The pregnant royal supports U.K.'s leading fostering charity, showing "empathy and understanding as a mom"
Princess Kate added some cheer to a cold morning in London on Friday when she stepped out for her second royal engagement in as many days.
At an event hosted by The Fostering Network at Islington s Fostering Service, Kate, 33, had tea with over 30 foster parents and social workers and heard firsthand from teenagers and children who have themselves experienced the life-changing impact of being under foster care.
Recycling her brown silk shirtdress from Hobbs – her outfit revealing a subtle baby bump – Kate spent over an hour at the council venue in North London.
After hearing an overview of the charity’s work, she became smitten with a gurgling six-month-old named Naya, telling her foster mom, “She’s chubbier than George!” Commenting on the little girl’s curls, she leaned in and cooed. “sweetie pie, I love your hair.”
Jim Bond, president of The Fostering Network told PEOPLE that Kate showed “a great deal of empathy, a clear understanding as a mom of the issues involved and she obviously worked hard to research it all as she asked some really insightful questions.”
Before Kate left she was given a memory box containing mementos of her visit – a book of stories and poems written by former foster children. She told the invited guests: “Thank you everybody, it’s been wonderful to hear your stories.”
On the way out, she was greeted by a group of 20 local children whose nursery had arranged an impromptu “morning out” to see “a real life princess.”
“She was lovely and she looked phenomenal,” local mom, Helen Mundy told PEOPLE adding: “We all went to buy flowers from the local shop and my daughter [two-year-old] Olivia gave them to her – she smiled and said ‘thank you very much.’ ”
Leading the fostering agenda for more than 40 years, the charity work with over 400 fostering services and 52,500 foster carers, influencing and shaping policy and practice at every level.
“We hope that in due course, this will help to shine a light on foster carers and help us recruit the 8,500 carers we desperately need through out the U.K.,” added Bond who has himself fostered over 80 children to date.
On Monday, Kate will undertake three official engagements, this time in her local community in Kensington, including opening a new leisure center.