- Duchess, 34, visited Anna Freud National Centre in London wearing belted blue Eponine coat
- Dropped in on Early Years Parenting Unit to learn about work to learn about work with families
- Will later join William to visit Child Bereavement UK Centre in East London
- Today marks Kate's return to official duties after the Christmas and New Year break
By Rebecca English Royal Correspondent For The Daily Mail and Siofra Brennan For Mailonline
Published: 05:39 EST, 11 January 2017 | Updated: 11:56 EST, 11 January 2017
The Duke of Cambridge today spoke movingly about the death of his mother Princess Diana as me met children who have lost loved ones at the Child Bereavement UK Centre in East London.
As Prince William joined youngsters making memory jars he told nine-year-old Aoife whose father had died from pancreatic cancer: 'I lost my mummy when I was very young too.'
The royal was joined by his wife Kate, 35, to help youngsters make 'memory jars' filled with tightly packed layers of multi-coloured salts, each colour representing a memory of their loved one.
Kate, who wore a £1,650 blue Eponine cost dress on her first official royal engagement of the year, also showcased a subtle style tweak by wearing her tendrils of her brunette hair swept back and held in place with mini bulldog clips.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as visit the Child Bereavement UK centre in London on their first joint engagement of 2017
William told nine-year-old Aoife whose father had died from pancreatic cancer: 'I lost my mummy when I was very young too'
Prince William chats to Aoife about the loss of his mother as they take part in an art project
The royals will also meet with local professionals, and volunteers who work at the service, before being introduced to bereaved families and children who have been supported by the charity.
They will take part in a Family Support Group session which gives children, parents and carers the chance to meet other families their feelings and memories.
As Royal Patron of Child Bereavement UK since 2009, William has long supported the vital work undertaken by the charity, which makes such a positive difference to bereaved families across the country.
The charity also provides training for 8,000 professionals a year whose work brings them into contact with bereaved families.
William prepares to cut a cake celebrating the first birthday of the Child Bereavement UK Centre in East London
Kate observes bereaved children taking part in an art project to help them process their feelings of grief
The Duchess is presented with a bouquet of flowers by Shinobi from one of the centre's bereaved families as she arrives
Kate shakes hands as she arrives with Prince William to the Child Bereavement UK Centre to mark its first anniversary
Keep the cold at bay like Kate in a blue coat by Eponine
The Duchess of Cambridge is back at work for the new year, just like the rest of us.
Which is great news for fans of Kate's style as we get to check out how a Royal tackles the chilly January weather. And as you'd expect she does it with panache looking as elegant and chic as always in this tailored blue dress coat.
It's by Eponine, a London based label she's worn before and which takes inspiration from the silhouettes of the 1950s and 1960s. So think a combination of nipped in waists, A-line cuts and fuller skirts.
Kate's coat, in double wool crepe, is a gorgeous shade of royal blue (how appropriate) and features three quarter length sleeves, a collar with notch cut outs, a slender matching belt and wide pleats in the back. It's classic Kate don't you think?
So if you'd like to take a closer look or to order this outerwear for your own new year closet then click (right) now. Or you can recreate the look with our edit of similar coats below.
Child Bereavement UK was established in 1994 in the presence of Diana, Princess of Wales, whose best friend, Julia Samuel, is Founder Patron of the organisation.
Mrs Samuel has remained close to William and was asked to be Prince George's god-mother.
While at the Stratford site, William and Kate will be introduced to local professionals, and volunteers who work at the service, before meeting families and children who have been supported by the charity.
Kate arrived in the same blue Eponine coat dress she wore to the Anna Freud Centre in London this morning
The Duchess looked delighted to be taking part in an art project with young people during her second engagement of the day
Kate chats to youngsters who have been bereaved as they make memory jars filled with tightly packed layers of multi-coloured salts. Each colour represents a memory of their loved ones
William and Kate listen to speakers as they learn more about the work of Child Bereavement UK, of which the Duke is royal patron
Prince William and his wife Kate the Duchess of Cambridge speak to a volunteer as youngsters take part in an art project
They will then attend one of the charity’s Family Support Group sessions where children, their parents, and carers can meet other families to explore themes of memories, feelings, support networks and resilience.
These sessions can help to decrease their sense of being alone and feeling ‘different’ when someone important in their lives has died.
The engagement will close with a short reception to mark the Stratford Centre's first anniversary where William and Kate met staff, volunteers, users of the service and donors.
The Duchess accessorised with sapphire and diamond earrings to match her engagement band
The royals' first joint engagement of 2017 saw them visit the Child Bereavement UK Centre in East London, a cause that is close to William's heart
Their visit is Kate's second engagement of the day, after visiting an early years centre run by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in Finsbury Park earlier.
And the Duchess admitted 'parenting is tough' as she met young mothers battling emotional problems today at the Anna Freud Centre in London.
