The Duchess of Cambridge called on a charity close to her heart on Friday morning (Mar. 18), East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH). She headed to the market town of Holt for a special honour as patron of the organization, opening a new EACH charity shop just a short drive from her home Anmer Hall.
As the first customer of the shop, the Duchess purchased a $4 copy of Fireman Sam's Favourite Tales for her son George, who turns three in July.
"Fireman Sam is George's favourite," Kate revealed, while adding that her son had asked her to buy a toy helicopter.
"He had asked her to look for a helicopter but we hadn't got any," said Sarah Throssell, the charity's regional retail manager.
The Duchess also selected an $15 Tom Kitten Beatrix Potter figurine, and paid for the items in cash with a $19 note. It is not clear whether the figurine was for her daughter Charlotte.
Kate, who was her usual elegant self in a blue dress and coat by M Missoni, giggled as she tried on a $28 Boden felt hat, but decided against it.
The 34-year-old was given a tour of the shop by EACH's director of care Tracy Rennie. As she made her way around the store, Kate was introduced to the charity's retail volunteers, as well as EACH supporters and staff.
Speaking to Linda Gidley, who has been a volunteer in the charity's Long Stratton store for 15 years, Kate confessed that she normally bought cookery books in charity shops. "They're the ones I always look out for," she said.
The royal learnt about how the shop plays an important role in raising funds for the charity, which largely relies on voluntary donations. The new store forms part of EACH's portfolio of 21 charity retail outlets.
Among the items on sale was crockery by Emma Bridgewater, which the British artist had previously designed especially for the charity at Kate's request.
One young girl, 11-year-old Rebekah Hughes who has the rare Dravet Syndrome, took the Duchess on an impromptu tour of her favourite items in the shop.
"Do you want to show me? Come on then," said Kate. They walked over to a £10 silver Gant handbag and the pair enjoyed a girlie chat.
"You've got all those pouches in there and it's got a silver strap. Look at that. It's very nice," said Kate. "We'll have to put a reserved sticker on it. Shall we put a reserved label on it so no one else buys it?"
When Rebekah asked her what her favourite thing was, Kate said she liked some silver brooches, including a £1 piece shaped like a penguin. "There are so many wonderful things," she said.
Afterwards, Rebekah's mother, Annabel, 44, laughed, saying: "I'll have to buy the handbag now or there'll be trouble. I think Kate got off lightly – Rebekah has a way of taking over and she's lucky she didn't have her trying on outfits in the changing room. She was brilliant with Rebekah. It was a really special moment."
At the end of Kate's visit, the Duchess cut the ribbon to officially mark the opening of the shop.
Kate has been patron of the charity since 2012. EACH supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.
It currently offers care and support to more than 700 children in the family home and community, and also has three hospices based in Cambridge, Norfolk and Ipswich.