You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Emotional Kate Middleton hugs mum after autistic teenage son reveals battle to raise awareness of condition

Mirror logo Mirror 23/11/2016 Victoria Murphy

Credits: Getty Images © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Images The Duchess of Cambridge flung her arms around a sobbing mother tonight and told her: "I just had to do that as a mum."

Kate comforted Ceri Knapton who was overcome with emotion as her son, Ethan, 13, told the royal how he used his own battle with Autismand Asperger's Syndrome to raise awareness of the condition to benefit others.

Ceri, from Preston Lancashire, said afterwards: "I vowed that I wouldn't cry but was just overcome listening to Ethan.

"The Duchess just leant over and said to me 'I've got to give you a hug as a mum'.

"I couldn't believe it. It was such a kind gesture."

Credits: Getty Images

Credits: Getty Images
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

Kate was attending the Place2Be Wellbeing in Schools Awards at Mansion House in London in her role as patron of the charity, the UK's leading child mental health organisation.

Looking sophisticated in a black cocktail dress by designer Preen with black Pravda shoes and glittering diamond earrings, Kate arrived at 6.30pm for the event.

It was the second of two engagements today, following her visit to the Natural History Museum earlier today.

Place2Be provides in-school support and expert training to improve the emotional being of pupils at the earliest possible stage.

Ethan, a pupil at Fulwood Academy, was only diagnosed three years ago but has used his experiences to hold school assemblies about how it affects him and to raise awareness of the issues that affect him.

The teenager told the Duchess how he was bullied mercilessly at primary school because of his undiagnosed conditions, which can lead to problems with concentration and tics that cause him to shout without even being aware of it.

He said: "It was a very difficult time but my diagnosis helped me to cope with what I was experiencing.

"I decided that I wanted to speak out about it. There is no point in sitting back. I'd rather stand up and make a difference."

His mother told Kate: "It's not been an easy few years but he makes me feel so proud.

"His Autism and Asperger's aren't labels but an explanation of what makes Ethan the boy he is. The fact that he wants to use that to benefit others less able to speak out is just amazing."

Kate listened intently as Ethan, who works closely with staff at his mainstream to to develop idea to help other students, told here that he has even founded a computer games club to help them fund a place to relax.

The teenager, who was nominated for a Young Person Champion Award and hopes to be a games designer or an astrologer, said: "My confidence was low. I was bullied, I was pilloried at primary school.

"But Place2Be has helped me with counselling and coming to terms with things. And now I just want to help others."

The Duchess also spoke to Abdul Elashhab, eight, a pupil at Claremont Primary School in Manchester, who was awarded the Judges' Special Award.

The honour was to recognise the way in which the youngster pulled himself through a difficult time in his life and now mentors other children.

He said: "I was so shocked to be invited to meet her. It's a real honour."

Replay Video

More from The Mirror

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon