Kate told Willow Bamber, "Don't be shy!" as the 8-year-old girl painted the royal's hand for a special art project
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Kate Middleton displayed her special connection with children while visiting one of her longstanding patronages.

Kate and Prince William headed to East Anglia's Children's Hospice in Milton on Thursday as part of their visit to the region of Cambridgeshire. Making the outing extra meaningful was their connection to the area — the couple received the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from Queen Elizabeth on their wedding day in April 2011.

During the visit, Kate added her hand print to a canvas. Willow Bamber, 8, helped paint the royal's hand with a brush — and Kate sweetly told the young girl, "Don't be shy!"

Willow, grinning ear to ear, then helped press Kate's hand onto the canvas to cheers from those watching.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gets her palm painted by Willow Bamber during a visit to East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) in Milton
Kate Middleton
| Credit: BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Kate did a similar arts and crafts project with her youngest child, Prince Louis, to celebrate his second birthday in 2020. Louis covered his hands in rainbow colors to make an artwork in support of National Health Service (NHS) workers and other essential workers tackling the coronavirus pandemic across the country.

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Ben Stansall/WPA Pool/Getty

In a hilarious "Instagram vs Reality" photo, Prince Louis smeared the paint all over his face — and Kate later revealed that she got a bit messy as well during the photo shoot.

"I should've taken a photograph of what I looked like after as well!" the royal mom of three said on U.K. talk show This Morning. "Luckily, that wasn't documented but I was pretty much, I looked like Louis at the end of those."

Prince William and Kate, both 40, toured the hospice, which was opened by Princess Diana on August 1, 1989.

They also met with children, young people and families who use services through EACH.

Kate has been royal patron of the charity since 2012.

Prince William (2ndL), Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine (C), Duchess of Cambridge, meet with the family of William Carlson during a visit to East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) in Milton
Prince William and Kate Middleton
| Credit: BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The visit also happened to fall during Children's Hospice Week. To mark the occasion, Kate shared a personal message on Tuesday.

Kate praised the children's hospices for bringing "joy, fun and play to brighten each day and help families make the most of their lives together, no matter how short" in addition to "providing expert care."

"For any parent, coming to terms with the news your child has a life-threatening condition and may die young is heart-breaking and incredibly frightening. Families can often feel isolated, but having the support of a children's hospice means they don't have to face that future alone," she wrote.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), to meet families who are receiving support as well as long serving staff members in Milton, Cambridgeshire
Kate Middleton
| Credit: James Whatling/MEGA

Since becoming royal patron of EACH 10 years ago, Kate has been closely involved in the charity. Her first public speech as a member of the royal family came when officially opening The Treehouse in Ipswich in March 2012. She also attended fundraising appeals and cut the ribbon at The Nook in Norfolk in November 2019.

In June 2020, Kate joined families to plant a new patio garden and transform the terrace area at The Nook. She sourced sensory plants and flowers for it ahead of her visit, which coincided Children's Hospice Week.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William departing the Fitzwilliam Museum during an official visit to Cambridgeshire
Kate Middleton and Prince William
| Credit: Neil Mockford/GC Images

Earlier in the day, Prince William and Kate were on hand for the unveiling of their first official joint portrait.

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The piece was commissioned in 2021 by the Cambridgeshire Royal Portrait Fund, which is held by the Cambridge Community Foundation, as a gift to Cambridgeshire. It was painted by award-winning British portrait artist Jamie Coreth.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, 2022 by Jamie Coreth
Kate Middleton and Prince William
| Credit: Jamie Coreth + Fine Art Commissions

"It has been the most extraordinary privilege of my life to be chosen to paint this picture," Coreth said. "I wanted to show Their Royal Highnesses in a manner where they appeared both relaxed and approachable, as well as elegant and dignified."