The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, travelled to Staffordshire and the West Midlands to carry out a double engagement on Wednesday. Ever the gracious royal, Kate let her maternal side shine through as she made the visit in honour of two charities – the East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) and Action for Children.
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Kate, who is seven months pregnant with her and Prince William's second baby, covered up her growing bump in an oversized blue coat as she arrived for her first engagement in Stoke-on-Trent. The royal, who beamed as she got out of the car and waved to crowds waiting in the sunshine, had swept half of her brunette locks up into a chic style, showing off her pretty face.
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The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, was given a grand royal welcome by Emma Bridgewater (left)
The Duchess was touring the Emma Bridgewater factory, where she was able to see up close and personal how the earthenware products are made and decorated.
The pottery company have produced a new range of mugs specifically for EACH, to help raise money for one of its local hospices The Nook, which the charity calls "a sheltered spot" and "a safe place" in the heart of Norfolk.
As Kate, 33, admired the ladybird-printed crockery, she chatted to staff who worked at the factory as well as volunteers and children from EACH's local centre the Donna Louise Hospice.
Kate tried her hand at pottery painting, with staff commenting that she was 'a natural'
The royal was presented with a beautiful gift from one kind teenager Chloe, who gave Kate a painting of the Lake District she had done herself. The sixteen-year-old is just one of the young people being supported by the Donna Louise Hospice.
The Duchess then had a go at painting some of the pottery herself, carefully printing colourful butterflies on each mug, as well as taking part in a ceramic painting workship with young children and their parents.
Kate unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit to the Emma Bridgewater factory
Kate, who holds a degree in history of art from the University of St Andrews, has been a royal patron of EACH since 2012, and in the past few years has paid various visits to different hospices around the UK.
Her second engagement of the day took the Duchess, by helicopter, to nearby Smethwick in the West Midlands, where she visited one of Action for Children's facility – the Cape Hill Children's Centre.
Kate was happy to play with the children at the Action for Children facility
The highlight of her visit, however, was taking part in a play session with the children and parents who use the Cape Hill Children's Centre.
A young girl grabbed the opportunity to high-five Kate as she sat next to her, while the royal also sang along to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with the group, before later reportedly telling nearby parents, "George would have loved this".
Kate took the time to paint with the children who are offered support through the charity
Kate was given an introduction to the charity, which helps the most vulnerable and neglected children and adults in the country. It offers a range of programmes including health services, speech and language therapy, family learning and childcare, and adult employment advice.
Guided around the centre by chief executive Tony Hawkhead, chair of trustees John O'Brien and operational director Jan Stoll, Kate met parents and children who are supported by the charity, as well as staff and volunteers who work for them, and she took part in a roundtable discussion where she learnt about how families have benefitted from Action for Children's services.