The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met young patients at Evelina London Children’s Hospital following the announcement the duchess was to become its new patron.
William and Kate were greeted at the hospital by six-year-old Tiana Hayles who gave the duchess, who was wearing a green and white polka dot LK Bennett dress, a bunch of posies.
Evelina London will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2019, and to celebrate the duke and duchess unveiled and helped to complete a piece of specially commissioned artwork with some of the children.
In a short speech the Duchess said: “Thank you to everyone here, you do such an amazing job supporting children and their families both here and out in the community.”
The couple made their way through the hospital reception hall where they were greeted by smiling families, children and hospital staff.
They then met privately with families who use the hospital services regularly, as well as those who may have used them in the past.
One of those families was Debbie Brown and her son, Cruz Brown, 4, who has been attending Evelina since he was born due to his kidneys not functioning.
Ms Brown said the royal couple were interested to hear about the hospital and how they found out Cruz was unwell. Cruz receives dialysis three times a week, for four hours a time at Evelina.
“They were excited about the slides!”, Ms Brown said, referring to the large helter skelter slide in the entrance hall.
“They’re saying its weird for a hospital to have all of those things in it, but you say ‘look it’s something for the kids’. But yeah, I was telling them when Cruz comes here, he doesn’t really want to leave, he’s like ‘yeah!’”
The duke and duchess both participated in Christmas crafting with some of the families in Evelina’s sunny atrium, where the hospital’s choir sang carols.
Preminy Kamalanathan and her three children were crafting with William.
Her daughter Harini has MSUD, a condition which means the body cannot process amino acids, which she was diagnosed with when she was nine days old.
Ms Kamalanathan said William was “really listening” when she explained Harini’s condition.
Her youngest son, who is 3, was showing William his dinosaur toy.
“He talked about dinosaurs didn’t he?” Ms Kanalanathan said. “And he said George loved dinosaurs too!”
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Kate sat with Kayleigh Rockwell, her wife Kirsty and their children Oscar, 5 and Nancy, 3.
Nancy has been receiving treatment at Evelina since she was born after it was discovered she had heterotaxy syndrome.
Heterotaxy syndrome is a rare birth defect which means Nancy’s organs are “misplaced, missing or misshaped [sic]”, Mrs Rockwell said.
On the announcement of the duchess becoming a patron Mrs Rockwell said: “It’s really good, I knew that they were very heavily involved in the Evelina which I think is amazing.
“The fact that they’re helping to make the Evelina as well known as GOSH [Great Ormond Street Hospital]. GOSH is very much charity work, this is all NHS, this is very overlooked, not a lot of people know about it so it’s good to get the name out there.”
The Evelina is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, of which the Queen is Patron, and treats children with complex and rare conditions from birth into adulthood.
Marian Ridley, director of Evelina London, said: “We are absolutely delighted and deeply honoured the Duchess of Cambridge has chosen to become our patron.”
Later, the couple will travel to the St Vincent’s Centre of the homeless charity The Passage to hear from frontline workers about the challenges relating to street homelessness, including drug addiction and mental health issues.
Established in 1980, The Passage provides resources to encourage, inspire and challenge homeless people to make lasting and long-term changes to their lives.
William first visited the charity in 1994 with his younger brother, Harry, when the pair were 12 and 10, alongside their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
In 2016 the duke reopened the newly refurbished St Vincent’s Centre in Victoria, central London.
During their visit, William and Kate will also meet people using The Passage’s services and join them in an arts and crafts workshop preparing gifts ahead of the centre’s Christmas party.