Kate hailed for raising awareness of child mental health issues

The Duchess of Cambridge has been hailed for her efforts to help children with mental health problems as she met parents of troubled youngsters.

Kate was the guest of honour at an event for the Anna Freud Centre, of which she is patron, to thank donors backing the charity's plan for a £34 million "centre of excellence" in Kings Cross, north London.

Kate Middleton
(John Stillwell/PA)

Wearing a summery grey-blue silk dress by Roksanda, she met parents and executives at Spencer House in St James's before joining them and donors for a private lunch.

She first visited the charity's Hampstead headquarters in September and became a patron in February.

The centre's chief executive, Peter Fonagy, said: "She has done a tremendous amount to raise awareness of child mental health as an issue."

Earlier on Wednesday, Kate revealed she was desperate to "take off her shoes and run around" Hampton Court's new Magic Garden.

The mother-of-two was taken on a tour of the play area as she officially opened it and was shown some of its unique design features.

Earlier in the day Kate met youngsters at the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace
(Tim Ireland/AP)

Team member Barbara Smith talked with the Duchess about the garden's daffodils.

She added: "Then I asked her if she had any time to have some fun (during the Magic Garden visit).

"She told me she was desperate to take her shoes off and run around."

A busy day of official engagements will also see Kate visit the National Portrait Gallery to view the Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibition.

Kate Middleton
(Frank Augstein/AP)

It will be her first sight of two photographic portraits of herself taken as part of a wider spread in British Vogue's centenary June issue.

Award-winning landscape gardener Robert Myers, who designed the Magic Garden, said the Duchess was "very enthusiastic" about the new facility.

He said they talked about the design process and the inspiration for it - as well as the way it draws on the stories, myths and legends of Hampton Court.

"I think she was really taken by the way that this is a garden where children are really encouraged to touch, feel and roll," he said.

"In contrast to the palace, which is very hands-off, 'don't touch', the garden is somewhere children and adults can let off steam."

Kate asked Myers if he had children, and he replied that his three boys were about the right age when the project started, but are now teenagers.

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge
(Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

The Duchess arrived wearing a Michael Kors coat, and was described by the chairman of Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), Rupert Gavin, as "radiant". He said she was "bowled over" by the garden.

"She could immediately see just how wonderful it was and has said she really is looking forward to bringing her own children," he added.

Gavin also revealed that, on the way around the garden, one child tugged on his jacket and asked: "Who is that?"

He said he told the youngster it was the Duchess of Cambridge: "Then the child said, 'Are you the princess?'. And she said, 'Just call me Kate'."

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