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Children's Hospice Week: Kate's Commitment

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It is Children's Hospice Week in the United Kingdom. As we touched on in the last post, Kate issued a brief letter of support, highlighting this campaign's hashtag/tagline: #MakeMomentsCount. The Duchess has certainly poured a lot of energy into hospice work, and I thought it might be nice to look back at some of her activity over the years.


It was no accident that Kate marked what was a significant milestone--her first public speech--at EACH's children's hospice, Treehouse. Her brief remarks garnered a lot of excitement and attention, and she used that publicity to shine the light directly on a charity and cause close to her heart:



As is the case everywhere Kate goes, there were children desperately excited to meet the princess:
Tilly Jennings, a six-year-old from Felixstowe born with a rare condition that means only half of her heart functions properly. Doctors told her family she wouldn’t live longer than a week when she was born. She also suffered brain damage from a stroke in 2007 but has defied medical opinion with her survival. Tilly presented a posy of flowers to the duchess, and her mother Jeanette said her wish had always been to meet a princess. She said: “She’s so excited about meeting the Duchess of Cambridge, she’s carrying a picture of her wherever she goes.”
Kate again chose a children's hospice to when she gave her first overseas speech at Hospis Malaysia.



The first tour that Kate and William undertook together--Canada in 2011--was a unique trip during which time Kate was still slipping into her royal duties, and she had yet to make any charity choices. But, on both the two tours since, Kate has incorporated hospices into her schedule. In Southeast Asia once, and twice Down Under.


In New Zealand, while William was touring a plane factory, Kate made a stop at the Rainbow Hospice for a tea party. I love this photo of her, natural and relaxed, as she interacts with some of the patients, her foot slipping out of her shoe. 


When the Cambridges arrived in Australia, Kate made another speech at the Bear Cottage hospice.  William looking on with pride in his wife's obvious empathy and love is one of my favorite "Wills & Kate Moments." She really has blossomed as a royal, as he confidently promised during their engagement interview that she would. 


Usually, when home in the UK, Kate makes these appearances solo. It is special to see William join her, as he did in Malaysia and again here in Australia.

Bear Cottage Facebook
At home, Kate has put her time in, too. Everyone knows that I think this was a...fashion Chernobyl, but as an engagement in which Kate brought her warmth and her joy, it was one of her best. Kate visited the Shooting Star Hospice in December of 2013 and she wished one of the precocious little ones a Happy Christmas. The sensible child remarked that it was not yet Christmas, to which Kate responded, well bye then. She wasn't left off the hook, though, as Demi Leigh-Armstrong requested and received a hug from the Duchess:


I think everyone, royal or "commoner", has to examine his or her talents to determine where to focus that energy. Kate really, really shines in what is a very difficult area. Palliative care carries a burden of senseless tragedy, and yet, so much happiness is needed, since these children are young and naturally filled with exuberance. It is very inspiring to see what an impact the Duchess of Cambridge has on the children and their families. She is a real bright light and beautiful blessing. If you'd like to explore more of her work in hospices, Children's Hospice Week is currently being feature on Kate's Clothes, and there are several special links that will allow you to explore her engagements in this important niche.


34 comments:

  1. I just had been reading about her Hospice work on Kate's Clothes.Thank-you for this, Jane-it is thoughtful and well-written.
    By the way- I enjoyed the little peep of the green Susannah tea dress under the green - Erdem, is it? One of my favorites. mk

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    1. Yes! That Erdem got mixed reviews, but I liked it. It is an unusual style, but it is nice to have a change of pace. I am still waiting to see the Susannah fully, but I am not sure that will happen. We may have to content ourselves with George's 1st birthday photos.

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  2. Sonja from BavariaMay 14, 2015 at 3:45 AM

    What a great post, Jane! That's why I love your blog so much.... I've also read about Kate and Children's hospices on Kate's Clothes and enjoyed it very much.

    You're such a talented writer and this is a difficult subject. I love that Kate jas found something close to her heart (just like William and wildlife conservation or Harry and the Invictious games). It's a very important matter and I love that Kate is so involved. It must be hard for her sometimes, thinking that these little children don't have much time left... especially now that she's got George and Charlotte.

    A happy holiday everyone, I hope you enjoy sleeping long :)

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    1. Thank you, Sonja! I think Kate teared-up when she appeared for EACH's capital campaign in Norfolk, and I *think* she said she was imagining if George were ill, and how heartbreaking it would be. Certainly as a mother, she can be even more empathetic!

