The Duchess of Cambridge showed off her motherly instinct as she comforted a fellow mum at London’s Place2Be Awards.
Kate, 34, was overcome with emotion after seeing Ceri Knapton crying after watching her son Ethan, who has autism, speak at the event. As Ceri spoke to her, the mum-of-two reached out and gave her a hug, telling her: ‘I just had to do that as a mum’.
‘I vowed that I wouldn’t cry but was just overcome listening to Ethan,’ Ceri said afterwards. ‘The Duchess just leant over and said to me “I’ve got to give you a hug as a mum.” I couldn’t believe it. It was such a kind gesture.’
Ethan opened to the Duchess, who is a patron of Place2Be, about his struggles at school. Having only been diagnosed three years ago, he had previously been bullied, and struggled to focus in class.
‘It was a very difficult time but my diagnosis helped me to cope with what I was experiencing,’ he said. ‘I decided that I wanted to speak out about it. There is no point in sitting back. I’d rather stand up and make a difference.’
Ceri added to Kate: ‘It’s not been an easy few years but he makes me feel so proud. His autism and Asperger’s aren’t labels, but an explanation of what makes Ethan the boy he is. The fact that he wants to use that to benefit others less able to speak out is just amazing.’
Kate was attending the awards as part of a day of engagements, which began with a tea party at the National History Museum to say farewell to Dippy the diplodocus, one of the museum’s most famous exhibits, who is due to go on a nationwide tour in January.
She told schoolchildren at the event that her own son, George, would have loved to attend, telling 10-year-old Elizabeth that he ‘likes dinosaurs and volcanoes’ and is currently studying them at school.
Of his sister Charlotte, she said that she’s ‘extremely chatty’ and always wants to play with her big brother.
The museum’s director, Sir Michael Dixon, later revealed: ‘She did remark on the fact that as her children get older she is going to have to mug up on the names of dinosaurs!’