March 19, 2012 10:47am PT by Erin Carlson
Kate Middleton Delivers First Speech, Sans William (Video)
A big part of Kate Middleton's duty as Duchess of Cambridge, besides countless media appearances, is giving speeches. The soft-spoken, shiny-locked wife of Prince William might not be a microphone-seeking spotlight chaser, but despite her demure persona, Middleton proved a graceful -- if initially shaky -- public speaker in the first-ever speech of her royal life.
On Monday, Middleton spoke in front of a crowd -- and camera -- to open the Treehouse Children's Hospice in Ipswich, England. She appeared somewhat jittery at first but quickly gained confidence, speaking in a measured, soothing cadence that echoed the nurturing tones of Princess Diana.
"I'm only sorry that William can't be here today," said the global fashion plate (in a blue Reiss dress), cracking a smile. "He would love it here."
The newlyweds celebrate their first anniversary on April 29; William, a helicopter pilot in the Royal Air Force, is wrapping up a six-week tour of duty in the Falkland Islands.
Check out the footage of Middleton's address below.