Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are part of the Big Help Out.
On Monday, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s three children made a surprise appearance and joined their parents to volunteer at the 3rd Upton Scout Group in Slough — a special choice, as Princess Kate is joint President of the Scout Association.
The outing marked the first-ever official royal engagement for 5-year-old Prince Louis. While Prince William and Kate’s youngest child has joined them for family outings — such as Trooping the Colour, the annual Christmas church outing and Easter mass — this was his first time joining his parents on royal duty, according to the palace.
Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, joined the Scouts to renovate their Scout Hut, taking part in plating, sanding and painting.
Prince Louis was spotted shoveling dirt into a wheelbarrow and then moving it, while Prince George used some power tools for a project. Princess Charlotte looked busy and focused while painting.
Prince William climbed into the control seat of a large digger, with his children taking turns joining him.
There was also plenty of fun — members of the family taking turns shooting a bow and arrow, and they got a little messy by dipping their hands into paint and contributing their handprints to a wall.
Prince William, Princess Kate, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis also gathered around a fire to toast (and eat!) marshmallows. The scene was reminiscent of the video released in honor of Kate and William’s 10th wedding anniversary in 2021, showing the family at home enjoying outdoors activities, including sitting around a fire with the snack.
Matt Hyde, CEO of Scouts and co-founder of the Big Help Out, tells PEOPLE that the whole family “really got stuck in” — and added, “Louis led the way!”
“With the painting and the wheelbarrow full of sand and the mural, where he was getting his hands stuck in the paint and on the wall,” Hyde says.
When it came to the archery, Hyde says Princess Charlotte “hit the bullseye!”
“Both George and Louis were pretty keen shots as well, and the Princess is a pretty experienced archer as well by the look of it,” he continues. “It was lovely they had such a great time with people in Scouts as well — it’s what we do. We help other people, we have fun and learn skills.”
He also said the outing was “the best of scouting and volunteering. It showed that you can make a difference, you can help out, you can have fun as you do that and you can learn skills for life.”
The family’s volunteer work went towards the Big Help Out, a volunteering initiative uniting thousands of organizations to create community change. U.K. citizens were encouraged to use the May 8 bank holiday in honor of King Charles and Queen Camilla’s historic coronation to get involved with the Big Help Out on the day off.
Hyde says that the young people in attendance weren’t told about their special guests until 30 minutes ahead of their arrival.
“I don’t think they had time to process it,” he says. “At the end of the day, what was lovely was just to see them all mucking in together and, as young people, experiencing being young people and realizing that young people themselves can make such a difference in their local community.”
“Ultimately, part of what you need to be as a young person, is have fun,” he adds. “And it was lovely after a full-on weekend for all of them that they were able to have a bit of fun at the end of it.”
Prince William, 40, and Princess Kate, 41, have long taught their kids about the importance of giving back to the community, from delivering homemade meals to elderly neighbors during the coronavirus pandemic and participating “Clap for Carers” campaign for frontline workers.
Hyde adds he spoke to Kate “about just how important volunteering [is] to the country, and this comes at the end of the weekend where the defining word of the coronation service and the Prince’s speech last night was about service. And that memorable phrase from Justin Welby that appeared: ‘I come not be served but to serve.’ That’s what the Big Help Out’s all about, and that’s what Scouting’s all about, and hopefully other people have been inspired to volunteer today.”
It’s been a busy weekend for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
At King Charles and Queen Camilla’s crowning ceremony, Prince George served as one of his grandfather’s Pages of Honor. The moment was historic — he became the youngest future monarch to undertake an official role in a coronation.
Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis also joined their parents at the service, holding hands as they processed into Westminster Abbey to support their grandfather.
After the crowning ceremony and carriage processions — where Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis rode in a horse-drawn carriage! — the Wales family appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with the King and Queen.
The celebrations continued on Sunday, when Prince George and Princess Charlotte joined their parents and members of the royal family at the Coronation Concert. The kids sang and danced along to acts like Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and more. (Prince Louis stayed home for the nighttime event.)
Though Charles became King immediately upon the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth in September, his symbolic crowning significantly continued nearly a thousand years of royal tradition.
“Charles became King Charles the moment his mother died, but the coronation is to do with the job and being the monarch in the eyes of all the people,” royal historian Robert Lacey previously told PEOPLE.