Kate Middleton was left in fits of giggles today as she snuggled up with a therapy dog during a series of engagements with Prince William in Lancashire.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, 40, appeared in good spirits as they arrived at Clitheroe Community Hospital where they learnt about the unique challenges faced by rural health providers in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The-mother-of three proved her love for tailored shapes during the visit as she stepped out her camel wool and cashmere coat, teaming it with a £145 tan Iris and Ink poloneck jumper with a matching £165 skirt.
It is not the first time that she has donned the jacket, having previously worn the piece when she met with ambulance staff and paramedics in east London in March last year, as well as to a visit to Cardiff to launch her Early Years survey in January 2020.
Meanwhile she also carried her £1,080 Roma Mini Clutch from Metier London, which she first wore in March 2021.
During the visit, the couple, who are both royal patrons of NHS Charities Together, were introduced to an adorable new ‘therapy puppy’ Alfie, an apricot cockapoo, who will be trained to support patients and colleagues at the hospital.
While cuddling up with Alfie, Kate could be heard exclaiming: ‘You are so sweet! You match my coat!’
Speaking of their own cocker spaniel, whose name has not been revealed and whom they were gifted last year by Kate’s brother James, the Duchess added: ‘Our dog is going to be very excited. She’s going to be like, “Where have you been? Who have you been seeing?”
The couple could be seen donning face masks inside the building in accordance with the hospital’s policy, which asks those visiting to wear a face covering.
Kate Middleton, 40, cuddled up with an adorable new ‘therapy puppy’ Alfie, an apricot cockapoo, during a visit to a hospital in Lancashire today
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared in good spirits as they arrived at Clitheroe Community Hospital where they learnt about the unique challenges faced by rural health providers in the face of the coronavirus pandemic
Kate cut an elegant figure in a tonal brown ensemble as she recycled her £349 Massimo Dutti coat for the series of engagements with Prince William in Lancashire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge couldn’t hide their enthusiasm today as they cuddled up with the adorable little pooch (pictured)
The royal, who wore her brown locks down in a loose curly blow dry, added a touch of glam to her outfit with a dazzling pair of £85 Missoma earrings (pictured)
The mother-of-three, who wore her brown locks down in a loose curly blow dry, added a touch of glam to her outfit with her favourite pair of dazzling pair of £85 Missoma earrings.
The natural beauty kept her makeup to a minimum, with just a touch of blusher, nude-coloured lip and light layering of mascara.
Her jumper and skirt, from sustainable brand Iris and Ink, is described online as providing ‘superior softness and warmth’, with fibers ‘sourced from farms that keep animal welfare top of mind’.
The Duke and Duchess met with GPs, nurses and others who work across the community, both to understand their experiences and to congratulate them on continuing to deliver a high standard of care for elderly and sick patients, within the hospital and in the rural community, despite services being the busiest on record.
While many of those with Covid have been admitted to larger, urban hospitals, pressures across the system have meant that frontline staff at Clitheroe Community Hospital have felt the strain.
NHS Charities Together has been instrumental in providing mental wellbeing support during this challenging period.
Across East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, over £300,000 of funding allocated by the charity has helped establish wellbeing services that support over 9,000 staff, including break-out spaces, wellness packages, and therapies.
At Clitheroe this funding will provide for a staff wellbeing room, among other services.
The Duchess’ jumper and skirt, from sustainable brand Iris and Ink, is described online as providing ‘superior softness and warmth’, with fibers ‘sourced from farms that keep animal welfare top of mind’ (pictured)
After visiting the hospital, the couple went on to Church on the Street in Burnley, where they are meeting with volunteers and staff to hear about their motivations for working with the organisation (pictured)
The royal couple will meet with Mick, volunteers and staff to hear about their motivations for working with Church on the Street as well as a number of service users to hear about their experiences first-hand (pictured, at Church on the Street)
Looking radiant: The Duchess was beaming with joy as she spoke with staff and volunteers at the organisation, which provides a food bank, a clothing bank, hot showers, laundry facilities, a cafe, recovery groups, addiction and mental health support, access to a qualified counsellor, and a safe space for up to two hundred people at any one time
Meanwhile today will see the latest addition to the team make his debut – an apricot cockapoo puppy who will be trained as a therapy dog to support patients and colleagues at the hospital.
The dog-loving Duke and Duchess! How The Cambridges were gifted a cocker spaniel by James Middleton
They were devastated by the death of their dog Lupo in 2020, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children were ‘besotted’ after they were given a new cocker spaniel.
The eight-month-old black puppy was a gift from the Duchess’s brother James Middleton and arrived at Anmer Hall, the family’s home in Norfolk, before Lupo died.
