Kate Middleton started her busy week of engagements on Tuesday with a visit to Willows Primary School in Wythenshawe, Manchester. The Duchess, who is six months pregnant, beamed as she met with children and teachers alongside comedian John Bishop.
Kate arrived at Wilmslow train station wrapped in a beige coat before revealing her bump in Erdem”s “Sophia Floral Print” silk dress as she arrived at the school. The mum-to-be was presented with a doggy hamper for her Cocker Spaniel, Lupo, by members of the excited crowd bearing St. George”s Cross flags.
“Delighted to welcome HRH the Duchess of Cambridge & @JohnBishop100 to Willows Primary School,” tweeted Place2Be, the charity Kate recently became a patron of. “Launching our exciting new M-Pact plus project!”
Pregnant Kate chatted to students and families as she helped kick-start the new scheme which helps children who have been affected by parental addiction. Kate and John also met those who have taken part in programmes run by Place2Be and enjoyed a tour of the school including the newly refurbished playground, which was rebuilt by residents following a devastating arson attack.
“It has been so overwhelming” said headteacher Emily Smith of the locals” recovery effort. “It”s restored my faith. People just turned up out of nowhere to help clear the place up.”
Everyone connected with the school, which is also the set of Channel 4 show Shameless, was horrified when arsonists set fire to their £40,000 playground two weeks ago, just hours after they revealed they were to welcome a royal guest.
The Duchess of Cambridge had been due to see the playground and climbing frame, known as “The Fort”, which was destroyed in the fire.
Following the blaze, local residents and businesses, as well as staff at Willows Primary, decided to pull out all the stops and recreate as much of the playground as possible in time for Kate“s visit, covering the area with rubber matting and clearing the debris.
“We”re determined to rebuild The Fort with the help of the local community and others,” said teacher Ann Whitehead on 12 April. “And have had offers already from companies wanting to help us with this.”
“We were all devastated when we heard about the fire,” she added. “But we”re not going to let them beat us.”
Following her appearance in Manchester Kate will head to a charity reception at the National Portrait Gallery on Wednesday and the Warner Bros. Studios on Friday. The Duchess will be joined by her husband, Prince William, and brother-in-law, Prince Harry, for the studio tour with around 500 guests from their charities.