Kate Middleton bonded with families in the grandest of settings on Tuesday evening, as she helped host a party for a charity at Kensington Palace.
Kate, 35, who is expecting her third child in April, attended the gala for one of her key mental health organizations, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) at the magnificent Orangery, a stunning 18th century structure that is a stone’s throw from her palace home.
The royal mom, who was elegant in a Diane von Furstenberg black dress with lace sleeves (check out a similar look for less!), left Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2, snuggled up for night in nearby Apartment 1a to spend time at a pre-dinner reception with families who have benefited from the organization. The AFNCCF works to help those who find themselves in vulnerable situations battling mental health challenges.
Kate greeted her guests as she made her way around the room in her floor-length dress, which showed off a hint of a baby bump. And it wasn’t the first time she wore the lace stunner. The royal mom also wore the dress when she was pregnant with Princess Charlotte in November 2014. And she’s not the only fan of the gown — Meghan Markle owns a shorter version!
Kate recently returned to her royal duties after suffering from severe morning sickness during the first months of her pregnancy.
The royal is a longtime supporter of the Anna Freud Centre. In January, she visited their Early Years Parenting unit that supports families who have children under 5 years old.
“She knew exactly what these mums were talking about — about children not sleeping and how stressful it is to try and bring up small children,” Peter Fonagy, chief executive of the charity, told PEOPLE at the time. “All the mums said how much she talked to them as just another mum.”
Maternal mental health is an important theme of her work and last week, she hosted a private discussion at the palace to hear more from experts – including the AFNCCF and Best Beginnings — to gain a greater understanding of the issues and learn what support is available. Kate has spoken often of the need for early intervention and she’s aware that a fifth of women are affected by mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year after having a child, her office says.