On the 19th of March 2012, The Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) visited the EACH Treehouse hospice in Ipswich.
EACH (East Anglia’s Children Hospices) supports families and cares for children with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. Kate is the charity’s Royal Patron.
During her visit, the Duchess toured the facilities and met with children and families who receive support and care from the charity.
Kate also made her first public address and then planted a tree in the grounds of The Treehouse hospice to commemorate the occasion.
The Palace informed the media that Kate spent hours with the charity before announcing herself as an official patron back in January. She has had a good look around the building and spent time getting to know the children. Her speech reflected this, and it paid tribute to the work of EACH – she described the charity as a ‘family’. Here are some quotes from the speech:
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. I had a pre-conceived idea about what to expect. Far from being a clinical, depressing place for sick children, it was a home.
I have seen again that the Treehouse is all about family and fun. For many, this is a home from home.
Prior to the event, Kate penned the following foreword for a brochure produced by the charity:
It is a tremendous privilege to be Royal Patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, and I feel truly honoured to be involved with this organisation. EACH is a world leader in the way it cares for children with life-threatening conditions and their families, and is at the very forefront of children’s palliative care.
I have been deeply moved by the work of EACH’s dedicated staff – and by the environment of support for families. For me, EACH provides services which demand an unerring and passionate level of understanding, knowledge and sensitivity. I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to be Royal Patron and I strongly encourage you to continue to support EACH’s invaluable work.
Interestingly, Kate’s mum Carole wore the same dress to Ascot in 2010.
During the event, palace aides told royal reporters that Kate wore her own dress. However, they didn’t confirm if Carole borrowed it or whether Kate owns the same garment:
Kate accessorised her blue Reiss dress with her black suede Episode Angel shoes.
She carried her Stuart Wiseman clutch bag in black suede too. (Pictured below in black suede and gold).
She also wore a silver cross necklace (ID unknown).
Her earrings are made from blue sapphire and match her engagement ring. It’s thought they are modified from a pair owned and worn by the late Princess Diana. (Shown below on a previous occasion.)
In some photos, you can see Kate wore an orange and purple bracelet. It was designed for EACH by Imogen Sheeran. The piece was available to purchase from the charity.