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Simon Perry
December 06, 2013 03:45 PM

It may not have been a Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift sing-along, but the Duchess of Cambridge brought her own special talents when she had afternoon tea with a group of children on Friday.

Wearing a grey Delaney jacket from Reiss, fitted blue trousers and black suede ankle boots, Kate, 31, used a frog hand-puppet as she and the children sang “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” at the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice in Hampton, on the western outskirts of London.

But not everyone was charmed by the new mom. When Demi-Leigh Armstrong, 5, complained that a friend didn’t have a musical instrument, Kate offered up a rattle, which the little girl turned down with a firm, “No.”

But she won the little girl over in the end. Demi-Leigh, who is recovering from a kidney transplant operation, gave Kate a posy of roses, and as she was leaving, the child grabbed Kate’s leg and the pair exchanged a thumbs up.

Kate spent much of her time at the hospice – which supports children with life-threatening or life-shortening illnesses – asking parents about their kids and their experience at Shooting Star, which has 10 beds as well as daycare facilities.

She also revealed that her 4-month-old son, Prince George, has begun doing messy play, which helps develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Mom Louise Wilks told reporters, “She said she has just introduced George to messy play and what fun it was.”

And her visit was clearly appreciated. “She was really lovely, very sincere, her beauty shone from within,” Britt Armstrong-Gash said. “She asked about how we use the facilities here and what life is like. I told her how we get very little support from outside and how important Shooting Star is to us.”

Kate is planning to set up a new initiative to encourage more people to volunteer in hospices. “The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry is currently developing a pilot for a volunteering program to support families of children with life-limiting conditions,” a Kensington Palace spokesman told reporters. “A key component of today’s visit is for the Duchess to meet a group of Shooting Stars volunteers, to better understand how they support the hospice and its families.”

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The Duchess of Cambridge with Demi-Leigh Armstrong
Bradley Page/Getty

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