In January 2021, a friend told the Mail on Sunday: ‘The new puppy is adorable and the whole family are besotted.’
‘They were devastated when Lupo passed away, as any dog owner will understand, but got the new puppy before he died. It was hoped that a younger dog would give Lupo some company and give him a little more life and energy.’
Mr Middleton, 33, originally bred a litter of puppies from his dog Ella in 2011. He kept one called Luna but gave brother Lupo to Kate in early 2012 when Prince William, then an RAF search-and-rescue pilot, was deployed to the Falklands.
During the summer of 2020, Mr Middleton, who was staying with his parents at their Berkshire home, bred another litter of six puppies with Luna as their mother.
It is understood Kate and William had the pick of the litter, helped by Prince George and Charlotte.
Royal aides have not yet confirmed the name the family have given to their new pet. When the litter was born, James and his fiancee Alizee Thevenet, 31, posted pictures on Instagram of themselves with the six puppies, his other spaniels Ella, Inca, Luna and Zulu plus golden retriever Mabel.
Today marked one of the first occasions the royal couple have mentioned their new dog in public, with William saying she would be ‘very excited’ to see them when they got home.
He will join Jasper, a six-year-old cockapoo and award-winning therapy dog already supporting staff and patients across the Trust.
Kate and William also met with some of the patients at the hospital in order to understand they are managing their mental wellbeing.
Following their time at the hospital, the Duke and Duchess will visit Church on the Street, run by Pastor Mick Fleming.
Mick is a former drug dealer who set up Church on the Street in 2019 to help the homeless and people living in some form of poverty in Burnley and surrounding area.
Since then, the project has grown and the Church now offers refuge and a safe space for anyone in the community that may be struggling, including those having difficulty with their mental health.
Occupying a former gym, Church on the Street provides a food bank, a clothing bank, hot showers, laundry facilities, a café, recovery groups, addiction and mental health support, access to a qualified counsellor, and a safe space for up to two hundred people at any one time.
There are church services held on Sundays, lead by Pastor Mick with help from a number of volunteers and staff.
The royal couple will meet with Mick, volunteers and staff to hear about their motivations for working with Church on the Street as well as a number of service users to hear about their experiences first-hand.
The Church maintains an open-door policy and visitors can get the help they need to solve their immediate problems, whether that be a food parcel or simply a place to warm up.
By building relationships with repeat visitors and through faith, Pastor Mick is able to support those in need to help them change their circumstance and allow them to get on with their lives.
Several thousand people have passed through the Church’s doors in search of support since it was first established.
Mick is now in discussions with local authorities, external support agencies and the NHS with the aim of providing further support for people who are struggling with their mental health.
The visit comes amid a busy period for the couple, who yesterday undertook their first engagement of 2022 during a visit to the Foundling Museum in London.
The Duchess beamed as she arrived for her first in-person event of the year at the museum, which tells the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity which was founded in 1739 as a home for children whose mothers couldn’t keep or care for them.
The Duke and Duchess listened to the stories of those who have experienced life in care today, but William could not avoid the drama of his own family as a TV crew asked him ‘do you support Prince Andrew?’ as the couple left the museum.
William leaned closer to hear but then walked past without commenting.
It comes after a royal expert said the Queen will be despairing over the actions of some of her family members.
Speaking to OK! magazine, Jennie said: ‘I think The Queen will be holding her hands up in despair with her children and some of her grandchildren.’
She added: ‘Everybody feels for the Queen now with the Andrew debacle, but I think there has to be some equity between Harry and Andrew now. There was the argument and it probably wasn’t correct, but if Harry has been stripped of his titles then Andrew should have been some time ago.’
And addressing Prince Harry’s battle to be allowed police security protection on his return to the UK, Jennie said he ‘couldn’t have it both ways’, but added: ‘If Harry is not going to be allowed to have security over here unless he’s staying in a royal residence then perhaps Andrew’s security should be looked at too.’
A royal snuggle! Animal lover the Duchess of Cambridge couldn’t hide her joy as she cuddled up with the cute puppy during the visit today
The mother-of-three appeared totally enamored with the adorable therapy dog Alfie, who will be trained to support patients and colleagues at the hospital
A kiss for Kate! The adorable little therapy dog could be seen leaning up to boop his nose onto the Duchess’ chin during one adorable moment today
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were unable to hide their joy as they stroked and cuddled up with Alfie the cockapoo (pictured)
Making friends! The Duchess swept the adorable cockapoo into her arms, while Prince William could be seen stroking the pooch
At one stage the Duchess shared a laugh with the Duke and a staff member at the hospital as she was presented with posey of flowers
Meanwhile a former staffer said the Royal Family is desperate for ‘conventional performers’ as it faces a difficult year and Kate is ‘what these troubled times need’.
