Kate opens new playground and shows off her maternal side

The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, has been celebrating daughter Charlotte's first birthday, but on Wednesday (May 4) she brought her signature warmth to another group of children, bonding with youngsters at an official engagement. The mother of two opened a new children's play area at Hampton Court's Magic Garden in west London.

Despite the sunny weather, Kate, 34, wrapped up in a coat by Michael Kors, which she most recently wore in public on her 2014 tour of Australia. She finished her look with her trusty nude heels and a small clutch bag.

The Duchess brought her characteristic warmth and charm to the engagement, waving to well-wishers and the dozens of children that had come out to meet her.

TAP TO VIEW GALLERYDuchess Kate playing with children at the Magic Garden Kate opened the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace

As the venue is particularly suited to youngsters, the conversation naturally turned to Kate and Prince William's two adorable children – Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The couple's son, who turns three in July, would have particularly loved to run around the Magic Garden, while cherubic Charlotte is already showing off her walking skills, as her official birthday portraits released by the palace showed.

PRINCESS CHARLOTTE'S BIRTHDAY PICTURES

Kate Middleton laughing The Duchess wore a coat by Michael Kors

Royal fans were hoping that George would accompany his mother to the engagement, but sadly the little Prince was absent. George was most likely attending his morning session at nursery, where he is enrolled part-time.

Speaking to the children and parents, Kate did admit that her litte boy would have loved the play area, but that he would have been "scared" of the model of the 25 foot long sleeping dragon.

"She said, 'George would have loved it,' and said that she wished she had brought him now! I guess she would have to worry about him if she had," Natalie O'Rourke, who was playing in the sandpit with her son Woody, told reporters.

Schoolgirl Olivia, eight, added: "She said he might be a bit scared of it."

Duchess Kate watching kids sit on a dragon sculpture Kate said George would have been too scared to see the dragon

It was then that the Duchess also revealed that her children have a pet hamster, called Marvin. "She said she had a hamster, and Charlotte really likes it because the whiskers always tickle her face," said nine-year-old Darcey, also from St John the Baptist Junior School in Hampton Wick.

During the visit, Kate toured the outdoor space, which featured models of battlements, towers and a secret grotto. The garden was designed by award-winning landscape architect Robert Myers, and draws inspiration from the myths and legends of the Tudor Court.

Kate Middleton talking with a group of girls The royal said she wished she'd brought George along with her

Kate had a jam-packed schedule on Wednesday. The Duchess carried out her first engagement as patron of the Anna Freud Centre – a charity that supports mental health in children – by attending a lunch reception at the charity's new centre of excellence, following her visit to the Magic Garden.

KATE'S STUNNING DEBUT ON MAGAZINE COVER

She will also visit the National Portrait Gallery, of which she is patron, to view new photographs of herself. The pictures were taken as part of the collaboration between British Vogue and the National Portrait Gallery and show Kate posing in the Norfolk countryside in casual wear.

HELLO! Canada magazine is available for your tablet and smartphone. Get HELLO! Canada, PEOPLE, Vanity Fair and over 100 more of the world’s best magazines for one low monthly price at Texture by Next Issue. CLICK HERE to sign up for a free trial.