Duchess of Cambridge secretly joined families to help plant garden for Children's Hospice

Omid Scobie
Photo credit: JOE GIDDENS - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

As the coronavirus lockdown in the UK continues to ease, more senior members of the British royal family are stepping away from Zoom to carry out engagements in public.

The Duchess of Cambridge quietly joined families from East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) to help plant a garden at The Nook, one of the charity's purpose-build hospices.

Kate traveled from Norfolk to Norwich on Thursday, June 25, to mark the end of Children's Hospice Week to meet with staff from EACH's care and facilities team to thank them "for the incredible work that they do," a Kensington Palace statement confirmed.

And while there were a number of people from EACH on standby to help with the gardening, Kate arrived prepared with plants she bought during her garden centre visit last week.

Making the one-hour journey to the hospice alongside the duchess were plants from the including lavender, bay leaf, and rosemary. The "sensory" plants continue the theme found in EACH hospice Sensory Rooms, which contain a variety of technology and products that can stimulate or relax the senses and help children who are unable to talk or communicate develop their communications skills.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

While the group were socially distanced, Kate worked alongside an EACH volunteer gardener, members of staff, and two families to "help create a space that would provide enjoyment for children and families," the spokesperson added.

The garden also includes strawberry plants, geraniums, and hydrangeas to create a "calming" colour scheme. The duchess also kept her vow to plant a sunflower in memory of Fraser Delf, who was cared for by the hospice.

Kate's visit marked the end of Children's Hospice Week 2020, which is organised by the U.K. charity Together For Short Lives and aims to raise much-needed funds for the U.K.'s 54 children's hospices.

"The care and the nurture that you provide children and families in the most unimaginable circumstances is just awe inspiring," the duchess wrote in a letter to mark the occasion.

"I'd also like to pay tribute to all those families out there who are caring for and looking after a child with a life limiting illness. You do the most extraordinary job and I know it’s particularly hard at the moment so my thoughts go out to you all."

EACH, which cares for children with life-threatening conditions across the U.K., is one of Kate's first royal patronages. It's a role she took on in 2012, and has led her to carry out a number of engagements with the organisation, including the opening of The Nook last November.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the organisation has continued to deliver end-of-life, emergency care and bereavement support, both in-person and virtually. "Spending time with these families and hearing how much EACH's support means to them reminds me what a wonderful organisation it is," Kate has said. "I am enormously proud to be its Patron."

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