More from Simon Perry’s People story:
Kate was in full mom mode — asking student Poppy Parslow-Williams, “Are you cold?” and rubbing his arm after seeing him shiver.
“It was amazing. I shook her hand!” he told reporters.
Niamh Bell, 11, added, “She was very kind. Even though she didn’t have a lot of time she still came to talk to us.”
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) November 15, 2019
Her mother Deborah Alford, 44, said Isabella’s health had deteriorated in the last 18 months, meaning she now struggles with breathing when sitting in a wheelchair and must lie on a bed instead.
“She (Kate) asked if Isabella could hear and if she could see, and I explained that Isabella could see just in front of her,” said Mrs Alford. “She came to her eye level so that Isabella could see her and there was good eye contact. She (Isabella) moved her eyes to look directly at her.
Kate saw the hospice’s new sensory room.
It looks like they might have been making gingerbread houses!
She heard directly from families about ways EACH services helped them. More from Rebecca English’s Daily Mail story:
The Duchess of Cambridge spent the afternoon meeting some of the families who benefit from the many services it offers, including those with very sick children and others whose children have died, asking about the care they receive.
She was then reunited with Leigh Smith, 38, who moved her to tears when they met in 2014 – when the royal first attended the launch of The Nook – just months after Ms Smith had lost her three-month-old daughter Beatrice to a rare heart condition.
Below, Leigh and her daughter Beatrice in a photo shared by EACH at the 2014 Nook fundraising launch.
Back to Rebecca’s story:
Ms Smith said after their private meeting: ‘She told me, “I don’t know how you did that, how you got through it.”
‘It was really lovely to see her again and she gave me a big hug.
‘She asked me if I felt that what we had gone through was still a difficult subject to discuss in the wider community and I told her that yes, death is still a big taboo, especially children’s death.
‘But I told her how important her role has been in breaking down that taboo, and mental health generally, normalising it and making it easier to talk about such things.
Back in 2014, Rebecca reported that Leigh had written the Duchess a letter after Beatrice’s death, and she received a personal reply from Kate.
EACH reports that after meeting children and families today, Kate “remarked that the visit had “reinforced for me what the heart is of the work you’re doing here – and that is family.”
Kate delivered remarks at today’s engagement. She applauded everyone involved with the project before speaking.
Here’s a quick video from the Palace.
“You have created here at The Nook a nurturing, caring environment that allows families who are going through the unimaginable the ability to spend precious quality time with each other.” — The Duchess of Cambridge @EACH_hospices pic.twitter.com/CTsZCPtnHp
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 15, 2019
You have created here at The Nook a nurturing, caring environment that allows families who are going through the unimaginable the ability to spend precious quality time with each other, comforted in the knowledge that their children are being looked after in the best possible way.
…the charity’s outgoing Chief Executive Graham Butland shared with T&C how the duchess has been keen to be kept informed. “She was very keen to have regular updates as to how the building was going,” he said.
Graham also noted how Kate has visited some of the families that the charity helps in their own homes as she continues her support behind the scenes. “She’s also made private visits to the hospice. She’s visited at least a couple of families in their own homes, all without publicity, not known etcetera,” he said.
After a five-year public appeal to raise £10 million and almost two years of building, EACH welcomed the first child to receive care at The Nook on Monday, 30 September.
Here is a very quick time-lapse of the Nook under construction.
Kate had helpers for the unveiling of a plaque marking today’s event.
There are still some items needed at The Nook, and you can help purchase them through the Shop for the Nook site.
You can buy things like tea towels, mattress protectors, dishes, and other items here.
You can also buy a brick to support the Nook.
On a personal note, one of the very nicest things about this story is the contribution to EACH made through the Baby Cambridge Fundraiser held in 2013. The Fundraiser was a joint effort of five online royal fashion and news bloggers: British Royals, Kate Middleton Style, HRH Duchess Kate, A Petite Princess, and WKW. It was named “Baby Cambridge” because at the time we did the fundraising Kate was expecting Prince George. Ultimately we surpassed our goal.
In its news release about today’s event, EACH noted that “This momentous year, our hospice in Milton, Cambridgeshire, opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, has celebrated its 30th anniversary whilst it has also marked 20 years since it started delivering care and support in Suffolk and East Essex.” Below, Diana at that August 1989 Milton hospice opening.
More from a Cambridge Independent story:
EACH in its current form was established in 1998, when the hospice in Milton merged with one in Quidenham, Norfolk, that had opened in 1991.
Both realised it would be easier to achieve their objectives as one and coming together then meant EACH had, probably, amassed more experience in children’s palliative care than any other organisation in the world.
At the time, it was one of only four children’s hospices in the world. Below, an early view of the Milton hospice.
Here is an EACH newsletter covering Princess Anne’s visit to the Milton hospice in 2003 when she officially opened the facility’s new education center.
There was a big thumbs-up from the Duchess as she left today.
I think it wasn’t just for the new facility, staff, and services, but also for the culmination of five years of work by so very many people.
Now for our look at what Kate wore.
The Oscar de la Renta suit is from the Fall 2015 collection, crafted of a stretch wool boucle. Below, the pieces as seen on the runway.
From our initial description of the jacket: the three-quarter sleeve tailored jacket (originally $2190) features a fitted bodice with a pleated, flared hem. There are dual front besom pockets, a pointed collar, and slits at the end of the sleeves. This piece also has multiple panels and seams below the yoke on the back and the pockets on the front.
The skirt (originally $1290) has box pleats and a hidden back zipper. Here is a closer look at the nubby texture of that fabric, a wool/poly blend with a touch of elastane for ease of movement.
We saw the return of the clutch that was part of the Aspinal/Beulah London handbag collaboration. 25% of the profits from each bag sold were donated to the UN’s Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking.
Kate brought back her Gianvito Rossi ‘Piper’ suede pumps ($695).
The Duchess wore her Catherine Zoraida ‘Fern hoop’ earrings.
One more photo of the Duchess, this one as she was leaving The Nook.
Here is coverage from the Royal Family Channel.
The Telegraph offers just a bit more than one minute of coverage in this piece.
This 5-minute video from EACH explains the need for The Nook.
- Visit the EACH website here, follow the organization on Facebook here, here on Instagram; or here on Twitter
- The Nook Appeal website pages are here; the Nook Appeal Facebook page is here; the Nook Appeal Twitter feed is here
- See the full video about the Nook by clicking here; you can read the entire history of the Milton hospice here on the EACH site
- The Mirror’s coverage is here; Rebecca English’s Daily Mail piece is here; a Hello article is here; Victoria Murphy’s Town and Country piece is here
- Simon Perry’s story for People about today’s event is here; Simon also did a perspective piece for People on Kate’s connection to the children’s hospice field that can be seen here; the Cambridge Independent backgrounder about EACH and the hospice movement quoted above is here
- Tamara Abraham’s fashion column for The Telegraph is here; PopSugar’s gallery is here;