February 12, 2020 / 1:49 PM / 16 days ago

Britain's duchess Kate makes first solo visit to Northern Ireland

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, looks at an alpaca as she visits the Ark Open Farm in Newtownards, Northern Ireland February 12, 2020. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS

NEWTONARDS, Northern Ireland (Reuters) - Britain’s duchess Kate, the wife of Prince William, met local families on Wednesday during a surprise visit to Northern Ireland to promote her early-years survey.

On her first solo visit to the British-run province, she toured the Ark Open Farm, a family-run attraction that specialises in rare breeds of cattle and which has play areas and activities for children.

The Duchess of Cambridge is on a tour of the UK to promote a nationwide survey focused on improving conditions for the country’s children. She is expected to go to Scotland next, having already visited projects in England and Wales.

She toured the 40-acre venue with staff from the farm as part of her interest in Northern Ireland’s Early Years organisation, a non-profit-making organisation that promotes high quality childcare.

Early Years teacher Florence told Reuters that having Kate’s support was “excellent”.

“Young parents look up to her and listen to important things she says,” she said.

The Duchess of Cambridge was welcomed to the province by Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party.

Reporting by Graham Fahy; editing by Stephen Addison

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