October 21, 2020

Duchess Kate in Valentine’s Day visit to Liverpool


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The Duchess of Cambridge talks with 8-year-old Jaqson Johnston-Lynch after she visited The Brink in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. The Duchess was visiting as Patron of Action on Addiction. (AP Photo/Tim Hales)

LONDON (AP) — The former Kate Middleton is spending her first Valentine’s Day as a married woman nearly 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) away from her husband.

The Duchess of Cambridge is carrying out a solo visit to the English port city of Liverpool to visit a charity devoted to helping recovering addicts. Her husband Prince William is currently deployed as a helicopter search-and-rescue pilot in the remote Falkland Islands.

But just because Kate was short a prince doesn’t mean she was short a valentine.

Kate got a card and a bouquet of red roses from 8-year-old Jaqson Johnston-Lynch, whose mother works at the charity.

Jaqson told reporters he would tell Kate: “Happy Valentine’s Day, your Royal Highness. I’m sorry Prince William can’t be here.”

Accepting the young boy’s gift with a gracious smile, Kate told Jaqson and his mother, Jacquie, head of the charity Action on Addiction of which Kate is a patron, that she had received a card and flowers from her husband that morning.

Kate wore the sapphire and diamond engagement ring given to her by William that once belonged to his late mother Diana.

The priceless ring is a constant reminder of Diana, particularly poignant today as Kate spends time with her chosen charities. It is the kind of official duty at which Diana shone, and for which Kate has already shown such a natural ability.

Her first stop was The Brink, an alcohol-free bar set up for recovering addicts that is run by Action on Addiction, an organisation that helps addicts recover from drink and drug dependency.

The Duchess of Cambridge tries a smoothie called the 'Duchess' - the ingredients are - bananas, almonds, honey, milk and cream at The Brink in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Large, Pool)

Looking relaxed, Kate shook hands with staff and met community leaders as the bar’s resident choir – made up of recovering addicts called the Raucous Caucus Recovery Chorus – serenaded her with a traditional native American Indian song titled Wings Of A Dove.

Michael Edwards, 32, from Kensington, Liverpool, and a member of the choir, said: ‘It’s a song about hope and happiness.

‘I got involved in the choir because I’m in recovery from drugs and alcohol. Doing this, it’s built my confidence, it’s risen up. I didn’t have any before.

‘It’s a bit scary with a royal audience but this is what the choir has done for me, to give me the confidence to sing in front of people.

‘Everybody has been excited here for weeks because of the royal visit, that
something this good is happening here.’

Kate’s Valentine’s Day visit also took her to the Alder Hey Children’s hospital where she met the six-year-old victim of a rare heart condition.

Aimee Haswell’s mother Lisa, said that her daughter, who suffers from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, nearly died numerous times and owes her life to the skilled team at Alder Hey.

She told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Aimee is our little miracle. We call her our “little star” and when we received the phone call on Tuesday to say she had been nominated to greet the Duchess, words cannot describe our feelings.

‘Aimee is really excited and is already rehearsing her curtsy. She couldn’t wait to get to school and tell everyone the exciting news.

‘Aimee deserves this more than anyone I can think of. She’s a very strong, brave, happy little girl who has been through so much in her short life.’

The hospital is the busiest children’s hospital in the UK, providing care for more than 200,000 children each year.

Kate and William visited the institution together in February last year, when they attended the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art MRI scanner.

It is a hospital that is also close to the heart of Coleen Rooney, who has spoken out many times in support of Alder Hey thanks to the care they offered to her sister Rosie, who suffers from rare genetic disorder Rett Syndrome.

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