Friday, 25 September 2015

Kate's Secret Visit to Women's Prison

The Duchess of Cambridge carried out a secret engagement at HMP Send, a women's prison in Surrey, where she met people involved in the fight against addiction. The visit was previously unannounced and carried out under a media blackout due to security concerns. 


Today's visit was perhaps an unusually gritty one for the Duchess who had never stepped through the doors of a prison before.


It was very much an extension of Kate's role as patron of Action on Addiction, with Kate there to see how the Rehabillitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt) is working to help those addicted to drugs or alcohol. The organisation's service has proved incredibly effective, leading to a 65% reduction in reoffending.



In 1992 RAPt founded the first drug treatment facility in a UK prison. Today they are the leading provider of intensive, abstinence-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes in UK prisons, and provide high-quality drug and alcohol services to over 20,000 people every year within the criminal justice system and in the community. I spent some time researching their work and was really struck by their positive attitude and heartened to see phrases such as "the work we do at Send and in many prisons across the country shows that anyone is capable of real change".


The Duchess sat down and chatted with female prisoners and ex-offenders now involved in rehabilitation, including Isha Walker.


Kate heard a selection of personal stories and first-hand accounts on the role addiction played when offending. An important focus of the visit was understanding the impact of addiction on the prisoners' families, mental illness and other challenges from their pasts.


More from the Mail Online's story:

'The Duchess, whose interested in RAPt stemmed from her work with mental health and addiction charities, looked visibly moved when a former inmate, Kirsty, 36, told her how as the daughter of addicts she first became aware of drugs.
'I remember finding a margarine tub under my dad's bed that had syringes in it. I was maybe five or six. It was normalised for me.'
 Kirsty, 36, who now helps sex workers with addiction issues, said it was 'quite surreal' meeting the duchess. 'But she really puts you at your ease.'
She said the visit would help raise the awareness for the work done by RAPt. 'Addicts are not the great advertisements for humanity,' she said. 'But to hear that there are potential reasons, we did not just wake up and decide to tear through our families' lives and create chaos in our communities.' 

The RAPt addiction treatment programme at HMP Send is the only 12-step prison-based drug and alcohol programme for women in the country. "It is tailored to support the needs of women with addiction who have often experienced deep trauma and need specialist support to build a positive and crime-free life. The programme focusses on building healthy relationships with partners, children and other family members after the often traumatic and damaging impact of addiction and crime".

RAPT

The Palace said the visit reflected Kate's "interest in learning how organisations support people living with substance misuse issues, and the impact of addiction within the wider family network".


Send houses around 280 prisoners, with a higher proportion of prisoners serving life for murder than any other prison. Former inmates include the Duchess of York's former hairdresser, Jane Andrews, who murdered her boyfriend.

Following the visit, the Palace released these remarks from Kate:

"I was reminded today how addictions lie at the heart of so many social issues and how substance misuse can play such destructive role in vulnerable people's lives. I saw again today that a failure to intervene early in life to tackle mental health problems and other challenges can have profound consequences for people throughout their lives.
 I am grateful to the women I met for sharing their difficult personal stories with me. It is encouraging to learn how organisations like RAPt are offering specialist support to help people break the cycle of addiction and look forward to a positive and crime free life."

Before Kate left, she was presented with gifts by Ms Walker, including two small green aprons and pastries baked by inmates. The Duchess said of the aprons: “George is going to need it for his painting and his colouring.”


 Back to the Mail Online's story for more on Isha's personal story:

'Isha, 33, who has been in and out of prison for the last 10 years and is due to be released in December next year, told the duchess how her addiction to crack and heroin led her to prison. Three weeks ago, she said, she completed the 12-step RAPt programme, the only one of its kind in women's prisons in Britain. 'I'm very happy and thankful that I did,' she said. 'It changed my life... thanks to RAPt I now know right from wrong.'
 She added earlier: 'I was addicted to crack and heroin and committed crimes to feed my habit. I've had lots of challenges to deal with – mental health issues, depression, and a history of abuse.'
Now she has done the programme, she said, she hopes she has a bright future ahead of her. 'I'm hoping to work with drug treatment charities and young people when I get out, and I feel I have a lot to offer.'

Today is one of these days, where I think we can all say, good on Kate. The fight against addiction is not a glamorous cause unfortunately, and we simply do not hear enough about the personal struggles, the people and their families behind it and what they are enduring. To see a member of the Royal family inside the prison hearing stories first hand sends a powerful message. Remarks released by the Palace from the Duchess indicate how touched she was, and indeed how much she learned today. Kate has endless potential to raise awareness and to bring a spotlight to bear on these issues and I'm so glad she's chosen to support the fight against addiction.


