Kate Middleton
In March the Duchess of Cambridge delivered her first public speech at a children's hospice in Suffolk

Kate Middleton has delivered her first public speech as a fully-fledged member of the royal family.

The Duchess of Cambridge made the speech during a visit to the Treehouse Children's Hospice in Ipswich.

The duchess, who recently became a patron of the charity East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), wore a blue dress from high street favourite Reiss for the occasion.

Ahead of her speech, she met children and their families who receive care and support from the hospice.

Her brief speech focused on the achievements of the charity and its positive impact.

"What you have all achieved here is extraordinary," she said. "You all as a community have built the Treehouse - a group of people who have made every effort to help and support each other."

Middleton apologised for the absence of her husband Prince William, who is on a six-week tour of duty with the RAF in the Falkland Islands.

"I wish that William could have been here today. He would have loved it here. A view of his that I share is that through team work so much can be achieved."

Although nervous, the duchess managed to deliver the speech with regal elegance and poise.

She closed by telling the crowd: "What you do is inspirational. It is a shining example of the support and the care delivered not just here but in the children's hospice movement up and down the country.

"The feelings you inspire. Love and hope offer a chance to families to live a life that that they thought could never be possible."

After her speech, she toured the hospice before planting a commemorative tree in the grounds.