Kate's Valentine's Day filled with flowers and hugs

Kats and the kids
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge hugs a young girl as she visits Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust on Tuesday in Liverpool. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

They were about 12,700 (or so) kilometres apart, one kicking the tires on a Sea King, the other greeting hospital patients.

Kate valentinesNot exactly how most people would have pictured the royal romantic couple of the decade on Valentine's Day. But it's far from disastrous.

In fact, both are doing more good apart than together -- William serving with the RAF in the Falklands while Kate takes her early steps into the world of royal duty.

The cameras, of course, were focussed on Kate, making her second major solo public appearance by visiting Liverpool to stop in at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital (right), a Ronald McDonald House and an Action on Addiction project called The Brink. She is a royal patron of the latter, one of five charities she is officially endorsing as Duchess of Cambridge.

First stop was The Brink, with Kate receiving Valentine roses and gifts, including heart-decorated cupcake from a potential Prince William stand-in,  8-year-old Jaqson Johnston-Lynch. When Jaqson said he was sorry Prince William couldn't be here, the Duchess reportedly told him that she had received a card and flowers from him first thing in the morning.

And that was just the start of an avalanche of flowers and Valentine treats as Kate strolled her way along the lines of admirers, stopping constantly, especially when there were youngsters to hug or chat with.

Keeping her warm was a high street Hobbs 'Celeste' coat -- which has already sold out on the company website and was being offered at about $260, half its retail price -- and a black wool dress.

Next was the children's hospital -- the busiest in the UK -- where she talked with patients and toured the new facilities, before meeting some families who use the Ronald McDonald House.

By the time William returns from his six-week stint in search-and-rescue operations on the Falklands, he will be re-introducing himself to much more savvy Catherine, who is immersing herself in Royal Family education.

Next up for Kate is a trip on March 1 with her mother-in-law, Camilla, and the Queen to the high-end  department store Fortnum & Mason. They'll be having tea there and then unveil  a plaque commemorating efforts to revitalize the Piccadilly Circus neighborhood.

Kate will stay on the Queen's coattails the following week as the 85-year-old monarch makes the first official tour stop for her Diamond Jubilee celebration. On March 8, Kate will join the Queen and Prince Philip in Leicester, the first of several appearances for this royal trio.

Kate card

Kate cupcakeA Valentine's Day cupcake and card is presented to Kate by 8-year-old Jaqson Johnston-Lynch as she arrives at The Brink. The Duchess reportedly told the boy and his mother that she had also received flowers and a card from Prince William that morning. (Getty Images)




Kate girl

Kate hugKids and hugs were the order of the day as Kate visited Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool. (Getty Images)


















Kate smoothie
Catherine, the Duchess  of Cambridge tries a smoothie drink called 'The Duchess' during a visit Tuesday to the Brink, an alcohol-free bar in Liverpool. The bar, run by the charity Action on Addiction, helps people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. (Mark Large/AFP/Getty Images)

Kate pose

Kate poses for photographs with young girls as she visits Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust on Tuesday. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Kate flag
The Duchess speaks with a boy who holding a flag that seemed to be left over from the royal wedding. (Phil Noble/AFP/Getty Images)

Kate rose
Kate is given a toy rose as she visits Alder Hey Children's Hospital. (Phil Noble/AFP/Getty Images)

Kate hospital

Kate laughKate speaks with 2-year-old Yasmin Jeffers, top, and enjoyed a good laugh with 4-year-old Paige Hearn, right, during her visit to Alder Hey Children's Hospital, where the Duchess toured the oncology ward and went through Valentine cards patients had made for her.

Kate boy
The Duchess speaks with Elliot Casey, 12, during her visit to Alder Hey Children's Hospital. (Reuters)

Kate hospital room
Kate speaks with doctor Lisa Howell during her visit to Alder Hey Children's Hospital. The Duchess's black wool dress from the high street clothing store Oasis. (Reuters)


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