The Duchess chose the Eaton Dress in Winter White Tweed by British brand The Fold.

The Fold

The dress features a structured silhouette, v-neckline and flattering peplum detail at the waist. The Eaton is described as the "ultimate power dress" with long fitted sleeves, a pencil skirt and signature gold zip at the back. The piece retails for £365.

The Fold

It appears Kate sported the Jimmy Choo Aimee pumps in grey suede.


Kate carried her Hobbs Somerton Bag, a piece she's had in her collection since 2011.


The Duchess completed the look with her Kiki McDonough Grace white topaz and diamond earrings. The $1,190 earrings are available at Neiman Marcus.


Kiki McDonough

I thought the Duchess looked both stylish and professional; her choice of attire befitted her role whilst it avoided overtaking the very important focus of the day. It's one of those occasions where the engagement itself was very much the talking point.


There's a brief arrival video at the BBC. If you wish to find out more about the work of RAPt or to donate please click here. I'm very much looking forward to hearing your thoughts on today's visit. We'll see you tomorrow, when Kate is expected to join William and Harry for the England versus Wales match.

185 comments:

  1. I saw this on twitter early this morning, something to the effect the visit was not announced due to security reasons- makes perfect sense. Good for HRH, for learning about this horrible addiction (s). She will bring light to this as she does with any cause she is involved in. Side note: love the dress! she looks amazing and love the hair as well.

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  2. She looks fabulous!

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  3. A huge thank you to everyone who left comments on the visit. Apologies for the lateness of the post, I was away due to work commitments. It was a lovely surprise and a very important visit.

    Excited to hear your comments :)

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    1. As soon as I saw the Daily Mail article about it I came to your blog, then I remembered it had been a secret visit! Great to see your post, there's always so much information here! :)

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  4. I think it's a great cause. I know what drugs can do to a live, if had an ex-boyfrienf who was and is addicted to marihuana, and you're maybe thinking it's a soft drug, but it really changed his personalty for the worst. Drugs are bad no matter which kind!

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  5. Oh no Charlotte, not YOU as well! ;) The visit was not secret :P It was unnanounced, but clearly not secret :P I don't understand why all reports insist on calling it secret! (Love you still though!!)

    But I really got very happy when I saw this. And how she is connecting her work on mental health with her work on addiction and making connections between problems as a younth and continuing problems in adulthood! I love the shape this is taking, a shape I've seen signs of building for at least a year!! Must have been a very interesting visit for her and I read that it was very appriciated of the people that got to meet her! Very nice words as well. All in all a very sucsesful visit.

    Her clothes are very nice. Simple but still very pretty. I've never heard about the brand before but looking through their sight, all of their clothes looks to fit in to Kates work-style! I hope to see more of this brand on her, especially since it's London based! :)

    A very nice surprise! :D

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    1. Hello Rebecca,

      It was secret in the sense of the media blackout and last minute announcement. I agree with you, it was a very nice surprise and an area I would love to see Kate working more in :)

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    2. Yeah, I know Charlotte. I was half joking :) It just amuses me when it's printed on blogs and newspapers and say "Secret" :P hahah

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    3. I'm with you, Rebecca. If it was "secret" we still wouldn't know and there wouldn't have been the need for cameras. I like "not announced ahead of time". :P

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  6. This is the kind of thing I was expecting her to do ever since she got married to William
    I expected that she would do these kind of things more often...attending charity events or making appearances at charities
    I never liked the dinners she and William attended for saint Andrews because I'm sure they have the money they need
    And I want her to do more appearances like this than go to sporting events especially since she is still refusing to increase her work load, what few enegaments she does should have some sort of benefit to those in need or promoting a charity
    I think doing these kinds of events even tree times a week would go a long way in gaining back the love that I seem has gone away for her because I know I'm not the only one who has been extremely disappointed in her initiative to do some hard work
    And in terms of her clothes, I'm not a fan of gtey, I liked the structure of the dress but not a fan of the color
    Also I'm getting mixed reports from different reporters and some are actually saying Kate won't attend the rugby game tomorrow
    Do you know for sure that she is going?
    Sarah usa

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    1. Really? "Still refusing to increase work load..."? That's purely speculative, since we don't really know what's going on.

