This afternoon, Kate visited the Shooting Star House Children’s Hospice in Hampton, Middlesex. As a supporter of children’s palliative care, and her patronage with EACH, Kate’s visit to different children’s hospices around the country to learn more about their programs and bring attention to the cause.
Shooting Star Children’s Hospice cares for 650 young people and their parents as families cope with life-limiting illnesses. The care is completely free of charge. Their goal is to provide to support to the children and families in order to make the short lives more meaningful. According to Shooting Star’s website, they provide services such as planned short breaks for parents, day care, special activities, family support and therapy, end of life care and bereavement care.
Today, the Duchess of Cambridge visited the hospice to tour the facilities, view a music therapy session, meet with families and enjoy a tea party. The event sounds remarkably similar to her visit to Naomi House this past April, which was a great success and very fun engagement. Kate’s dedication to children’s palliative care is evident during these events. She truly enjoys these visits, as evident by her wide smile and warmth.
Kate arrived in Hampton shortly before 3PM to the cheers and excitement of children, staff and volunteers. She spent some time meeting with the staff of Shooting Star before touring the facilities. The hospice boasts a sensory garden, a high-tech music room with fibre optics, mirrors, and lights, and a hydrotherapy pool.
Then, Kate took part in a music therapy session. Music therapy is a popular type of therapy for palliative care, providing stress release, relaxation, and a bit of fun for children and families. To everyone’s joy and surprise, she took part in the sing-a-long, using a bright green frog puppet as she participated. George must have her practicing her children’s songs, because she looked like an absolute natural!
On a more somber note, Kate met with parents who have recently lost two children. Their son, 5-years-old, died on October 18 and their 1-year-old daughter died on December 3. Both children suffered from spinal muscular atrophy. The loss these parents experienced is unimaginable. The Shooting Star House offers bereavement care for as long as a family needs. Meeting with Kate, discussing the loss and the care of Shooting Star House was undoubtedly an uplifting experience, even during such a sad time.
Afterwards, Kate attended a tea party with children and their families. It must have been an absolutely thrilling experience for the children, their siblings, and even mum and dad! Kate chatted with the party guests over tea and cookies. One of the parents at the event said “Kate was so sweet, absolutely lovely and she really puts you at ease because obviously you are a little tense to meet someone so important. She was down to earth but had a real aura about her. She asked me about my boys and how we use Shooting Star CHASE and I told her how they like messy play. She said she has just introduced George to messy play and what fun it was.”
During the party, CEO David Burland gave a small speech:
“We are honoured to have welcomed Her Royal Highness to Shooting Star Hospices. The Duchess is a committed supporter of children’s hospices and showed great knowledge about our vital work supporting children with life-limiting conditions and their families. She took the time to speak to families, volunteers & staff to learn more about the impact of our work & the wider palliative care network.”
Today, Kate wore the grey “Delaney” coat by Reiss, a new coat from their latest collection. She paired it with velvet J. Brand skinny pants tucked into wedge booties. The adorable wedge booties are the Aquatalia “Neptune” bootie, also known as the Russell and Bromley New-Dry style. The suede weather-proof ankle boots are lined with rabbit fur making them cute, comfortable and warm! Many criticized Kate’s choice of skinny pants, but the decision is mainly logical. It must be difficult to sit in tiny child-sized chairs, bend over into the hydrotherapy pool, and really get down-and-dirty to connect with the children in a skirt or dress.
Kate accessorized with her Tissot watch, which we have been seeing more and more of, and her Kiki McDonough green amethyst drop earrings. Kate also appeared to be wearing a silver pendant, perhaps her Tiffany diamond cross. She looked every bit regal, professional and ready for fun!