With Prince Andrew‘s legal battles, as well as the Firm’s concerns over the imminent publication of Prince Harry‘s upcoming memoir, the Duchess has been touted as playing a key role in shaping the future of the Monarchy.
‘As the Prince Andrew scandal shows, the monarchy is in desperate need of reassuringly conventional royal performers,’ Patrick Jephson, former chief of staff for Diana, Princess of Wales, told the New York Post.
‘Catherine is just what these troubled royal times need – it’s no exaggeration that the Windsors’ future lies in her hands.’
Bethan Holt, author of The Duchess of Cambridge: A Decade of Modern Royal Style, told the publication that there ‘seems to be a campagin to make the Cambridges the family’s ‘global stars’ – adding that Kate is ‘clever’ in her ‘calculated move to include Diana’s memory alive’.
In a recent interview, royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholls said that the Queen, 95, already ‘hugely values’ Kate’s work, and will rely on her ‘more than ever’ amid the royal scandals.
Cutting a stylish figure, the-mother-of three proved her love for tailored shapes as she stepped out her camel wool and cashmere coat, teaming it with a £145 tan Iris and Ink poloneck jumper with a matching £165 skirt (pictured)
The couple could be seen donning face masks inside the building in accordance with the hospital’s policy, which asks those visiting to wear a face covering
The couple donned face coverings as they walked into the hospital to meet with patients currently on the wards (pictured)
NHS Charities Together, of which the royal couple are Patrons, has been instrumental in providing mental wellbeing support during this challenging period and the couple spoke with staff about their work (pictured)
The Duke and Duchess could be seen carefully sanitising their hands as they arrived at the hospital to meet with patients this afternoon
The visit comes amid a busy period for the couple, who yesterday undertook their first engagement of 2022 (pictured at the hospital today)
The biggest scandal facing the Firm at the moment is Prince Andrew’s upcoming civil case, after being accused of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress by Virginia Giuffre.
She claims that she was forced to sleep with the Prince on three occasions by US paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell – the first time when she was 17 and under the legal age of consent under New York law.
A US judge rejected the prince’s bid to have his sex abuse case thrown out, leaving him facing the prospect of being cross-examined for seven hours on camera with embarrassing questions on everything from his sex life and ‘private parts’.
His downfall has seen him stripped of his royal patronages ‘with the Queen’s approval and agreement’ leaving him to fight the sex abuse lawsuit in America as a private citizen.
Andrew has always vehemently denied the accusations.
Prince Harry’s memoir is reportedly an additional source of stress for the family. Harry, who resides in California with his wife Meghan, 40, and their two children, Archie, two and Lilibet, born in June, will be publishing the book this year, the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
He has promised to give an ‘accurate and wholly truthful’ account of his life, writing as ‘the man he has become.’
The Duke and Duchess met with GPs, nurses and others who work across the community, both to understand their experiences and to congratulate them on continuing to deliver a high standard of care for elderly and sick patients
Prince William opted for a smart blue blazer for the visit earlier today as well as a maroon jumper, which he paired with a baby blue shirt (pictured)
Kate and William also met with some of the patients at the hospital in order to understand they are managing their mental wellbeing
During a line-up, the Duke and Duchess spoke to NHS workers about the toil the Covid-19 pandemic had had on their mental health (pictured)
Kate and William heard about the experiences of both staff and patients at the hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic (pictured)
Prince Harry has been vocal about what he called the ‘total neglect’ of the royal family since his exit from royal life in March 2020.
Following several TV appearances, including the Winfrey Interview and his talking heads in The Me You Can’t See for Apple TV, his memoirs will offer an in-depth look at his life in the public life, from his childhood to now.
His home life during the break-up of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage, the period of Diana’s death and its aftermath, Harry’s relationship with Camilla and past girlfriends are likely to form part of the book.
Having already been writing for a year, the prince is set to turn in a manuscript, which he promised will be a ‘first-hand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful’, by the end of this year. It is set to hit the shelves in 2022.
In addition, members of the Royal Family will also have to prepare themselves for series five of Netflix drama The Crown, which has started filming and will dramatise a notoriously difficult period of time in their recent history.
It will cover the Queen’s ‘annus horribilis’, a Latin phrase meaning horrible year which she used in 1992 to describe the collapse of three of her children’s marriages – including Prince Charles’ to Princess Diana – and the fire that severely damaged her Windsor Castle home.
The Duke and Duchess will meet with GPs, nurses and others who work across the community, both to understand their experiences and to congratulate them on continuing to deliver a high standard of care for elderly and sick patients