Duchess Kate is given teddies at Great Ormond Street – plus junior Wimbledon school visit

Yesterday, The Duchess of Cambridge paid a visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital to meet patients, their families, and staff. She also visited Bond Primary School in Mitcham, southwest London, to learn about the work of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative.

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Catherine, 36, made her first visit of the day to Great Ormond Street – following from her trip to Coventry with husband Prince William on Tuesday – as part of her interest in children’s palliative care.

Her visit also coincided with the opening of the latest phase in the redevelopment project, the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre. This new part of the facility holds 240 beds over two connecting wings. These wards are modern, with ensuite bedrooms where parents can stay comfortably with their child overnight.

The Duchess of Cambridge met Ava Watt, a nine-year old with cystic fibrosis upon arrival. Ava presented two teddies to the special guest, one named Bernard for Prince George, and one named Wendy for Princess Charlotte. Ava’s godfather is Paul Potts, the opera singer made famous by the TV show Britain’s Got Talent.

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Ava said: “I really loved meeting the Duchess. One of the teddies was called Wendy and one was called Bernard, I gave them to the Duchess.They were for George and Charlotte. She said “thank you, that will be a lovely present”. I also gave her a thank you card.”

Inside, Kate spent time on the wards, and met a young boy named Rafael Chana, who is awaiting a heart transplant at the famous children’s hospital. As the Duchess stood at his bedside, the boy told her how much he loved olives.

The Duchess of Cambridge talks to patient Rafael Chana, 4, as she visits Great Ormond Street Hospital about his love of olives. Picture by i-Images / Pool

Kate replied: “I love olives. Are they your favourite? What do you prefer, olives or sweeties? I used to eat lots and lots of olives when I was little. They’re very good for you.

“What other things do you like eating? Do you like pasta? Charlotte likes pasta too – with olives. Do you like pasta with olives?”

“I like olive nachos,” came the reply.

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In the centre, the royal mum-of-two (soon to be three) sat at a table with some of the patients and joined in with an art class. Most she saw during this part of the visit were cardiac patients, some of whom have spent months in hospital on pioneering heart devices, which help them to stay alive whilst they wait for a heart transplant. GOSH is just one of two centres in the UK to offer this treatment.

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Seeing -month-old Sienna, who is recovering from an operation at the hospital, the Duchess spoke to her: “You’ve been through a lot, missy, haven’t you?”

“Yes you have.” She added: “You’re very smiley.”

Chief executive Dr Peter Steer said: “We are honoured to welcome the Duchess to officially open the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre and Premier Inn Clinical Building. I want to say a heartfelt thank you to readers who gave so generously.

GOSH chairman Sir Michael Rake added: “I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such a momentous occasion.”

Of course, no royal opening would be complete without a plaque unveiling, which the Duchess duly undertook. She gave a brief address, too, congratulating the hospital on its work and new facilities, saying she was ‘impressed’ by it all.

Some may have noticed Kate was not wearing her sapphire engagement ring; the hospital has a minimal jewellery policy, with which the Duchess complied. It returned to her finger for her next engagement.

Changing into something more comfortable for tennis training, The Duchess of Cambridge joined the school pupils from Bond Primary School in tennis drills organised by coaches from the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative (WJTI). The WJTI visits over 65 primary schools around London per year and offers many young people their first hit of a tennis ball; the initiative also invites those showing particular promise to weekly training sessions at the All England Club – of which Kate has been patron since January 2017, taking over from The Queen.

the duchess of cambridge visited bond primary school for a junior wimbledon tennis session (kensington palace)

Crowds of youngsters with union flags greeted the royal guest with enthusiasm, before she went inside.

The Royal joined in with co-ordination activities, and racquet skill session in the school hall.

Kate told the pupils: “A big thank you, I have loved playing with you all this afternoon. I love tennis, I think it’s a great sport, so keep it up, and it’s been a real pleasure to meet all of you.”

On her way out of the school, Catherine crouched down to shake the hands of the pupils eagerly lining up to meet her, when one young girl unexpectedly gave the Duchess a bear hug – it wasn’t long before everyone else decided to do the same – not that she minded!

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