Lifestyle & Belief

Kate Middleton gives her first public speech (VIDEO)


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to officially open The Treehouse Children's Hospice on March 19, 2012 in Ipswich, England.


Ian Gavan

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, gave her first public speech on Monday at the opening of the Treehouse, a children's hospice in Ipswich, England, BBC News reported

Middleton, whose husband Prince William is on a six-week helicopter tour in the Falkland Islands, also toured the facilities, met with children at the hospice, and planted a tree, according to the BBC. 

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The soft-spoken Duchess, who was a little jittery at the beginning of her speech but quickly gained confidence, thanked the center for "making her feel so welcomed." 

"I'm only sorry that William can't be here today," Middleton said, cracking a smile. "He would love it here."

Many drew parallels between Diana, Princess of Wales, and her daughter-in-law, who both have a kind way with children, CNN International pointed out. Diana also supported the East Anglian Children's Hospices (EACH), the organization which runs the Treehouse. 

In her speech, which was less than three minutes long, Middleton said her first visit to an EACH hospice in Milton had challenged her preconceived notions.

"Far from being a clinical, depressing place for sick children, it was a home," said the Duchess, BBC reported. "Most importantly it was a family home... a place of fun." 

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“It was lovely,” said 6-year-old Tilly Jennings, one of the hospice's patients, of meeting Middleton, the Telegraph reported. “The Duchess was so friendly and approachable, and seemed really caring.”

Since Price William's deployment, Middleton has been stepping out on her own. She made her first major solo public appearance at the preview of the Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London last month, and visited the Irish Guards on St. Patrick's day to pass out shamrock sprigs, the Los Angeles Times reported

The newlywed royals will celebrate their first anniversary on April 29, according to the Hollywood Reporter

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