The Duchess of Cambridge has told a single father how her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, initially found it difficult adjusting to parenthood.
Kate met father Billy, 39, during a visit to a care centre for expectant and new parents, after her own pregnancy led to a previous trip being delayed.
Billy is raising his seven-month-old daughter Violet alone after taking custody from her mother and spoke about his experiences at Hornsey Road Children’s Centre in north London.
The Duchess, who is currently pregnant with her third child, described how William had felt he did not know what exactly to do when he first became a father.
Family Action, a charity of which the Queen is patron, is among the organisations providing services at the care facility, including vital care and mental health support for parents.
Speaking after meeting Kate, Billy said: “She was saying William was sort of similar and I just wanted to let her know how Family Action have been there for me and I think they need more support.”
Billy said the mother of his daughter showed up on his doorstep out of the blue, saying she was pregnant and had already had two children taken away so could not care for a third.
He said: “I was under mental health myself, I was suffering from severe depression and I thought I’m not going to let my daughter go into care, I’m going to step up and do this - I managed to turn myself around.
“I’ve been doing it from day one at the hospital, fed her her first bottle.”
The north London hub is used by parents to provide them with support ranging from company for parents to activities for children.
It works with around 808 under-fives in the area.
Volunteer Maggie Sandy had been working with Billy and other parents.
She said: “We do offer support to dads specifically, I think it’s so important because dads so often get left out in the mix after the birth of a baby, sometimes they get sidelined and their feelings and wishes aren’t gathered.”
Kate had earlier met with mothers and their young children while they were at play, bonding with one over their sons’ shared love of aircraft.
Mother-of-two Michelle said her son Jacob, four, was fond of planes - while Prince George is a fan of helicopters.
“She was asking about what Jacob liked and he said he liked aeroplanes and she was asking if he’d seen a Spitfire and we said we liked going to the Science Museum and RAF museum.
“She was saying how George likes helicopters, she was saying about the top floor of the Science Museum where the helicopters are.”
Glitter and paint had been splashed around as the Duchess made conversation with a group youngsters, her creme jacket standing out among their red paint-proof bibs.
Her outfit, which included the long, light-coloured coat and knee-high boots, had been designed by Goat.
As with her previous pregnancies, Kate had been battling hyperemesis gravidarum - a condition which causes severe sickness in pregnancy.
It forced the expectant royal to step back from public life for several weeks, including a visit to the Hornsey Road Children’s Centre.
The visit comes as Kate continues looking at the issues and challenges in the area of maternal mental health.
Kate has, in the past, described her life as mother to Prince George and Princess Charlotte as a “rewarding and wonderful experience”, but admitted that it had been a “huge challenge” at times that has left her feeling a “lack of confidence” for periods.
She opened up about her maternal struggles in March as she attended the launch of a series of films aimed at helping new parents cope with depression and other mental health issues.
Before leaving, Kate was presented with a posy by Nevaeh, six.
Her mother Andrea, a user of the centre who had earlier met the Duchess, said: “I felt like she could relate to what I was saying to her, so when I was saying to her it could quite isolating, not having nobody else to talk to, she appeared like she could actually relate to that.”
David Holmes, the chief executive of Family Action, also lavished praise on Kate, saying: “She was really lovely, it is fantastic she is so interested in the work that we do, but also maternal mental health is so important and having community-based services that are accessible to people is vital, so the fact she is showing such a keen interest is brilliant.”