Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge opens the Kensington Aldridge Academy on January 19, 2015 in London
Keith Hewitt—Getty Images
By Simon Perry / People
January 19, 2015

A normally boisterous 2-year-old got tongue-tied and bashful when he was to present flowers to Princess Kate on Monday.

Ryan Dixon tried to run away and said, “No no, Mummy, no no Mummy,” when faced with Kate at a community event.

In response, an understanding Kate, 33, who wore a baby blue coat by maternity designer Seraphine, told him, “I would be shy as well,” as the boy’s mother, Tracy Samuels, presented the Duchess with the bouquet of white lilacs and nasturtiums.

After a quiet weekend spent with husband Prince William and little Prince George at her parents’ home in Bucklebury, Kate came to London’s Kensington neighborhood to meet with volunteers and beneficiaries of the charity Family Friends.

Although Kensington is known for its fabulously wealthy residents and its palace, it also has areas of deprivation, so Family Friends provides mentoring services to families in need.

In addition to chatting with Samuels, a single mother, and little Kate also spoke with all the volunteers and families in attendance.

One woman, Marie-Christine, told Kate how Family Friends “had literally saved me.”

The mother of three was a refugee to the U.K. after her family was slaughtered in the Rwandan genocide.

“I was in such a bad place and felt so alone but [my Family Frieds mentor] pulled me through it,” she told reporters.

“My children are happy and healthy, I have finished my degree and gone back to work. I have even started mentoring other refugees,” she said. “The Duchess was lovely, very empathetic and said she was happy for me.”

Kate then headed to the new Kensington Aldridge Academy, which she formally opened. She visited a history class and spoke to children about their daily reading lessons.

She also stopped by the school’s Creates Hub for young entrepreneurs, and met students who are designing items for sale at nearby Portobello Road Market, Notting Hill.

Next, she was set to open the neighboring leisure center that’s been built on the same spot as an old pool where William, 32, and his brother Prince Harry, learned to swim.

Monday’s events follow her first public engagement of the year to see an art therapy class and a visit to a fostering group.

She’s expected to join her parents for a family winter vacation in the Caribbean next week, as mum Carole is set to mark her 60th birthday on Mustique. The Middletons make annual holidays to the sunshine island – last year Kate took George for the first time, while the previous year she and William had a babymoon there.

As for William, he is currently hitting the books, doing his commercial pilots’ license exams before on-board training for his air ambulance job that begins in the spring.

This article originally appeared on People.com

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