Princess Kate in for the 'Long Haul' with Children's Mental Health Work

"Her interest is deep and genuine," Peter Fonagy of the Anna Freud Centre tells PEOPLE

Photo: Mark Richards/Getty

Princess Kate‘s commitment to children’s mental health goes far beyond a photo-op, and those who met her during her visit to a kids’ mental health charity last week say it’s clear how much she cares about the cause.

“She’s in this for the long haul,” Peter Fonagy, CEO of the Anna Freud Centre in London, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

“She is interested in mental health for real – that is to say that her interest is deep and genuine.”

The charity visit is just the beginning of the royal mom’s busy fall. She’s set to join her husband Prince William and brother-in-law Prince Harry at the hotly anticipated England-Wales rugby match this Saturday. She’ll also make an appearance at the London premiere of Spectre and is set to help Queen Elizabeth host the Chinese president next month. There will be a steady flow of further engagements leading up to Christmas, royal sources have told PEOPLE.

As she does, Kate, 33, is picking up experience and widening her own knowledge of the issues. But Fonagy says he also believes the charity can learn from her, as Kate’s awareness of the sector is growing and her ability to build support is formidable.

“She was very up-to-date about the whole field,” he adds. “She’s a very knowledgeable and wise person, and I feel we would benefit from her enormously. I hope that something can come from this where we are able to fulfill some aspect of her interests and ambitions in this area.”

For her part, Kate enjoyed herself at the visit, throwing herself into the workshops and learning games that help the children overcome their difficulties.

“She liked seeing the interactive way of getting to the issue. It was done in a fun, light-hearted way for both the parents and the children,” a palace source tells PEOPLE.

As Kate boosts the volume of her public outings, she and William – who also has his civilian air ambulance job – are dividing their time between their two homes, in London and Norfolk.

For more on Kate’s return to royal duties, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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