On Thursday, Kate Middleton burnished her reputation as a lover of arts and crafts by helping children with hand-painting during a visit to the East Anglia Children’s Hospice. According to People, 8-year-old Willow Bamber painted the duchess’s hands as a part of an art project. When Bamber showed a bit of hesitation, Kate whispered, “Don’t be shy.”
Along with husband Prince William, Kate made the visit to EACH, her patronage since 2012, in order to mark Children’s Hospice Week, which raises awareness for children with disabling and potentially terminal conditions and the respite care their families depend on. She expressed the importance of the week in a Tuesday letter shared on EACH’s social media accounts.
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“For any parent, coming to terms with the news your child has a life-threatening condition and may die young is heart-breaking and incredibly frightening,” she wrote. “Families can often feel isolated, but having the support of a children’s hospice means they don’t have to face that future alone.”
The children’s hospice was opened with a visit from Princess Diana back in 1989, and it was one of Kate’s earliest patronages after marrying William in 2011. In March 2012, she gave her first speech as a member of the royal family at the hospice. In the years since, she has become increasingly involved with childhood and maternal mental health and has cited her experiences with her early patronages as part of her motivation.
In a statement, EACH’s CEO Phil Gormley praised Kate for her devotion to the organization. “In the last decade, she has been a wonderful Royal Patron,” he said. “Her interest and profile has projected our charity and the importance of children’s hospice services onto the national and international stage and it is appreciated by everyone at EACH. For all involved, it is a huge privilege, as much now as in January 2012.”
Before traveling to the Cambridgeshire hospice on Thursday, Kate and William spent some time with a very different type of painting. At the University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum they attended an unveiling for their first official portrait as a couple, which was painted by renowned artist Jamie Coreth, who visited their Kensington Palace home for multiple sittings.
According to the Mirror, William was stunned when he saw the painting for the first time. “It’s so big!” he said, before telling Coreth he thought it was amazing.
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