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Kate's heartfelt letter to grieving young mother

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Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a fund raising event for a children's hospice at the Norfolk Show ground, near Norwich, eastern England November 25, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Rogers/Pool    (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS)

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a fund raising event for a children's hospice at the Norfolk Show ground, near Norwich, eastern England November 25, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Rogers/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS)

REUTERS

Leigh Smith, gave an emotional speech about the death of her daughter Beatrice

Leigh Smith, gave an emotional speech about the death of her daughter Beatrice

PA

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a fund raising event for a children's hospice at the Norfolk Show ground, near Norwich, eastern England November 25, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Rogers/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS)

A bereaved mother has said the Duchess of Cambridge wrote personally to console her following the death of her baby daughter.

Kate was attending the launch of a fundraising campaign to help East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), where she is royal patron, build a new £10m (€12.6m) hospice when she met families who have benefited from the charity's work.

Among them was Leigh Smith, a 33-year-old physiotherapist from Norwich whose daughter Beatrice died from a rare heart condition after just 89 days.

She revealed how she wrote a letter to Kate outlining her story, only to receive a personal reply from the duchess.

Mrs Smith said: "I was so surprised to receive a letter with such personal comments and signed by her.

"It was a lovely gesture and helped me through a terrible time. I was touched that she had taken so much time to carefully read my letter and then to reply herself - it shows how much she cares.

"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."

Beatrice would be due to turn one-year-old on Friday.

Mrs Smith said: "I had mixed feelings about today because it's a difficult time but this is the most amazing way of celebrating her birthday and I hope Beatrice was looking down as I met Kate."

The Duchess braved the cold as she went without a coat and wore a red knee-length dress by Katherine Hooker and black sued stiletto pumps as she arrived at the Norfolk Showground.

There was just a hint of a baby bump as she met families, volunteers and staff before joining 700 guests for the appeal's launch.

The new hospice for Norfolk would be called The Nook and be built on a woodland plot near the village of Framingham Earl.

hnews@herald.ie


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