The Duchess of Cambridge emulated her “People’s Princess” mother-in-law when she hugged a sobbing mum at a charity awards ceremony.

Her late mother-in-law Princess Diana was well known for her compassion and her human touch, and Kate proved she also had those qualities in spades when the 34-year-old flung her arms around Ceri Knapton.

Ms Knapton was sobbing as her 13-year-old son Ethan told the Princess about how he coped with having autism and Asperger syndrome.

Having only been diagnosed with the conditions three years ago, he told Kate that he was taunted at his primary school because his conditions led to him finding it impossible to concentrate. He also had tics which meant that he shouted out in class without even being aware that he was making a noise.

He said: ‘It was a very difficult time but my diagnosis helped me to cope with what I was experiencing.I decided that I wanted to speak out about it. There is no point in sitting back. I’d rather stand up and make a difference.”


After hugging his mum, the Duchess said: “I just had to do that as a mum.” She was attending an awards ceremony for Place2Be, a charity which helps children with mental health issues.

After her touching moment with Kate, Ms Preston said: “The Duchess just leant over and said to me ‘I’ve got to give you a hug as a mum’. I couldn’t believe it. It was such a kind gesture.”

Kate, who is a patron of the charity is well-known for her support of mental health organisations.

She looked elegant in a simple flared black cocktail dress from British designer Preen. She is clearly a fan of the label, as the Duchess wore a very similar frock while on an official tour of Canada earlier this year.