Princess Kate keeps Princess Diana's legacy alive, visits children's hospital

Kate later joined school kids in a tennis training session.

Princess Kate keeps Princess Diana's legacy alive, visits children's hospital
Frank Augstein/Pool/Reuters
ByABC News
January 17, 2018, 1:18 PM

— -- Princess Kate is following in the footsteps of Princess Diana by visiting with seriously ill children at a London hospital.

Just like her late mother-in-law did years ago, Kate on Wednesday visited Great Ormond Street Hospital, which has long been supported by the royal family.

She was welcomed by Ava Watt, 9, who has cystic fibrosis. The girl presented the mother of Prince George and Princess Charlotte with two teddy bears.

In the hospital, Kate, 36, who is due with her third child in April, comforted several children at their bedsides.

She also sat and talked with children as they completed an art activity in the hospital's playroom.

While talking with patients and staff, Kate revealed that pasta with olives is a favorite food of Charlotte, 2.

Eagle eye royal enthusiasts noticed Kate was wearing only her gold wedding band at today's hospital visit, leaving at home her sapphire and diamond engagement ring that once belonged to Diana. Kate, mindful of her interactions with patients, followed hospital recommendations and wore minimal jewelry.

PHOTO: Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is given two teddy bears by patient Ava Watt as she arrives to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital to officially open the Mittal Children's Medical Centre, in London, Jan. 17, 2018.
Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is given two teddy bears by patient Ava Watt as she arrives to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital to officially open the Mittal Children's Medical Centre, in London, Jan. 17, 2018.
Frank Augstein/Pool/Reuters

Kate later joined some of the hospital's young patients on stage as they unveiled a new building with additional facilities to allow parents to spend the night with their children.

"It's been my first visit to Great Ormond Street and I've been so impressed by everything I've seen and the scale of the work going on here," Kate said in a short speech. "It's been wonderful to meet so many families and young people.

"I've been so inspired by their bravery and courage at such a difficult time," she said.

PHOTO: Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge reacts to patient Rafael Chana, 4, as she visits Great Ormond Street Hospital to officially open the Mittal Children's Medical Centre, home to the new Premier Inn Clinical Building in London, Jan. 17, 2018.
Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge reacts to patient Rafael Chana, 4, as she visits Great Ormond Street Hospital to officially open the Mittal Children's Medical Centre, home to the new Premier Inn Clinical Building in London, Jan. 17, 2018.
Frank Augstein/AP

Queen Victoria was royal patron of Great Ormond Street Hospital when it first opened in 1852. Princess Diana was a frequent visitor, actively promoting the work at the hospital.

The hospital was one of the six charities Diana focused on until she died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. After Diana's death, a hospital spokesman said her support had been “invaluable and incalculable" and the hospital set up a memorial fund in her name.

PHOTO: Princess Diana speaks with patients at the Great Ormond Street Children's hospital in London, March 1991.
Princess Diana speaks with patients at the Great Ormond Street Children's hospital in London, March 1991.
Jayne Fincher/Getty Images

In her remarks, Kate also thanked hospital workers for their work improving the facilities.

"My main message is congratulations to you all," she said. "It means so much to the families, both to the parents and children. You can see the real family element the hospital brings at such a difficult time."

In the afternoon, Kate changed from the brightly-colored coat she wore at the hospital into athletic gear for a visit to a primary school in Mitcham in southwest London.

PHOTO: Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, arrives for a visit to Bond Primary School in London, Jan. 17, 2018.
Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, arrives for a visit to Bond Primary School in London, Jan. 17, 2018. The Duchess visited to see the work of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative.
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Kate grabbed a tennis ball and joined kids at the school for a tennis lesson organized by the Wimbledon Foundation's Junior Tennis Initiative.

An avid tennis player, Kate took over from Queen Elizabeth in 2016 as royal patron of the All-England Lawn and Tennis Club. Kate is known to play tennis with her husband, Prince William, and showed off her skills Wednesday, gamely bouncing a tennis ball to kids with racquets.

"I was really sporty when I was little," Kate said. "Less so now that I've got lots of babies."

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