UK

Kate says she would ‘love to be a student again’ during university visit

The Princess of Wales visited Nottingham Trent University on Wednesday (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Princess of Wales visited Nottingham Trent University on Wednesday (Chris Jackson/PA) The Princess of Wales visited Nottingham Trent University on Wednesday (Chris Jackson/PA)

The Princess of Wales has said she would “love to be a student again” after seeing how two universities work to support mental health.

Kate was visiting Nottingham Trent University’s (NTU) Clifton Campus on Wednesday to discuss how students’ and staff’s wellbeing was supported, following World Mental Health Day on Tuesday.

She said mental health “does matter” and spoke with representatives from both NTU and the University of Nottingham about a variety of initiatives.

Princess of Wales
Princess of Wales Kate said she would love to be a student again (Chris Jackson/PA)

Taking part in a Step In Circle session – part of NTU’s Welcome Workshop, which encourages students to share experiences to help them build confidence and support their wellbeing – Kate said it was important to try new things.

She said: “I’d love to be a student again.

“I remember university for me was one of those great opportunities to try out new hobbies, and that has carried through now.

The princess listened to the experiences of NTU students during the Step In Circle session (Chris Jackson/PA)
The princess listened to the experiences of NTU students during the Step In Circle session (Chris Jackson/PA) The princess listened to the experiences of NTU students during the Step In Circle session (Chris Jackson/PA)

“I loved trying out new things, and challenging myself, whether (in) sports, music, or art.

“It’s one of the things with my kids too, just trying out new things, and university for me was when I learned to try out because there is so much on offer.

“I love being outside and being a part of all the different sports clubs, so doing things like hockey and tennis at university, but I also tried out the photography club at university, which was great and I met totally new friends, and that’s something I continue to love and enjoy now.

“It’s a good chance to try new things.”

Kate also spoke to representatives of both universities about schemes including peer-to-peer mentoring, getting students involved in sports and NTU’s mental health dashboard, which can help flag if a student needs support with their mental health and wellbeing.

The princess was presented with teddy bears, created by NTU students, and a bouquet of flowers, before greeting wellwishers prior to her departure.

Kate was presented with teddy bears knitted by students (Chris Jackson/PA)
Kate was presented with teddy bears knitted by students (Chris Jackson/PA) Kate was presented with teddy bears created by students (Chris Jackson/PA)

Anna O’Hara, president of Nottingham Trent Students’ Union, said following the visit: “It was a really incredible experience and it’s really made me proud to be part of NTU, to be able to showcase all of the things we are doing for the students. It was amazing.

“(Kate’s visit) really opens up the opportunities to talk about mental health more freely.

“It allows students to feel that it is OK to talk about mental health and to get support if they need it.

“It was incredibly nerve-racking but an incredible opportunity. It was just amazing.”

Jessica Nuttall (left) and Anna O'Hara showed the princess around the campus during her visit (Callum Parke/PA)
Jessica Nuttall (left) and Anna O'Hara showed the princess around the campus during her visit (Callum Parke/PA) Jessica Nuttall and Anna O’Hara showed the princess around the campus during her visit (Callum Parke/PA)

Jessica Nuttall, the Union Development Officer at the University of Nottingham Students’ Union, said: “It was really nice to celebrate with her the amazing things the students do in the university with regards to wellbeing, as well as what the university has in place. It was a lovely morning.

“It shows such a message, coming from such an important person, how important it really is to consider every level (of wellbeing).

“It got to the point where the importance of what we’re talking about took over any nerves that we had because it was so important to talk about and she really wanted to have those conversations, which were really nice to have.”