By Deborah Arthurs
Letter of support: The Duchess of Cambridge was touched by the bravery of leukaemia sufferer Fabian Bate during a visit to the new Oak Centre for Children and Young People at The Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, Surrey, last month
The Duchess of Cambridge has written a moving letter to a nine-year-old cancer patient she met last month on a visit to the Royal Marsden hospital.
Catherine sent the note of support to young leukaemia sufferer Fabian Bate, with whom she spent time when she and William attended the opening of a new children's wing at the hospital.
The hand-signed letter, believed to be her first personal act of charity since marrying into the royal family, spoke movingly of how the Duchess had been touched by the boy's 'strength of character'.
'This must be a troubling time for you, your parents and your sisters, but I know I left the Royal Marsden assured by how incredibly talented, kind and clever the team at the hospital are,' she wrote.
'Combined with your belief and positive energy, you couldn’t be in better hands.'
Prince William and Kate made the visit to the Surrey hospital last month, following in the footsteps of Princess Diana, whose first solo engagement in 1982 was a tour of the hospital.
The Duke of Cambridge took over as president of the Royal Marsden following his mother’s fatal Paris car crash in 1997.
In her note, written on St James’s Palace headed notepaper, Kate expressed delight at the news that Fabian’s two older sisters Casiia, 11, and Oleander, 17, have been found to be a bone marrow match.
In the hand-signed letter Catherine expressed her delight that Fabian's sisters had been found to be a bone marrow match for the young boy
The family hope Fabian will be in line for a transplant in December.
'Despite the enormously demanding course of treatment you are undergoing, I was so touched by your strength of character and delighted to hear the news that one of your big sisters will be able to donate bone marrow to you later this year,' she wrote.
'I will keep my fingers crossed that your health goes from strength to strength over the months ahead.'
Following their meeting last month, Kate promised to write some words on Fabian’s personal blog, which he uses to keep family and friends up-to-date with his progress.
However, his family were flabbergasted when the letter from the Duchess arrived at his home address.
The Duchess of Cambridge attended the opening of the Royal Marsden's new Oak Centre for Children and Young People with the Duke of Cambridge, who has been president of the hospital since his mother's death in 1997
Fabian’s father Darrell, 47, a manager at Kingston College, said he was astonished and moved by the Duchess's gesture.
'It was a very personal letter,' he told the Evening Standard. It certainly didn’t look like the standard templates these official letters so often use. It contained very specific information that she must have remembered.
'We were very touched as she must do a lot of this stuff and to remember Fabian is very moving.'
Diagnosed with leukaemia in 2006, Fabian won his initial battle with the cancer but it returned in July this year, necessitating intensive chemotherapy treatment.
Brave Fabian spends almost all his time on the ward at the Royal Marsden, keeping up with his studies through specialist teachers who visit the hospital.
Catherine, 29, is sifting through hundreds of offers to decide which charities and patronages to take on.