The story of a mum’s grief moved pregnant Kate Middleton to tears during a visit to Norfolk on behalf of a children’s charity. Kate welled up as Leigh Smith, 33, gave a speech recalling the heartbreak of losing her daughter Beatrice to a heart condition when she was just 16 weeks old.
“Kate sought me out and gave me a hug just before she left,” Leigh said. “I was getting quite teary-eyed, she had tears in her eyes and she just said to me, ‘You’re a very brave lady and again, I’m just so, so sorry’.”
Before the royal visit, Leigh wrote a letter to the Duchess in the days after her daughter’s death, praising the work of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), of which Kate is royal patron. Kate sent a personal reply back.
“I was so surprised to receive a letter with such personal comments and signed by her,” Leigh said. “It was a lovely gesture and helped me through a terrible time.
“When I met her today she remembered the letter and said it was an honour to meet me. I was completely taken aback. For me it was an honour to meet her.”
The charity EACH had made arrangements for Beatrice to be taken to one of its hospices, and helped the couple and their 4-year-old son Elliot with the funeral arrangements. Friday would have been Beatrice’s first birthday.
“I had mixed feelings about today because it’s a difficult time, but this is the most amazing way of celebrating Beatrice’s birthday and I hope she was looking down as I met Kate,” she said.
Kate is 18 weeks pregnant with her second child, and looked in good health as she attended the launch of a fundraising campaign for EACH to build a new hospice facility.