The Duchess of Cambridge visited Evalina London Children’s Hospital on Wednesday to see the creative arts workshops offered by the National Portrait Gallery’s Hospital Programme and to take part in arts and crafts and photography sessions.
Upon arrival, Kate was greeted by a young girl named Anna-Victoria Amoafa-Sennie, who presented her with a bouquet of posies. She was quoted in a blog post on the Evelina London’s website saying, “It was very exciting and very surprising because we’d seen her on the TV, but we’d never seen her in real life!”Embed from Getty Images
Her mother, Irene, said, “It was so lovely to see Anna-Victoria meeting The Duchess. She was so happy and excited! It was wonderful and something that she’ll never ever forget.”
The National Portrait Gallery offers creative arts workshops in four hospitals around the UK, in Evelina London Children’s Hospital, the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Newham University Hospital, and The Royal London Hospital. Since its creation, over 20,000 young people have taken part in the programme.
“We are extremely proud to host the National Portrait Gallery’s creative arts workshop and delighted that we were joined by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge to see the excellent work that they do,” said Evelina London’s Director, Marian Ridley, in a blog post on the Evelina London website.
“Art is an invaluable therapy for children and young people while they are in hospital. It helps to develop their creativity and gives them something to enjoy, while reducing any anxieties they may be feeling.
“It is a great pleasure to have The Duchess with us to see our young artists letting their imaginations run wild and we are thoroughly grateful to our partners at the Gallery for everything that they do.”
The Hospital Programme currently offers the Playful Portraits programme, which “encourages play, making, reading, learning, writing and creativity,” according to Evelina London’s website.
“Young people can use it on their own, with their families, whilst on the ward and at home. Playful Portraits features a range of sitters from the Gallery’s Collection including girls’ education activist, Malala Yousafzai; chemist and crystallographer Dorothy Hodgkin; Paralympian David Weir; the Bronte Sisters, and physician Harold Moody.”
Kate joined the children at Evelina London in “making sets and characters for their own pop-up theatres,” according to Kensington Palace; and then joined a photography session, posing for a Polaroid picture snapped by a little boy named Luke Wheeler-Waddison.Embed from Getty Images
The Duchess was also presented with a hand-made ‘rag wreath’ by Luke and his little sister Savannah. She told them that Princess Charlotte would love that it’s pink and that she would hang it up in her bedroom.
Luke later told reporters, “We just really wanted to say thank you to her for coming and spending time here. She was really touched, I think. I told her that I had the same birthday as her son, George, and my sister is four, like Charlotte. She said Charlotte would love to have the pink wreath up in her room. It would be amazing if they did that.
“Not many people get to see a princess in real life and she is going to be the Queen one day. It was really exciting.”
He also revealed that he was very happy with the portrait he’d snapped of Kate and that he hadn’t been nervous at all to take her picture.
Her Royal Highness also chatted with parents, staff, and carers during her visit, telling Emily Parker, who was there with her 13-month-old daughter Rose, that Prince Louis also had tickly knees after she tickled Rose’s.
Emily told reporters, “I’m trying to be cool about this but she is really my favourite [royal]. When I look back at this whole experience, for her to take the time to come and see us… it will be one of the things that stands out and keeps me going. It’s been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.”Embed from Getty Images
Speaking to Danielle Morton, the mother of a 14-year-old who needed cleft palate surgery, Kate revealed that she, William, and the children have their own “normal days,” as Danielle described them, when they were in the countryside, at Anmer Hall in Norfolk.
Danielle told reporters that her daughter was nervous that she’d miss meeting Kate. “She had been so worried when we went for something to eat that she was going to miss her that she nagged me to come back.
“And what a lovely woman she was! I didn’t expect her to be so down to earth.”
Meeting with Clive Edwards, whose son, also named Clive, was about to have cleft palate surgery after Kate left, said, “She was lovely and probably helped to keep his mind off things. I even asked for a photograph, and she posed for one. I didn’t know if she would but thought ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ and she couldn’t have been nicer. My wife is going to be furious she wasn’t here for this but she is at home with the baby.”
The National Portrait Gallery has offered its Hospital Programme for the past 15 years. According to Dr Nicholas Cullinan, the Director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, “It is an honour to share with our Patron, The Duchess of Cambridge, the vital work we do at Evelina London and other children’s hospitals in the capital.
“We are immensely proud of our Hospital Programme, which demonstrates the positive impact art and creativity can have on health and wellbeing and enables us to share our Collection with those who may not have had the opportunity to experience it previously.”