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  3. One wish that I have for Kate (and her future as a royal) is to get more comfortable public speaking. I've noticed that her speeches seem to be a bit impersonal...full of platitudes rather than personal experiences. I think it would be so powerful if she mentioned children and families she'd met or told her own stories about why she values this cause so strongly. Narratives are so helpful to an audience, and incorporating this presentation technique would strengthen her already powerful contribution. She is very polished but it doesn't feel like she is connecting to the audience, but rather, is reading a script. I mention this particularly because it seems at odds with her amazing ability to connect during walkabouts; she clearly shines in these one to one interactions. Although, perhaps her presentation style is more in line with the British approach and the more personal style is in line with (my own) American style...

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    1. I am with you and couldn't have stated it better. I really felt this strongly after her first speech, although in fairness, it was her FIRST. I think she has improved remarkable. The last video she recorded was so, so much better than the first EACH speech. Still, I agree that it doesn't have the zing her personal interactions do. I think the camera really changes how people come across. It's weird, but how you interact with the lens is so much different than how you interact with a human being. I suspect she will continue to improve. It will be interesting to compare a speech a year from now, to her recent mental health video.

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    2. Anon 11:04
      I think it would be a little difficult to talk of children and families she had met,; it might be considered a breech of confidence.
      )MO she will improve as she does more of these visits and learns more about their work--to be fair over the last two and a half years she has been pregnant or looking after the children, so will probably need to get her confidence back when she starts engagements again.

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    3. You may have a point, Jean, about the confidential aspect of her work. I have worked in a similar situation and have shared what I felt were meaningful stories, without revealing specifics. I do believe it can be done descreetly .If necessary, the families involved could be consulted to give their approval. Apparently she already makes
      remarks to family members privately about George, as does William.
      She has been rather occupied with nesting, hasn't she? I do feel her role as a mother and as a support to William in the home is a primary role for her at this time.
      I would like to applaud anon 11:04 for a kindly-worded critique of Catherine's speech-making. Jane also made
      some valid observations . mk

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  4. I think often the world gets to caught up with what Kate wears and how she is styling her hair. I think we should pay closer attention to what kind of woman, mother, and person she is. I loved how Diana always was so in touch (?) with the public and those who were suffering. She truly made a difference, and I hope Kate follows in her path, so to say. Great post, Jane! Sara Marie

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  5. We live in a very different world than we did when Diana was a young mother. Our expectations due to social media and instant reporting creates an environment and appetite for personal information that is almost impossible to satisfy. So many people compare Kate to Princess Mary or Queen Letizia. Apart from the obvious fact that one is already Queen and the other not far off, both of these remarkable ladies are at least 10 years older than our Duchess and have at least 10 years more experience at royal life. I’m certain that Princess Mary did far less when her children were infants and toddlers than she does now. She has grown into her position, as has Queen Letizia. Why are we so critical of Kate’s performance and why do we compare them at all? I just don’t understand that. Why not give her the time she needs to blossom and grow, both as a mother and as a royal? Camila has been married to Charles for more than 10 years now and I don’t recall her ever giving an interview (I could be wrong, but I’ve never seen one). She probably gives a few speeches, with hardly any world attention, but I don’t recall any of them. I truly believe that William has a plan for the kind of King he wants to be, but it isn’t his place yet to be too aggressive in putting that plan into action. He’s only started giving speeches and a few interviews himself in recent years. Harry as well. Why are we in such a hurry? Kate is being groomed in ways that Diana could only dream of. Diana had so many problems and they were played out in public to her detriment and the detriment of the BRF. She had eating disorders and mental health issues. She lived with the knowledge that her prince loved someone else and she was second (and acceptable) choice. No one wants any of that for Kate. She is older, educated, and secure in her husband’s love and support. Perhaps the reason Diana was so much more engaged in her causes was because she was so unhappy personally. I’m glad that times have changed and the monarchy appears to be in good hands. Give William and Kate the space they need to put their modern stamp on it when their time comes. Just my thoughts on this. And thank you for this wonderful forum Jane.

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    1. Jane C-your remarks about Diana are a matter of history and well-said.
      I re-watched W&C's wedding recently. To be able to watch
      that beautiful ceremony, knowing that four years on, they are still a team and seem to be growing even closer-
      then to watch C&D's wedding, knowing how it ends...it is so sad; but the tragedy, for me, is eased now . There is still
      hope for a good future for the British monarchy, but especially there is hope for the future of the family. If the Queen apparently chooses to give them this time and space, hopefully others will too. mk

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    2. Yes, I grew up with Diana and her death was devastating for me as it was for many others. But her legacy lives on in William, Harry and now George & Charlotte. She will never be forgotten, but hers was a different time and her circumstances were such that even she would not wish them on Kate or anyone else.

