Kate Middleton, the little Brownie who grew up to be leader of the pack
She was just eight years old when she enrolled as a brownie with the 1st St Andrew's pack in Pangbourne, Berkshire.
Then a slight, pale little girl with a shy smile, Kate Middleton wore the yellow sweatshirt, brown culottes and matching sash of the brownie guide uniform with pride.
Kate attended regular weekly meetings with the other little girls from the village, where brownies would play games, arrange to help other members in their community and work towards winning the badges they could pin to their sashes.
Blossomed: The pale, shy brownie aged just eight has blossomed into a dazzling Duchess. The lessons Kate learned as a brownie will stand her in good stead when she volunteers as a scout leader from next month
A fellow Brownie from the same era said the evening sessions were excellent fun and a great way to meet new friends outside of school.
'Each session would begin with all the brownies skipping around a toadstool and reciting the brownie guide law,' she says.
'We had to have a 10 pence coin, a piece of string and other essentials in our pocket.
'Kate would have learned simple first aid – learning to make a sling out of the brownie scarf. Every session she would have learned really good life skills that she probably still uses today.
'She would have played games, learned new crafts, and worked towards getting her badges.
Kate would probably have got her hostess badge – most girls did – which meant learning to make a good cup of tea and how to write a proper thank you note.
Kate (back row, centre) poses with her fellow brownies at St Peter's Church hall in 1990
'There was also a swimmers badge, and a badge for caring for animals, and a homemaker's badge.
'Like most brownies, Kate, went on an Easter trip to the Cotswolds with her brownie pack. For most of us, such trips were the first time away from home without our parents. Some found it really quite nervewracking, but I expect Kate took it in her stride.'
Peters of Girlguiding UK says Kate would have learned vital skills that
will have stood her in good stead throughout her schooldays and beyond.
'The main thing brownies learn is teamwork,' she told MailOnline.
'But it also allows them to experience
adventure – it gives them confidence. It's about trying out lots of activities and making new friends.
'A recent study found that a large
number of successful, award-winning women attended brownies – and in
part attribute their success later in life to the skills, teamwork and life lessons they learned
At weekly meetings Kate, right, would have played games, learned new crafts and worked towards badges
as a young brownie will stand her in excellent stead when she embarks
upon her new role as a volunteer helper at her local scout group in
Anglesey from next month.
Kate is due to help out on
an ad hoc basis with cub scout packs and beaver scout colonies in the
North Wales region, working with boys and girls aged from six to ten.
Girls have been allowed to join the Scouts since 1976. Last year 4,330
joined the movement, compared to 3,796 boys.
According to the
Scout Association Kate will lend a hand with the day-to-day working of
her packs as well as activities including running games, teaching first
aid and helping out with cooking and campfires, and helping the girls and boys work towards their badges.
Of course, in these modern times, brownie and scouting organisations have changed dramatically.
Now badges they achieve are for things like agility, disability awareness,
environment – even circus skills.
A St James’s
Palace spokesman told the Mail that the Duchess had been keen to become
involved as she ‘loved the idea of Scouting and working hands-on with
children’ and felt it tied in with her own interest and hobbies,
particularly the outdoors.
As Kate is to help with the scouts, rather than the brownie guides, she will not be wearing the traditional brown and yellow uniform she wore as a young girl.
Rather, Kate will wear the Scout Association’s distinctive blue shirt, scarf and famous woggle as she lends a hand at meetings close to the rented farmhouse she shares with Prince William on Anglesey.
She will also be required to take the Scout Promise – vowing to ‘do my best to do my duty to God and to the Queen, To help other people, And to keep the Scout Law’.
Founded by Robert Baden-Powell in 1907 to help young people with their ‘physical, mental and spiritual development’, the Scouting movement requires members to be loyal, friendly, courageous and considerate – as well as keeping to the famous motto to ‘Be Prepared’.
Brownies: A hobby fit for a queen
The Queen, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne all spent time wearing the traditional uniform of the brownies and playing games with the other girls in the pack – although they were members of the rather grand sounding 1st Buckingham Palace pack.
Princess Elizabeth – now Queen – right, and Princess Margaret, left, in the guide and brownie uniforms of 1938
Princess Anne was a brownie in the regal-sounding 1st Buckingham Palace Brownies Pack