LONDON (AFP) - Prince William’s wife Catherine gave a steady performance in her first public speech as a royal on Monday, conquering her nerves to address children and staff at a hospice.

She looked confident though sounded a little apprehensive as she paid tribute to staff and volunteers’ efforts helping children with life-threatening conditions at the Treehouse centre in Ipswich, eastern England.

The former Kate Middleton, who was wearing a royal-blue dress, confessed to one wellwisher after the address: “I find doing speeches nerve-wracking.” The 30-year-old Duchess of Cambridge appeared to have memorised the speech, glancing at her notes only occasionally.

She told a packed audience she regretted that William, the second in line to the throne, could not be with her — he is in his final week of a six-week training period as an air force helicopter pilot in the Falkland Islands. “I am only sorry that William can’t be here today; he would love it here,” she said.

“A view of his — that I share — is that through teamwork, so much can be achieved.”

Catherine visited the charity privately last year when researching which causes she wanted to support.