Prince George and Princess Charlotte set to play outside no matter how cold as Prince William vows to follow Swedes

When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge return from their overseas trip, their children could rightfully expect an armful of gifts and a happy-to-be home cuddle. Instead, they may be in for a rude awakening.

The Duke of Cambridge has spoken of how he had been inspired by hardy Swedish children, who play outside in all weather and are all the healthier for it.

In a speech detailing how the British could learn from the Swedish people, the Duke said he would take home the lesson of how youngsters are "actively encouraged" to go out in the cold.

Prince George, four, and Princess Charlotte, two, are at home at Kensington Palace while their parents spend four days in Scandinavia.

The Duke and Duchess met hundreds of schoolchildren, some bundled up in thick coats and gloves and others braving the sub-zero temperature in short sleeves, waving flags in the playground for their arrival.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrapped up warm as they met school children in StockholmCredit:
Stephen Lock/i-Images 

The Duchess, who is about five-months pregnant, also wrapped up warm in a red houndstooth coat, which fashion afficionados recognised as being very similar to a short jacket worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1990.

The distinctive patterned coat, custom made for the Duchess by Catherine Walker, is reminiscent of a Moschino outfit the late Princess wore to Princess Eugenie’s christening.

Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion on Stockholm visit

Speaking at an evening reception celebrating the ties between Britain and Sweden, the Duke observed: "The Swedish love of the outdoors – the way you embrace your climate and environment, and are committed to ensuring future generations can do the same; the fact that you do so when it is so cold is really inspiring.

"One lesson that we will take home with us is that children are actively encouraged to spend time outdoors, whatever the weather. This is obviously very good for their physical physical health but, as we learnt this morning at the remarkable Karolinska Institute, it has huge benefits for a child’s mental health as well."

The Duke of Cambridge makes a toast after speaking at a reception at the Fotografiska Galleries in StockholmCredit:
Dominic Lipinski /PA

His words follow research from the Office for National Statistics, which found that he average British child spends just 16 minutes outdoors each day.

The health and happiness of children has been a key concern of the Duke and Duchess, as well as being a major focus of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, their Swedish Royal counterparts.

The children of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden quietly ate snacks as they listened to the grown-ups talkCredit:
Raphael Stecksen/Royal Court Sweden /PA

If the Duke and Duchess were missing their own children during their short trip, they at least had he opportunity to spend time with two young members of the Swedish royal family.

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The Duke, 35, met the little girl who is, at least in terms of succession, his equal in Sweden: a five-year-old schoolgirl with a bow in her hair.

The Duke of Cambridge meets Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, along with the children's mother, Crown Princess Victoria of SwedenCredit:
Raphael Stecksen/Royal Court Sweden /PA

Princess Estelle and her younger brother Prince Oscar joined the Duke and Duchess for tea at their Stockholm palace, nestling on the sofa alongside heir parents.

The pair, dressed in a smart grey dress and shirt respectively, were on their best behaviour, quietly eating snacks as they listened to the grown-ups talk.

Kate and William’s tour of Sweden and Norway

The trip, during which the Duke and Duchess spent two days in Sweden and will spend two days in Norway from Thursday, has already been spoken of as a friendship-building exercise, as the British couple get to know European Royal families.

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