Kate says it is ‘really cool’ her grandmother worked at Bletchley Park
The Duchess of Cambridge helped children to break German code during the visit.
The Duchess of Cambridge has visited Bletchley Park where she was surprised by a memorial to her family who worked at the site during the Second World War.
Codebreakers based at the site, near Milton Keynes, fed crucial information to Allied forces in the days and weeks leading up to the largest sea invasion in history in 1944.
Kate, who visited ahead of the June 6 commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, was shown a new memorial wall which contained the names of those who were veterans of the war who served at Bletchley Park.
The wall contained commemorative bricks, featuring the names of her grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, and her twin sister, Mary, who both worked at the code-breaking facility during the war.
While on her tour of the base, the duchess also took part in the code-breaking exercises with children from Ackley Wood School in Buckinghamshire.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s Grandmother and Great Aunt, Valerie and Mary Glassborow, who worked at @bletchleypark, the home of British codebreaking during the Second World War — are the latest additions to Bletchley’s Codebreakers’ Wall. pic.twitter.com/LpeRRpbk0e— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 14, 2019
She helped the children de-scramble German messages, like those during the war, using an original Enigma code-breaking machine, and deciphered the message: “The invasion has begun.”
Speaking about her family connection with Bletchley Park, the Duchess told the children: “My Granny and her sister worked here which is really cool.
“She was sworn to secrecy and she found it very difficult to talk about.”
HRH The Duchess of Cambridge met with next generation of budding codebreakers (aka visiting school children) taking part in our new interactive STEM learning activities #BletchleyPark #DDay75 pic.twitter.com/yDyzD0pKBD— Bletchley Park (@bletchleypark) May 14, 2019
After helping the children, Kate was presented with owl, squirrel, rabbit and fox stuffed toys to give to her nephew Archie, the newborn son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex .
Kate arrived at the centre wearing a blue and white polka dot dress from Alessandra Rich, complemented by a brooch which is understood to have belonged to her grandmother.
After being shown around the newly restored Teleprinter Building where codebreakers received hundreds of thousands of enemy messages, Kate was shown a new special exhibition entitled D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Information.
The Duchess took time to speak to lines of cheering and giggling schoolchildren from College Gerard Philipe, in France, Kinross Primary School, Scotland, and Woodmansterne Primary School, London, who were waving British flags as she made her way through the site.
Towards the end of her tour, Kate was introduced to four Bletchley Park Veterans by Dermot Turing, the nephew of the famous code-breaker Alan Turing.
Rena Stewart, Georgina Rose, Elizabeth Diacon, and Audrey Mather served at the once-secret facility during the war until 1945.
The four veterans, who all wore pins in recognition of their service to Bletchley Park, spoke to the duchess about what they remembered from their time gathering intelligence in the build-up to D-Day.
The Duchess of Cambridge with @BletchleyPark Veterans Elizabeth Diacon, Georgina Rose, Audrey Mather and Rena Stewart — who all worked to feed crucial information to Allied forces in the critical months, weeks and days leading up to D-Day during #WW2. pic.twitter.com/a5VF5OQUuy— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 14, 2019
Kate told them: “It’s so lovely that it’s been celebrated.
“My grandma never talked about it because she felt so protective.”
Kate also spoke with the veterans about “letting their hair down” after they had finished their shifts.
Kate, who last visited Bletchley Park in 2014, ended her visit after being presented with a bouquet by five-year-old Lawson Bischoff.
He described meeting the duchess as “the best” and added that he felt “happy” after she thanked him for her flowers.