The Duchess of Cambridge showcased her effortless rapport with children once again on Monday as she hosted a glittering reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 25th anniversary of youth mental health charity Place2Be. As she arrived at the event, Kate was greeted by excited youngsters from New North Academy in Islington and Salusbury Primary School in north-west London. The children were preparing to sing for the mother-of-three, joining musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to perform an original anthem for the Duchess. And Kate offered some words of encouragement ahead of their big performance.
Duchess Kate hosted a glittering reception for her patronage, Place2Be
"You've written it especially for tonight?" she said of the song. "Thank you so much! What a treat for me." Kate later wished two of the schoolchildren a happy birthday, joking that she should really be the one singing to them. She then revealed that Happy Birthday was "one of [Prince] Louis's favourite songs", before adding that her youngest child was "tucked up in bed" and not at the event.
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Mum-of-three Kate had a natural rapport with the school children
Kate looked exquisite on the night in a royal blue gown with embellishment detailing by Jenny Packham. She accessorised with a matching clutch bag and sparkling gold court heels. In a speech following the performance, she praised the children for all their work, adding that it was "quite a hard act to follow". She then spoke about the impact of the charity, which became one of the Duchess's first patronages in 2013, and aims to provide emotional support to young children and works in 639 schools across the UK.
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"You taught me, right from the start, that the children in your schools are only as happy and emotionally strong as the adults in their care," the mother-of-three said. "That is why you take such great pride in the work you do with your teachers and your parents. You taught me the importance of creating safe and nurturing environments within schools, embracing a holistic view of emotional wellbeing which permeates through the whole school system.
Kate is a vocal advocate for children's mental health
"You also taught me that it's the simplest things that make a difference to children. It's the quality time that is spent with them. It's the time you take to listen to them. It is trusting relationships that have the most profound impact on the emotional and mental wellbeing of a child."
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Kate has been a vocal advocate for children's mental health since becoming a member of the royal family, as well as for adults' addiction support and mental health services. In January, she launched the 5 Big Questions on the Under-Fives survey aimed at starting a national conversation on early childhood.
The Cambridges and the Sussexes arrive at the 2020 Commonwealth Service
Earlier on Monday, Kate joined her husband Prince William, the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Westminster Abbey. The event celebrating the Commonwealth was Harry and Meghan's last official appearance with members of the royal family before they step back from the monarchy.