The royal mom, 38, was talking to Holocaust survivor Mala Tribich at the reception, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, after the deeply moving ceremony.
“We were talking to the children about it earlier today,” Kate told Tribich, who inquired about the royal’s family.
“But we have to be, you know, for a 6-year-old… the interpretation,” the royal added, suggesting she had to choose her words carefully to explain the mass murder of six million Jews by the Nazis to Prince George, the oldest of their three children. The royal couple are also parents to Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 20 months.
At the service, William and Kate met 12 survivors of genocide, including those persecuted by the Nazis and others from Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia and Darfur. The royal couple also joined survivors in the lighting of six candles on stage, which represent the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.
Among the survivors on stage was Yvonne Bernstein, 82, who was one of those featured in striking portraits recently taken by Kate. After six candles were lit, William and a visibly moved Kate lit their own candle before turning and solemnly leaving the stage to rejoin the congregation floor and to start a chain of candle lighting.
“It was so emotional, so many moving stories,” Kate told a group of people at the reception, including Tribich, who was one of the people who spoke on stage to recount her survival story at Bergen-Belsen.
“You were fantastic,” the mother of three continued, as she put a hand on Tribich’s arm before asking how she recites her story to schoolchildren. “Do your experiences resonate with them? Do they feel they can do something for their generation?”
The royal added, “So many families are totally torn apart by the trauma and how that plays out over the generations.”
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Speaking with reporters later, Tribich, 89, explained how her exchange with Kate unfolded.
“I said I speak about it in schools and she was asking what impact it has. It brings them closer to the history,” Tribich said. “I told her I follow her and her lovely children in the news and she said ‘I have told the children’. They have made them aware of it (the Holocaust). I suppose she tells it in the measure that it’s applicable to that age.”
When William and Kate arrived at the poignant ceremony, the two were greeted by Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Sir Ben Helfgott, honorary president and a prominent Holocaust survivor. William told them, “We were talking this morning about how you carry on this message for future generations. We will do our best.”
William’s father, Prince Charles, delivered a powerful speech at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, on Thursday, while Charles’ wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall represented Queen Elizabeth at the service being held at Auschwitz on Monday.