Royals

Duchess Kate visits WWII codebreaking site where grandmother worked

June 18, 2014 at 12:54 PM ET

BLETCHLEY, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 18:  Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge listens to a morse code message using a replica radio during a tour the of the r...
WPA Pool / Getty Images
The Duchess Of Cambridge listens to a morse code message using a replica radio during a tour the of the restored WWII Codebreaking Huts at Bletchley Park.

The Duchess of Cambridge tried her hand at intercepting radio messages during a visit Wednesday to Bletchley Park, the newly restored code-breaking facility where her grandmother worked during World War II.

Donning a pair of headphones, Duchess Kate, 32, listened to Morse coded signals on a replica radio at a museum she helped open inside the Victorian mansion, located in southern England.

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes in southern England June 18, 2014. The Duchess of Cambridge vis...
TOBY MELVILLE / Reuters
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Bletchley Park, the recently restored site where British codebreakers worked during World War II to decipher encrypted messages sent by the Germans.
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) meets Bletchley veterans Peggy Huntington, Joan Joslin Iris King and Alma Wightman during a visit to Ble...
EDDIEMULHOLLAND / AFP - Getty Images
Duchess Kate meets Bletchley veterans Peggy Huntington, Joan Joslin Iris King and Alma Wightman during a visit to Bletchley Park, to mark the completion of the year-long restoration project.

During World War II, British cryptographers deciphered top-secret military communications between enemy forces at Bletchley Park. Kate’s paternal grandmother, Valerie Glassborow — as she was known before marrying Kate's grandfather, Peter Middleton — worked as a civilian staff member at the facility along with her twin sister, Mary. 

During her visit, the royal met with Lady Marion Body, 90, who worked with both sisters at the facility’s Hut 16, home to a team of codebreakers credited for deciphering Germany military messages sent using the Enigma machine. Their work is believed to have helped shortened the length of the war by at least two years and, ultimately, lead to victory.

BLETCHLEY, ENGLAND - JUNE 18:  Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets the crowd during an official visit to Bletchley Park on June 18, 2014 in Bletchle...
Danny E. Martindale / Getty Images
The Duchess of Cambridge wore an Alexander McQueen outfit, recycled from 2011, during her visit to Bletchley Park.

Lady Body and other former codebreakers toured the facility's newly-renovated buildings with Duchess Kate, who dressed in a navy pencil skirt with gold button detailing and a matching white blouse, an Alexander McQueen outfit she recycled from an official event in 2011. 

Bletchley Park recently completed a major restoration project that began in 2012 and cost more than $13.5 million.

UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 22:  This shows the registration room in hut 6 at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire. Bletchley Park was the British forces' int...
Bletchley Park Trust / SSPL via Getty Images
This shows the registration room in Hut 6 (formerly Hut 16) at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, the British forces' intelligence centre during WWII, where cryptographers deciphered top-secret military communiques between Hitler and his armed forces.
Queen Elizabeth II Holds Garden Party At Buckingham Palace
Wpa Pool
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, as she is now known, wears everything from fancy hats to casual tank tops. See how Prince William's wife can easily go from a high society affair to shopping on the streets of London.


TOP