She may have a full-time live-in nanny and a mother who gives her plenty of help with Prince George, three, and Princess Charlotte, 20 months, but Kate, 35, suggested it still wasn't easy bringing up a family after listening to the stories of a group of mother who have been through problems such as a family history of abuse and addiction
The Duchess was introduced to two adorable little girls who were all dressed up in their best outfits for the royal visit
Mother-of-two Kate does her best to put a smile on 15-month-old Riley's face as she joins in with a play therapy session
Riley was greeted with a cheery royal wave from the Duchess, but he appeared to be feeling a little shy
Riley was more interested in staring at the camera than he was in playing with the royal visitor
Kate hands Riley some building materials as she joins a 'theraplay' session, which promotes the attachment relationship between parents and children
'Parenting is tough,' she said. 'And with the history and all the things and the experiences you've all witnessed, to do that on top of your own anxieties, and the lack of support you also received as mothers...I find it extraordinary how you've managed actually. So really well done.'
Kate was asked if she was braced to spend the morning with a group of children under five at a centre that helps parents with personality disorders bond more closely with their offspring.
'I did just leave a room of six under threes,' she said, smiling.
Kate, 35, also showcased a subtle style tweak by wearing her tendrils of her brunette hair swept back and held in place with mini bulldog clips
The Duchess of Cambridge looked elegant in a belted blue coat by Eponine as she arrived at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in North London this morning
Don't go yet! Riley, 15 months, and four-year-old Maddison peer through the glass panel in the door after Kate's departure
The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Anna Freud Centre Early Years Parenting Unit in London
Kate and Chief Executive Officer of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Peter Fonagy (left) arrive for a visit at the Early Years Parenting Unit (EYPU) of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
She may have celebrated her 35th birthday this week, but Kate's glowing complexion is showing few signs of ageing
The Duchess of Cambridge listens intently during a conversatoin with staff and guests at the Early Years Parenting Unit
It was not clear if Princess Charlotte, who will be two in May, had got friends over on a play date or whether Kate was referring to having pals with their own children to stay as they celebrated her 35th birthday on Monday back at their country home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk.
She visited the unit to learn more about its work with families who have children under five that are at risk of being taken into care.
She heard one mother describe how she had been trafficked from Nigeria and had not wanted her son, now six, when she was pregnant but now had a much improved relationship after coming for treatment when he was three.
The Duchess of Cambridge debuted a new £1,650 Eponine coat dress this morning as she kicked off the New Year in style with her first engagement of 2017 at The Anna Freud Centre in North London
'I got depressed really badly,' she said. 'I needed help because I was trafficked to this country.'
Kate listened to another mother, who had her first baby when she was 17, describe how she had her first four children taken away from her because she came from a 'really bad family' and had no support.
Later she met parents taking part in a 'theraplay' session that helps the child-parent relationship.
The Duchess looked relaxed and refreshed after her Christmas break spent at her parents home in Berkshire
Kate gives a cheerful wave as she departs from the Anna Freud Centre. This afternoon she will visit the Child Bereavement UK Centre in Stratford, East London with her husband Prince William
Kate showed off her slim legs in a blue coat dress by Eponine, which fell to just below the knee
Kate was looking fresh-faced and relaxed after her Christmas break (left) as she arrived at the Anna Freud Centre, of which she is the royal patron
The Duchess was clearly in good spirits after enjoying a few weeks off with her family over Christmas and New Year
She demonstrated her maternal side as she entertained 18-month-old Le'Jaun with smiles and waves during the session.
'What's this strange woman?' his mother, Amber, 19, said, as he stared at the Duchess.
Amber has been receiving treatment at the centre for four months to help her cope with anxiety attacks.
'I don't think the work that is done here is publicised enough,' Amber said, praising the help she has received.
It was the latest in a series of royal engagements for the Duchess designed to draw attention to child mental health issues. She is a champion of early intervention and working with the whole family to resolve problems with children.
Royal patron Kate learns more about the work of the Early Years Parenting Unit
The Duchess was keen to learn more about the work of the Early Parenting, which aims to keep families together and help parents become more responsive to their children's needs
The mother-of-two looked completely at ease as she joined in a 'theraplay' session at the Anna Freud Centre
The Duchess was greeted by staff members at The Anna Freud Centre where she will be introduced to parents who benefit from its services and support
Kate climbs out of her car as she arrives at the Anna Freud Centre in North London to learn more about the organisation's work with parents and young children
The unit in Holloway opened in April 2011 and offers an assessment and treatment programme for groups of parents with personality disorders, and their children under five, who are at risk of being taken into care.
The treatment aims to address the parents' personality disorders - often the result of abuse, trauma and addiction in their families - help deal with the children's developmental needs, and improve the parent-child relationship.
Staff at the centre try ultimately to keep families together and help parents become more aware of and responsive to their children's needs.
Later Kate met privately with families who have benefited from another of the centre's early years service, Parent Infant Psychotherapy (PIP).
The PIP service supports expecting and new parents, advising them about the impact of a new baby.
It was the Duchess' second visit to the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families since she became patron in May last year.
Peter Fonagy, chief executive of the Anna Freud Centre, said: 'The Duchess is stimulating interest in similar services throughout the country and right across the world.'
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