Kate looked every bit the royal this morning as she undertook her first public speaking engagement. The morning’s activities centered on the formal opening of the Treehouse, a new addition to the EACH family (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices).
Kate chatting with people waiting to see her.
The Duchess as she approaches the proverbial tree-planting exercise.
She chose a dress that would not detract from the day’s events, an older frock by Reiss.
It is the ‘Trina’ dress, dating back to 2008. As Reiss noted on its website:
“…the Duchess of Cambridge chose to wear the Reiss Trina dress for her first public address at The Treehouse children’s hospice, Ipswich. The Trina dress is no longer available, but why not shop our favourite blue dresses from the spring/summer 12 collection.”
There is a lot going on with the dress: it is double-breasted with an elaborate, oversized collar, two features that could stand alone as design elements, but there are also scoop pockets at the hip and horizontally pieced fabric about 8 inches above the hem. The color could not have been better, and the length was ideal. Kate’s dress would have benefited by a touch of additional tailoring on the bodice, it seemed to hang loosely in certain photos. But in reality, it matters not at all, the children and new hospice were the focal points today, not Kate’s dress.
As noted by many, it is a dress also worn by Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, on a 2010 outing to Ascot. The consensus is that both Carole and Kate own their own version of the dress, as opposed to borrowing from each other.
Kate wore her black Episode ‘Angel’ shoes (hers are suede) and carried her trusty black bag.
The rest of the Duchess’s accessories were equally low key, she wore the sapphire and diamond earrings we believe were re-made for her from a pair of Princess Diana’s, and she had on the cross pendant we have seen on many previous occasions.
She also wore her Tiffany Diamonds by the Yard bracelet, as well as another piece of jewelry.
That is the fundraising bracelet from EACH on Kate’s other wrist, available for sale on the group’s website for £10, about $15 USD at today’s exchange rates. Color clash? Not at all, I don’t think there was a better style statement that could be made today. Below, two photos from the EACH website showing Kate wearing her bracelet.
UPDATE 3.20.12: We asked EACH about shipping the Bracelets to places outside the UK and heard good news: they will ship anywhere in the world, here is more from EACH:
We’ve had a lot of enquiries about the EACH bracelet which The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing yesterday. It is available to buy from our website and we can send it anywhere in the world.
Please be aware that these bracelets are individually hand-made in Suffolk – therefore your order may take a few weeks to reach you. We can send orders anywhere in the world – P&P will remain the same for all orders.
The total cost is only £10, that includes postage and processing, about $15.90 at today’s exchange rates. There is a great story behind the bracelet’s design, it was created for EACH by Imogen Sheeran, her son is a well-known musician, Ed Sheeran.
As mentioned above, the occasion was the formal opening of The Treehouse, a new children’s hospice in Ipswich.
Kate became Royal Patron of EACH in January following a visit to one of the organization’s hospices. Below we see “before” and “after” photos of the Treehouse.
Kate’s talk also went very well, she remained focused despite restless or uncomfortable children in the audience, no easy feat. According to ABC, she practiced before “family, friends and a mirror.” Below we share the entire text of her talk, something she wrote herself.
“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 honored to be here to see this wonderful center.
“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.”
To watch the BBC video and hear Kate’s speech, click here.
More on Kate’s speech from Ipswich radio station Town 102 FM:
Kate looked confident as she stood in front of staff and volunteers from a charity and paid tribute to their efforts helping children with life-threatening conditions.
The royal sounded a little apprehensive but nerves never got the better of her and she had clearly committed her speech to memory as she glanced at her notes only occasionally.
Fans were up and out early, more from the Eastern Daily Press:
Several people arrived at the scene early this morning, armed with their Union Jack flags, in the hope of catching a glimpse of Kate. Among the members of the public who turned out for the visit was five-year-old Tabby Cook and her mum Louise from Fressingfield.
Tabby said: I’m really excited. She is so pretty, I’m excited about seeing a princess.
There was plenty of entertainment for those waiting.
Following time with the children and a tour of the new building it was back outside for a walkabout.
And tree planting duties – what could be more apropos for a hospice named The Treehouse?
Kate also was given flowers, she obviously enjoyed chatting with everyone.
Learn more about EACH on its website, visit their Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter here. There is now a special fundraising effort to help celebrate the Treehouse opening and Kate’s visit, you can make a donation by clicking here.
At the wise suggestion of several WKW Facebook friends, we wanted to share resources for US-based children’s needs as well, always a good idea. Be advised the US children’s hospice movement is in its infancy, you may want to look at some of the links shown below, or do a search with your location and the term “children’s hospice” or “children’s medical research” if interested in becoming involved with a local organization.
- The Ronald McDonald House main site is here, its Facebook page is here.
- St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital is here, its wonderful gift shop is here, and its Facebook page is here.
- The Shriners Hospitals for Children website is here, you may click here for its Facebook page.
- California’s Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition is found here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Many thanks for the kind emails, I promise to have a new post up tomorrow about Saturday’s Emilia Wickstead look for the St. Patrick’s Day Irish Guards event. 🙂