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Kate Middleton brought joy and laughter to a Hampshire children's hospice on Monday, a visit which coincided with her second wedding anniversary to Prince William.
The engagement will have struck a chord with the pregnant royal who is expecting her baby in July. She was noticeably touched as she was presented with a handmade gift from the children at the hospice.
Given that second wedding anniversaries are traditionally associated with cotton, the youngsters followed this theme and created a framed picture of a caterpillar from famous children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The touching gift was made from felt and cotton and featured fingerprints of the children at the hospice.
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The hospice's cause is one that is close to the duchess's heart as Patron of East Anglia Children's Hospices. She is recognised for her innate ability to handle the delicate task of interacting with terminally ill children. Often referred to as the 'Children's Princess', her capacity to strike up a warm rapport with the young people she meets consistently shines through.
At the end of her visit, the mum-to-be was delighted to receive a bunch of white posies from eight-year-old Sally Evans who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy.
Kate told Sally that the flowers reminded her of her wedding day bouquet and the pair had a brief conversation before Kate stepped inside Naomi House hospice.
The pregnant royal spoke to the hospice's greatly-valued volunteers, patients' families and supporters at the hospice in Sutton Scotney near Winchester. The Duchess of Cambridge joined brothers and sisters of patients for a tea party exactly two years after her wedding at Westminster Abbey.
She revealed that her husband was on shift on the Isle of Anglesey, where he works as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, so they would not be spending their anniversary together.
Kate dressed her blossoming baby bump for spring in a chic nude number made by her personal dressmaker which she teamed with an elegant peach coloured coat by Paris-based designer Tara Jarmon. The £380 cotton twill coat was the perfect choice to keep the chilly breeze at bay.
The fashion-forward duchess finished her look with her trademark nude heels and carried her essentials in a sleek, matching clutch bag. Her tumbling brunette tresses were worn in loose curls.
Prince William's wife toured the hydrotherapy pool, children's bedrooms and gardens. She is no stranger to the hospice, having visited privately in 2008.
The duchess heard a musical performance from Ollie Wade, whose brother Ben passed away at the hospice in 2011.
The self-penned track that the youngster performed is called Free and proceeds from the song, which is available to buy on iTunes, will go towards Naomi House.
Kate's visit and the release of Ollie's tune coincide with Children's Hospice Week which runs from 26 April to 3 May. The focus of this year's awareness week is the support offered to brothers and sisters of life-limited and life-threatened children receiving care at hospices.
The 31-year-old recently recorded her first-ever video message in support of Children's Hospice Week in which she made a heartfelt appeal for public support.
During Kate's first public visit at Ipswich's Treehouse Hospice last March, the duchess described the care that hospices provide as a "lifeline" to families.
"The feelings you inspire, feelings of love and hope offer a chance to families to live a life they never thought possible," she said.
The homely hospice, which provides support for patients with life-limiting conditions and their families, was opened by her father-in-law Prince Charles in 1997.
"We are delighted that Her Royal Highness has chosen Naomi House to visit at the start of Children’s Hospice Week," said Professor Khalid Aziz, Chairman at Naomi House. "Her presence will provide a real boost for our families, our volunteers and all of our dedicated staff who will be thrilled to meet her."
Twitter was aflutter ahead of the expectant royal's visit. Volunteer hospice worker @StephenLegz tweeted on Sunday, "The Duchess of Cambridge is visiting Naomi House tomorrow, the kids are uber excited & I'm mega proud to be invited to be there with them :)"
Local MP Steve Brine tweeted "Very exciting day ahead as we welcome Duchess of Cambridge to @naomiandjack this afternoon. My Emily very excited Dad is mtg a real princess".
Kate became Royal Patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices in January 2012.
The project also has associations with her family. The Middleton clan's business, Party Pieces, previously hosted a Christmas party for the children at the hospice.
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