Co Meath, from Britain's Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton last week.

Her response meant three out of three for the children, who also received replies to their letters to Irish President Michael D Higgins and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

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The children insisted on writing to the world leaders and duchess after learning about how important they were, and were blown away to get letters back from all three.

In the letter from Kate's personal secretary on her behalf, the duchess apologises for her delay in responding and thanks the children for their "lovely card and drawings".

The letter from Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge to the pre-schoolers at Happy Days Montessori in Ratoath, Co Meath. Photo: Louise Walsh.

It says: "The Duchess of Cambridge has asked me to thank you for your lovely card and drawings.  I apologise for the delay in replying to you, due to the large amount of correspondence received in the last few months, it has not been possible to reply to you until now.

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"It really was so kind of you to write as you did. Her Royal Highness was touched by your generous words of support for her work, and as a token of appreciation, I have enclosed a photograph that I hope you will all like.

"The Duchess of Cambridge has asked me to send you her warmest thanks and heartfelt good wishes."

'They wait for the postman'

Teacher Eilish Balfe said the children were "over the moon" to get a letter from "a real princess" and are now eager to write to more prominent people worldwide.

"It is just fantastic. Can you just imagine their little faces when they got a letter from a real princess. Many young girls especially just dream about being a princess when they grow up. And they are learning too how they can grow up to be in charge of a country, if they so wish.

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"The excitement when they send off the letter and then the anticipation each day on their little faces as they wait for the postman. One little girl's only wish is for a real princess to move to Ratoath," she said.

A whole conversation was started about girls becoming presidents

"It all started with the children reading the book ‘The President's Surprise’ and then learning all about Michael D Higgins and his dogs and where he lives. We sent him a birthday card for his 80th and received a thank you from him, which delighted the children.

"Then my own daughter Minnie overheard a news clip at home about Joe Biden and rushed to tell the class the next day that there was another president in America, so we learned about him.

"As the weeks went by, we learned about the Queen of England and Canada’s Justin Trudeau and a whole conversation was started about girls becoming presidents.

"Then we learned about Jacinda Ardern and the children couldn't believe how well she had handled Covid-19 there so they insisted on writing to her.

"They told her they were impressed with her work and that she was welcome to go to their houses for a cup of coffee or a 7-UP any day," she laughed.

The letter from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern to the pre-schoolers at Happy Days Montessori in Ratoath, Co Meath. Photo: Louise Walsh.

In a typed reply, Ms Ardern wrote: “Thank you very much for the lovely card and thanks too, Annalise for your drawing of me - I loved it!

"It was so nice to hear from you all - especially all the way from Ireland - and I really appreciate your kind words and support. Thanks again for writing, and I hope you are all keeping safe."

Before sending, Ms Ardern added a handwritten note to say: “Thank you so much for writing to me - I loved your messages."

Now the children have set their sights on writing to US President and First Lady Joe and Jill Biden, as well as Vice-President Kamala Harris.

"They want to congratulate Joe Biden on having his own helicopter and jet - that's very important," Ms Balfe said, adding that the children were learning a little about them first.

"I think it is great for them to learn that sometimes you can write to the most powerful people in the world and get a reply.

"It's also teaching them the beauty of letter writing and the anticipation of getting a reply — it goes against the grain of the instant gratification of emails and social media these days.

"One of the children is moving to Cavan after Christmas and they are already talking about being penpals."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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