Kate Middleton Makes Last-Minute Appearance Alongside Prince William to Launch New Charity

It had previously been announced that Prince William was going to attend the launch of the National Emergencies Trust solo

Kate Middleton and Prince William stepped out together on Thursday morning to support the launch of a new organization tackling the response to disasters in the U.K.

William and Kate, both 37, helped kick off the National Emergencies Trust, which aims to coordinate the response to tragedies such as the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London and the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017. The organization hopes to bring about a joint action from charities and non-profits to fast-moving and developing events.

The launch, held at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church near Trafalgar Square in London was initially scheduled to be just with William — who has worked for the emergency services as an air ambulance pilot after a career in the RAF as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. But the palace added Kate — who wore a striking Emilia Wickstead dark blue belted dress paired with her Aspinal of London clutch — to the schedule earlier this week, meaning the couple could meet some of those behind the vital new charity together.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

The trust is set up to work collaboratively with charities and other organizations to direct public donations to specific appeals and to distribute funds fairly and efficiently at the time of a national emergency. It follows the concept of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which has been the U.K. response to many overseas disasters for more than 50 years.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

During the outing on Thursday, the couple was introduced to a small group of people who were affected by some recent disasters, including the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack and the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton. Beretta/Sims/Shutterstock

Kate Middleton

Duchess of Cambridge at St Martin-in-the-Fields
Kate Middleton. Press Association via AP Images

Kate Middleton

Soon after the fire at the tower, which killed more than 70 people in June 2017, William joined Queen Elizabeth to visit families and first responders. The royal family has shown its support for the community around Grenfell in several ways, with Meghan Markle helping create a cookbook for women running a cafe for residents, and Kate joining a Christmas party for families and helpers. William also took part in an episode of the popular U.K. series DIY SOS in 2018 to support those affected by the fire.

In a speech on Thursday, William praised the “resilience and strength” of the survivors he and Princess Kate had met at the launch and on previous occasions.

“We all know the important role that the Disasters Emergency Committee plays in channeling the British public’s extraordinary generosity to respond to disasters overseas,” he said. “It is therefore only fitting that a new, national charity is able to fulfill the same function when tragedy strikes at home.”

Prince William
Prince William. Nils Jorgensen/Shutterstock

Prince William

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Press Association via AP Images

Kate Middleton

“You have heard first hand from Thelma today about her experience in the 7/7 bombings in 2005. Just now and on previous occasions, it has been humbling to speak to survivors of the London Bridge and Manchester attacks, the Cumbria floods, the Grenfell Tower fire and other disasters here in the UK. Their stories are as heart-breaking as they are inspiring. Their resilience and strength are deeply humbling.”

Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
Prince William and Kate Middleton. Beretta/Sims/Shutterstock

Prince William and Kate Middleton

The couple, who were last seen publicly alongside each other on their tour of Pakistan in October, are believed to have spent much of last week with their children at Anmer Hall in Norfolk, as Prince George and Princess Charlotte were on a half-term break from their school at Thomas’s Battersea.

Can’t get enough of PEOPLE‘s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

The outing kicks off a busy few days of public events for the royal family. Later in the morning, Meghan and Prince Harry attended the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey in London and Harry and Meghan will be reunited with William and Kate at the Remembrance Day services this weekend.

Related Articles