WHEN the Duchess of Cambridge visited Oxford in February last year, schoolgirl Atlanta Hissey-Powell was just another face in the crowd waving at the Royal visitor.

This week, she went from bystander to guest after Kate, now six months pregnant and sporting a baby bump, invited her and six other children from Oxford and London to join her at a celebration at the National Portrait Gallery.

The event on Wednesday was held to mark the Oxford-based Art Room charity’s 11th anniversary.

Atlanta was among three pupils from Oxford Spires Academy and Matthew Arnold School who have benefited from its work to be invited to the celebration.

Atlanta, 13, from Greater Leys, Oxford, said she had been really excited to meet Kate.

She said: “It was really good, she’s really nice and polite. We shook hands and then she asked me a few questions. She asked me what projects we have done in the Art Room and whether I have enjoyed it or not. She seemed like a normal person.”

The teenager said she had been too nervous to ask about the royal baby, but she could definitely spot it. She said: “I couldn’t tell at first that she was pregnant because she had a really nice dress but when she turned to the side you could see she had a little bump.”

Atlanta has been using the Art Room at the school since she joined in Year Seven.

She said: “I like the Art Room because you can get your stress out and it’s quite quiet, and you can work with people who you don’t normally work with.”

The Duchess, who is the patron of the Art Room and the National Portrait Gallery, spoke at the reception on Wednesday of the power of art to change people’s lives.

Wearing a duck-egg blue empire-line Emilia Wickstead cocktail dress and blue heels, she told an audience of 250: “I am a firm believer in the power of art to make a difference and The Art Room is doing that on a daily basis.

“As patron, I feel immense pride to see the amazing work they are doing but I also feel hugely excited to look to a future with more Art Rooms, where many more challenging and vulnerable children will be helped.”

The charity’s founder and director Juli Beattie said at the reception: “To see so many people here, in the Duchess’s presence, is overwhelming.”

The event also saw the launch of a new fundraising campaign for the charity.