The expectant hush that descended over the Treehouse children's hospice preceded a monumental royal moment – the Duchess of Cambridge's first public address.
Slightly nervous but intently focused, Kate began a new chapter of her career with words several weeks in the writing, which she penned herself.
"First of all, I would like to a thank you all, not only for accepting me as patron, but for inviting me here today, " she began.
Then, warming up her audience, she quipped: "I am only sorry that William can't be here today, he would love it," a comment that drew laughs from her rapt crowd.
Garnering confidence, she continued by championing the good work done by the hospice.
"The Treehouse is all about family and fun. For many this is a home from home," she said.
"It's inspirational. It is a shining example of the support and care that is available not just here but up and down the country.
"The feelings you inspire - feelings of love and of hope - offer a chance to families to live a life they never thought could be possible.
"So thank you again for inviting me here today. I feel enormously proud to be part of East Anglia's Children's Hospices and to see the wonderful life-changing work that you do."
Stepping down from the podium after her address, Kate admitted: "I find doing speeches nerve-wracking".
But the poised delivery earned her thundering applause from the families, patients and hospice workers who had shared their guest's milestone moment.
Kate's savvy sartorial choice – an electric blue Trina dress by Reiss – was both eye-catching and demure. Her mother Carole owns an identical version which she wore to Ascot in 2010.
Reiss is the High Street label responsible for the trend-setting outfit she wore when she announced her engagement, and began her public life.
Her speech no doubt sent ripples of pride through the ranks of senior members of the royal family, who are accomplished public speakers and are said to have counselled their new relative ahead of her visit.
The polished performance is an indication of how much she has evolved in her role.
When interviewed in November 2011 during a visit to a UNICEF crisis centre in Copenhagen, the Duchess took her lead from William.
But with her husband away on RAF Search and Rescue duty in the Falklands, she has confidently stepped up to take the reigns.
Monday’s speech marked the opening of the £3 million Treehouse hospice and the beginning of a wonderful relationship with its glamorous patron.
The publicly funded facility provides care for terminally ill children and support for their loved ones.
As well as taking to the podium, Kate chatted warmly with residents, planted a tree in the hospital grounds, and took part in painting workshops with the youngsters.
She was presented with posies by Bethany Woods, ten, and six-year-old Tilly Jennings – both patients at the centre.
Once inside the hospice, Tilly's three-year-old sister piped up: "Hello Princess Kate, can you paint with me?"
And both siblings got to spend time with the "friendly and approachable" royal.
Tilly's mother Jeanette was left moved by the Duchess's empathy and "struggled to hold back the tears".
"It was lovely" she said of the visit. "The Duchess seemed really caring".
The Duchess of Cambridge's speech in full
"First of all, I'd like to say thank you. Thank you for not only accepting me as your Patron but thank you also for inviting me here today.
You have all made me feel so welcome and I feel hugely honoured to be here to see this wonderful centre. I am only sorry that William can't be here today; he would love it here. A view of his - that I share - is that through teamwork, so much can be achieved.
What you have all achieved here is extraordinary. You as a community have built the Treehouse; a group of people who have made every effort to support and help each other. When I first visited the Hospice in Milton, I had a pre-conceived idea as to what to expect.
Far from being a clinical, depressing place for sick children, it was a home. Most importantly, it was a family home, a happy place of stability, support and care. It was a place of fun.
Today I have seen again that the Treehouse is all about family and fun. For many, this is a home from home - a lifeline, enabling families to live as normally as possible, during a very precious period of time.
What you do is inspirational, it is a shining example of the support and the care that is delivered, not just here, but in the children's hospice movement at large, up and down the country.
The feelings you inspire - feelings of love and of hope - offer a chance to families to live a life they never thought could be possible.
So thank you again for inviting me here today. I feel enormously proud to be part of East Anglia's Children's Hospices and to see the wonderful life-changing work that you do. Thank you " .