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    3. I agree with your comments, ladies. Well said. :)

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    4. Thank you Jane - C, so very well written and puts a lot of my thoughts into words. There are so many differences between Charles/Diana and William/Kate. I think the differences should reassure the people of the UK that the Monarchy is in good hands for it's future. I really hope that they are given time to raise George and Charlotte in a well rounded family that will further secure the Monarchy.

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  6. In time, Kate will improve in the speech department, but her sincerity and the ease with which she communicates with people is something you have...or not. And Kate has it. Just look at the faces around her........

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  7. Totally off topic, but I just watched a PBS documentary called The Queen's Gardens. About the gardens at Buck Palace. Unbelievable the history Of the gardens, the ecosystem that has evolved, and the care that is taken of them under the watchful eye of the Queen. For those gardens alone, I hope the Monarchy lives on for ever. Would hate to see that paradise paved for a parking lot - or a high rise! Watch it if you can. It really was fantastic.

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    1. Paradise indeed. The gardens are amazing. I agree. But I do wonder what Queen Victoria would think about the gift shop and other accommodations made for tourists visiting BP. :))

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    2. Jane in Canada, I watched the Queen's Garden documentary as well, and was fascinated. I had it saved on my DVR for further viewing, but alas, my DVR had to replaced and I lost my saved favorites. I think you can purchase this and other documentaries on PBS. I am going to look into this. Long live the Queen and her gardens!

      Nancy in Alabama

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  8. I just discovered this Blog , What a beautiful and positive blog. In this world where there is so much negativity it is good to see this.I think Catherine's speeches are fine, As with everything you do in life, it gets better the more you do it.

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    1. Hi Charlie...and AMEN. :)))

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    2. "Charlie"- short for Charlotte? I will look forward to your comments.
      I'm sure Catherine will do more speeches when it is appropriate.
      Each person has a
      talent.-for some, it is speech-making; for others, empathy and relating on an individual level. The Queen reads
      her speeches and rarely smiles. I think Catherine's emotions and caring about children and hospices may sometimes get in the way of speech delivery. And, of course, being judged harshly for every word that comes out
      of her mouth. People are still criticising her engagement remarks. I'd hate to have some of the remarks I made
      four or five years ago thrown in my face. mk

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    3. Welcome to Jane's blog Charlie. This is a joyful place with much acceptance that Jane has created. We are all the better for her great blog. Come back often, I will look forward to reading your comments!

      Nancy in Alabama

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  9. It's so touching to see Kate working with children and spending time with them at hospices. You can tell she is really devoted to this cause and isn't just doing it because it's her duty.

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  10. Having just viewed Kate's Malaysia speech again, I wonder what people found to criticise? She kept eye contact with the
    audience, her voice was pleasant, the content was good. What's not to like? My favorite part, though, was after the speech
    when she walked over to Will-(if we call her Kate, we should use his nickname also, but I prefer William and Catherine) The expression on his face-as though he
    was trying so hard not to burst with pride in her.

    Off the subject, but I have a question that will reveal how ignorant I am in blog 101: Also, possibly none of my business-
    does a blog rate advertising compensation based on number of "hits" to the site or number of commenters? Or either or
    both or neither?
    I would happily spend an afternoon "hitting" your blog ,if it meant better rates for this blog. Or commenting. I prefer to read,
    but I want to do what little I can to help. mk

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    1. I agree. I thought she did very well and William's pride in her speaks volumes, doesn't it?

      And I am not a pro in "Blog 101", but I too would be happy to click away!! :)

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    2. I really wonder if those who find her speeches lacking have actually viewed them. Also, I think being among the
      audience of those for which the speeches were intended, for live speeches, gives a different perspective.
      She was primarily focusing on the parents and volunteers. If the rest of us wanted to listen in, fine.
      I think she was nervous-obviously, her hands were shaking, but she kept her voice modulated and never
      stumbled.
      I would have liked to have seen the expressions on the faces in her audience. Their opinion is what counts for
      me.
      I guess lack of confidence is the new criticism disguised as sympathy.
      She is a new mother-many critics know better than to make out-right attacks at this time. ( wait until her first
      engagement;the gloves will come off)
      Meanwhile, William seems as good a substitute target as any, apparently. mk

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  11. Hello all, there only seems to be a fragment of Kate's 'Bear Cottage Hospice' speech online.

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  12. First, I must apologize to Nancy in Alabama, not because I have in any way insulted her--altho I might be on the brink of it now, but who knew that anyone from such an outrageous State was anything other than a rose in her husbands lapel? Sorry Nancy, but I still visualize you as a very pretty blonde, dressed to the nines, wearing uncomfortable, but glamorous high-heeled sandals even when you grocery shop. And don't get me started on Texans! They're as bad as Albertans!! Stereotypes have a lot to answer for.

