- (PHOTO) Reuters/Paul Hackett
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were gifted with a Finish baby box by social security services from the country.
A colorful box made of cardboard and painted with a sky and trees was sent to Prince William and Kate Middleton in expectation of the couple's first child together. The baby box's are a famous attribute of Finland. The government sends out a "baby box" to every expecting mother, with gifts intended to suit a child for their first year of life. The tradition has been going on for more than 75 years.
The cardboard box doubles as a cot complete with a mattress and sheets. Inside is also eight different baby outfits ranging from summer to winter attire. Two of the outfits are especially for winter, one with a thick warm coating on the inside and a weatherproof layer on the outside. Other accessories include a bib, a baby beanie with ears, and other baby related items.
A spokesperson at Kensington Palace said Wednesday that the couple was "delighted" by their baby box. Speaking to the Associated Free Press, they agreed "it was a very thoughtful gesture and we're very grateful for it."
The famed Finnish boxes were given a makeover in 2011 during a contest held by the Aalto University School of Art and Design. Over 30 contestants entered. The winner was Sukupuu (Family tree) by Johanna Öst Häggblom. Still used today, parents are able to write the names of other family members on the box, adding to its function. The winner received a cash prize of 1,500 euros.
The Finish system has sent out maternity boxes since 1938. Beginning by sending the boxes only to low income mothers, by 1949 the boxes were being sent to all expecting mothers. The government hoped at the time, that by sending the box they could encourage mothers to get prenatal checkups according to the BBC. Today Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.