Kate Middleton
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, his wife Kate Middleton, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, near Bucklebury in southern England, Dec. 25, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Matthews/Pool

Kate Middleton appeared for her first royal engagement of this year Wednesday at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in north London. The Duchess of Cambridge became the patron for several charities after Queen Elizabeth II stepped down from some of the roles in 2016.

Middleton wore a belted blue coat by Eponine, teamed with navy pumps by Rupert Sanderson, during her appearance.

The visit to the children's charity was designed to draw attention to mental health issues that affect children. Middleton arrived at the Early Years Parenting Unit, which opened in April 2011 and offers assessment and treatment program to parents with personality disorders and their children under five who are at risk of being taken into care. Middleton met parents who completed the treatment program and was keen to hear about their experiences.

Just a day before Middleton resumed her royal duties, Prince William also started his engagements Tuesday by visiting a Centrepoint hostel in London. The Duke of Cambridge is the patron of Centrepoint, which is a leading charity for homeless people in the 16-25 year age group. Prince William spent time with staff who run the hostel and colleagues from Centrepoint’s Learning Team who provide workshops and training sessions.

While the 35-year-old duchess is taking over more royal duties this year, many speculations made the rounds about Middleton wearing the crown when Queen Elizabeth II dies or abdicates. Middleton will only be given a ceremonial queen title, and would be known as a royal consort, if and when her husband takes the throne after Prince Charles, who is first in line to sit on the throne.

Since the 90-year-old monarch skipped annual royal services during Christmas and New Year's Eve due to a bad cold, several false reports surfaced about her death. However, on Sunday, the queen made her first public appearance amid her health issues.

The royal couple, who will soon be moving to Kensington Palace from their current residence in Norfolk, spent Christmas 2016 with the Middletons, away from ­Sandringham for the first time since George, 3, and Charlotte, 19 months, were born.