    Second, to those who have commented on Kate's public speaking, I would point out that Kate had leading roles in drama, in her school (not to be confused with university) days, and given what little I have seen, via U-Tube, she made a fine job of it--however, altho I am sure it wasn't without pressure, she wasn't acting on a global stage nor was she trying to live up to her husband and his familys--or what she perceived as same--expectations. She was just Kate. Further, she has enormously improved over her four short years in Spotlight Hell, and, IMO, will continue to improve--with or without Williams backing--altho, like Diana, she might profit from a speech coach, to build her confidence. Lest we forget, she's a university grad; she got into a good undergrad university on her own merit, and she graduated on merit. Unlike some--actually most--of the BRF. (Having brains can sometimes be a detriment; it can lead to THINKING about all the what ifs. What Kate needs is a serious dose of self-confidence, something Royal children and aristocratic children learn from birth. IMO, of course. Oh, the comfort of money and societal position! And do remember that Kate was the first in her mothers line to obtain a degree.) Well, perhaps food for thought.

    Third, and I dislike having to repeat myself on a subject, it goes almost without saying that Kate and kids hospices were made for each other. Much like Harry, she has the golden touch, altho again, she could use a dose of self-confidence.( Isn't there a drink or a magic pill on the market that she could take?) Certainly, she would need to find a comfortable middle ground; as a future Queen (I can't wait!!!), somewhere between being as stiff-necked as the Queen or Princess Anne-- try to imagine either of these two comforting a dying child!-- and as loosey-goosey as Harry.

    IMO.

    JC

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    1. JC, your reference to stiff-necked and loosey goosey gave me a much needed laugh on this long and dreary Monday. :)) Thank you!

      You made some excellent points. Yes, Kate *has* come a long way and she will continue to improve as time goes by. I realize that some folks like to add the courtship years to her resume and suggest (rather strongly) that she should be better at this or that by now, but there is a world of difference between being in "Spotlight Hell" as Kate Middleton, private citizen vs. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Considering the big picture, her "time in" as a member of the royal family is a mere drop in the bucket at this point.

      Personally, I have never seen Kate as *lacking* in self confidence. She conducted herself quite well as William's girlfriend and she would never have been able to pull it off without confidence and inner strength. Just consider all the criticism and speculation she was up against for so many years...her parents and siblings included. Ugh!

      IMO, she views her role as that of a supportive spouse. For now, I suspect she will remain in a somewhat cautious mode as she continues to support William and works with a few of her own charities. But her primary focus will be on raising happy, well adjusted children and preparing them for their future roles as members of the RF (a very significant contribution for sure!!).

      Finally, there is something to be said for humility. If Kate came across like gangbusters, I suspect it would not be referred to as self confidence. ;)

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    2. Now now now JC let's not get started on Texans πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜¨ I happen to be one but now living in NY. Now we can get started on NY'ers if you like LOL.. Too funny! I promise I have no gun in my rear window and my hair has never seen a can of AquaNet hair spray ... just teasing. You sure made me laugh! Thank you for that on a Monday... a very long Monday
      ~ Nina

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    3. Nina, clearly, you aren't a Texan at heart. (No true Texan would be caught dead in a car; they prefer battered pick-up trucks. And you wouldn't be seated in the cab; you would be seated on a bag of grain in the open bed; you would be wearing cowboy boots, cowboy hat, blue jeans, and a plaid shirt. Your only accessory would be a rifle, casually slung across your knees.

      And now that you've had the good fortune to breathe in fresh sea air--well, suffice it to say that you are unfit to move back to Texas; you could be lynched!

      P.S. Very recently, Albertans voted out the Conservative Party, (right wing) which had been in power for some 40 years, and voted in the New Democratic Party (left wing.) At this rate, I may be forced to rewire my brain.

      JC

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    4. @JC I had to respond to your comments on what you perceive as my appearance, clothes etc. I am a very pretty blonde, but I do not dress to the nines and never wear high heeled sandals, especially to grocery shop!
      But, I do have very good manners, so I will not state on this blog what I visualize you as.

      Nancy in Alabama




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  13. You have a wonderfully unique way of saying things JC. I love it. A confidence pill. I don't think George is going to need one if he keeps on the way he appears to be so far. But Kate could use a dose. A small dose. Thanks for making me laugh on this Victoria Day weekend.

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  14. This is the most nervous I've seen Kate when talking in public:: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCkkuVih48c

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