The Duchess of Cambridge expressed her "sincere appreciation" in a letter to Action for Children, which she became patron of in 2016

By Phil Boucher
April 22, 2020 04:36 PM
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Kate Middleton says she’s “truly” humbled by the way a children’s charity is helping protect vulnerable kids during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter written to London-based Action for Children — which Kate became the patron of in December 2016, following Queen Elizabeth’s decision to step down from the role — the Duchess of Cambridge, 38, wrote: “Your willingness to be there for those that need your help is truly humbling.”

She added, “Whilst you are having to adapt your services during this pandemic, it is heartening to know that you are still able to provide vital support to children and families across the U.K. who need your help now more than ever.”

“Many of you are working on the frontline, in residential and other settings, to directly support children, with many others enabling this all to happen behind the scenes,” she continued.

“You must all have particular concerns at the moment for children who are especially vulnerable and who are spending time in home environments where they are at risk of violence, abuse and neglect. I know you will be doing all you can to look out for them.”

Action for Children, which helps protect and support young people through a combination of emotional care and support, is a key element of Kate’s mission to help improve early intervention for children suffering difficulties because of challenging family circumstances.

Kate Middleton
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She first visited one of their centers in February 2015 and became “choked up” after hearing stories of young moms battling such things as severe illness and depression, mom Michelle Griffiths told PEOPLE following a roundtable discussion.

The royal mom of three followed this up with a visit to two Action for Children centers in February 2017, shortly after taking over the patronage from the Queen.

“The Duchess of Cambridge is incredibly proud to follow Her Majesty The Queen as Patron of Action for Children,” a spokesman told PEOPLE about Kate’s visit to a pair of centers in Wales. “The Duchess firmly believes that every child who needs it should be given the best support at the earliest opportunity, and is pleased to support their important work.

“She is looking forward to getting to know the people that make Action for Children such a success and meeting the young people they work with.”

Kate has since lived up to that promise, visiting the charity’s London headquarters in June 2019 for a photography workshop run by the Royal Photographic Society. In July she was also joined by some children associated with the charity at the opening of her play-and-learn garden at the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.

Kate Middleton
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Her personal letter — revealed on the Action for Children twitter account, Wednesday — has also given the hard-working staff a much-needed boost.

“It is obviously lovely to receive a letter of support from her,” a spokesperson tells PEOPLE about the message, in which Kate also expressed her “sincere appreciation” and “best wishes” to everyone connected to the charity. “We have a really lovely relationship with Kate and the palace.”

Kate’s letter of support is the second to be revealed this week. On Monday, a similar message sent by her to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital on April 14 was posted on twitter.

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“It is heartening to know you are still very much open for business and continuing to provide expert care to sick children despite the challenging circumstances,” wrote Kate.

“You are all truly inspirational and I know how much you will be there for these families, as you always have been.”

She added, “The whole country is behind you.”