Kate shows her creative side during visit to children's hospital

28 January 2020, 14:32 | Updated: 28 January 2020, 16:08

The Duchess of Cambridge greets nine-year-old Anna-Victoria
The Duchess of Cambridge greets nine-year-old Anna-Victoria. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The Duchess of Cambridge has shown off her arts and crafts skills during a visit to a children's hospital in London.

Kate is patron of the Evelina London Children's Hospital and holds the same role with the National Portrait Gallery, which is running the activity at the hospital.

The National Portrait Gallery works in close collaboration with play specialists at Evelina London to take artists into the hospital to deliver workshops to children of all ages, along with their siblings and parents.

As Kate arrived, a gust of wind threatened to cause a wardrobe malfunction, but she soon gathered her D&G skirt and greeted nine-year-old Anna-Victoria, who has Achondroplasia.

The youngster looked thrilled to take centre stage as she handed the Duchess a small bunch of flowers.

Kate showed off her creative side as she made figures for a small stage in the hospital
Kate showed off her creative side as she made figures for a small stage in the hospital. Picture: PA
Anna-Victoria took centre stage as she greeted the Duchess
Anna-Victoria took centre stage as she greeted the Duchess. Picture: PA
One youngster snapped a picture with a polaroid camera
One youngster snapped a picture with a polaroid camera. Picture: PA

The duchess went on a walkabout in the hospital's reception after she arrived, meeting dozens of staff, patients and their families as she made her way to the workshop.

She later joined a group of children at a table helping to make paper characters for a tiny theatre complete with a stage.

The duchess was at the hospital to learn how the creative arts support children's health, wellbeing and happiness.

But it wasn't long until she was quizzed about the length of time it took the Duke of Cambridge to propose.

William asked Kate to marry him after the couple had been dating for around eight years - asking her to be his wife in the romantic setting of Kenya.

Sarah Ibendahl brought up the subject and sympathised with the duchess, as it took her husband Ralph the same length of time before he asked her to tie the knot.

Luke Wheeler-Waddison, 10, looked thrilled with his efforts
Luke Wheeler-Waddison, 10, looked thrilled with his efforts. Picture: PA
Kate checked out Luke's handiwork with his sister at a polaroid with Savannah Wheeler-Waddison, 4
Kate checked out Luke's handiwork with his sister at a polaroid with Savannah Wheeler-Waddison, 4. Picture: PA

Kate met the mother during a visit to the Evelina London Children's Hospital in central London, to learn about the creative workshops run by the National Portrait Gallery for young patients and their siblings.

When she first arrived, the blustery wind threatened to whip up the skirt of her Dolce & Gabbana tweed suit, and she pulled a face of surprise as she held it down.

After a brief indoor walkabout meeting families in the hospital's reception, she sat down with children and art educators in the hospital's third-floor atrium, as they created characters for a paper stage using Polaroid photographs of themselves - and the royal posed for an instant picture.

Mrs Ibendahl, from Blackheath, south-east London - whose three-year-old son Benjamin is being treated for an auto-immune condition, said after meeting the duchess on a ward: "We also bonded over the fact it took our husbands like nine years before they asked us to marry them.

A gust of wind threatened a wardrobe malfunction
A gust of wind threatened a wardrobe malfunction. Picture: PA
Kate showed off her arty side with the activities
Kate showed off her arty side with the activities. Picture: PA

"When I mentioned it she laughed politely and gave a knowing smile."

William and Kate met as students at St Andrews University in 2001 but did not start dating until a few years later - and the duke proposed to his then girlfriend in October 2010, with the couple marrying the following year.

Mrs Ibendahl explained how her son had a slight cold which developed into an auto-immune disease, which has meant he has lost the use of his legs.

She said: "He's having ongoing treatment, it takes them a while to stop the pain, stop the disease progressing and for them to remember how to walk.

"Almost everyone makes a full recovery, it just takes time."

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