The Duchess of Cambridge joked that her husband is "in denial" about their third child yesterday after sharing an emotional embrace with her former midwife as she celebrated nursing worldwide.

Kate's lighthearted comment came as she visited a leading London hospital to launch the Nursing Now global campaign, aimed at raising the status and profile of nurses, and praised the health workers who "look after us in our happiest and saddest times".

Earlier she visited the London headquarters of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) – as she was named patron of the organisation – and gave her former midwife, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, a hug, reports the Daily Mail.

Before launching the Nursing Now campaign Kate met Lauren Kedwell, 36, and Jamie Parsons, 33, from Upper Beeding, West Sussex, whose daughter is being treated on the Snow Leopard ward at St Thomas' Hospital where nurses, not doctors, take the lead in patient care.

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Mr Parsons said: "I said 'congratulations, best of luck with the third one' and she said 'William's in denial'."

His 10-month-old daughter Amara Kedwell-Parsons has never been home but has been treated in six hospitals for Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a brain injury caused by oxygen starvation.

Kate put the couple at ease and made silly noises at the infant as she sat in a chair.

Ms Kedwell said: "She was going at my daughter", while her partner added: "She was just very understanding but also you could tell that she did have empathy and could see it was just a scenario that was challenging for us."

The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London. Photo / Getty Images
The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London. Photo / Getty Images

The Duchess spoke about her family connection with the health profession when she addressed nursing organisations and medical leaders from a range of countries including Norway, Uganda, Bahamas and Thailand, as she launched Nursing Now.

She said: "This campaign means a lot to me personally. My great-grandmother and grandmother were both volunteer nurses. They would have learned first-hand from working with the Voluntary Aid Detachment and the Red Cross about the care and compassion that sometimes only nurses can provide."

Kate, who wore a two-piece blue Jenny Packham dress and coat, praised nurses for their 'awe-inspiring' dedication and professionalism adding: "I was surprised to learn that to keep pace with the rising global demand, the world will need an additional 9 million nurses by 2030.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge delivers a speech to mark the launch of the Nursing Now campaign. Photo / Getty Images
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge delivers a speech to mark the launch of the Nursing Now campaign. Photo / Getty Images

"In simple terms, that's about 2,000 more nurses every day for the next 12 years. This shows that we must act now to support and develop nurses with the skills and talent to cope with the future global health needs."

Kate paired her bespoke coat with a pair of suede Jimmy Choo pumps, a £8,400 ($16,000) Tanzanite pendant and matching earrings from G. Collins & Sons, and a Stuart Weitzman clutch as she touched down in Marylebone on Tuesday.

And her vibrant blue ensemble has caused bookies to rate it an equal chance that Kate's outfit is a nod to her third child - despite odds previously being in favour of her having a girl.

Still visible on Kate's right hand was a henna tattoo she got during a visit to Sunderland's new Northern Spire bridge six days ago, which she had evidently had trouble scrubbing off.

Kensington Palace had earlier announced that the Duchess has officially become Patron of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), as well as Patron of the Nursing Now campaign.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets ten month old Amara Kedwell- Parsons. Photo / Getty Images
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets ten month old Amara Kedwell- Parsons. Photo / Getty Images

The Duchess has seen first-hand the impact of front-line medical professionals during visits to hospitals and hospices, and through her work in support of children's mental health and early intervention. The Duchess' patronages at RCOG and Nursing Now provide an opportunity to shine a light on these vital professions, both in the UK and internationally.

Professor Lesley Regan, President of the RCOG, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that The Duchess of Cambridge has graciously accepted our invitation to become the RCOG's second Patron, after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. It is a great honour for the College, now in its 89th year, and its 16,000 members in the UK and around the world.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Photo / Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Photo / Getty Images

"We are very grateful to Her Royal Highness whose support will help to raise our profile as a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women's healthcare at home and beyond."

Professor Regan also appeared to let slip that Kate would be giving birth to her third child at St. Mary's Hospital - as she did with George, four, and Charlotte, two - during a speech on Tuesday morning.

Kensington Palace declined to comment when contacted by MailOnline.