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  7. What a superb choice of charity/visit for Kate, it ties in so smoothly with her other interest areas and is an issue woefully underrepresented in the public at large. I completely approve of the visit being made under blackout, but I'm so grateful that it was addressed afterwards. It is a very important problem and Kate's words about tackling issues early are so true.

    It feels almost trivial to note that Kate looks amazing, in every respect (she does) and that the bangs are growing on me (her hair looks terrific here).

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    1. I had the same thought about her hair. Stunning, and love the slight shake up in style!

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  8. HER VISIT TODAY HELPED MAKE MY DAY. :)

    I think the photo of Kate (the 10th one down)
    is one of my top five favorites. Introspective perhaps, and who wouldn't be during that visit.

    As I said before, I think Kate handled the visit graciously and gracefully. The video really highlights how graceful she is, and that gracefulness is what makes her such a unique beauty. Along with that million dollar smile that could (and probably has) lit up Buckingham Palace.

    I would not be at all surprised if Kate's inner PR team do read this blog. Kind of taking Kate's PR pulse, so to speak. I believe it truly affects change. (I mean Claudia Bradby apparently reads this awesome blog, yay, so why not Kate's team, Becca, perhaps?)

    The dress and accessories were perfect for the visit. I even liked her bangs. I think they make her look more youthful.

    Julia, I hope this helped make your day also. :)
    Our princess seems to be coming around.

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    1. I understand what you mean but I don't think they would be able to plan and security check for a visit in a prison just for a few weeks complaining. This engagement have probably been in the plans for around 6 months.

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    2. Agree Rebecca and although it was a media blackout, I think the media were aware of the visit prior. When her engagements came out a few weeks ago it was indicated there would probably be two charitable visits this month as well as the Rugby.

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    3. Exactly Anon 21.42. And BBC was there reporting, and someone was let in filming (not in the prison, but in the house outside where she met the ex-offenders) and things like that. Someone on twitter was talking about how proud they were to have been involved in the planning of this big event etc. It's alot of security checks, planning etc that goes behind (I'm not saying Kate is doing that stuff!! Just that it needs time) and you can't do that in a month! Royals usually have some bigger stuff penciled into their calendars about 3 years before the event etc. So thinking they did stuff to counter recent bad press (like it has been commented many times) is not very realistic, in my opinion.

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  9. Just supports my views (just mine and others can have their view too) that Kate does things behind the scenes that we may never know about. Diana did many things that were not known until after her death.

    I believe she is stepping up her work now. I will not go I to a long post as I did that on the previous giveaway post.

    I will say she looks beautiful! Love the dress, the length, and thought it looked very professional but still appropriate for the venue and her age. She doesn't wear this color often. Very smart look. Er hair looks great too. Fringe is nice. I know I am in the minority in this one LOL

    Happy Friday

    DB

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  10. She looks gorgeous, and you're right, the outfit seems very appropriate for the visit: understated and elegant. The neckline really complements her new hairstyle!

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  11. Charlotte, I agree. This is a very important cause, and a historic visit. I hope her involvement will help lessen the stigma, so that more individuals can work towards recovery.

    On the more frivolous side, loved this dress. The material, structure and color are great. Actually, I'm wondering if she did read our fashion picks posts. I think one poster suggested something like this silhouette with a peplum, and I'm also fairly sure another talked about her trying a shirt dress . Of course, she's not going all out nor choosing the same pieces but I'm seeing some change here, I think. Still not enjoying that fringe though. It was in her eyes and flying across her forehead during the visit. However, the darker color suits her much better than the lighter red brown she was sporting.

    So happy to see her today. I love surprises!

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  12. I love the dress and think this was a wonderful visit for her to take on. Good for her. The outfit really shouldn't be the talking point for this event, but I can't help but think that this may have been a good opportunity for a stylish pair of pants (I know, I know, when pigs fly). Although I adore the dress and wish it was a part of my closet, it (plus Jimmy Choos) seemed a little out of touch for such a gritty engagement. I guess I just feel like something more low key may have made her more down to earth for the people she was visiting. But other than that- lovely look and a great cause!

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    1. We may need to learn to accept she will never be a "dress pants" kind of woman :)

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    2. Why should she dress any different for this visit than going to any other engagement?

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    3. Has anyone ever seen Carole Middleton wearing a pants outfit for business, etc.?

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    4. 2:07 Agree, I rarely wore pants in my younger professional years and still find skirts, except for weekend jeans a better option for most events. It really does just depend on ones preference for clothing.

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    5. I never wear pants. Exept for like... sweatpants and yoga pants at home. I just can never get comfortable in them. I rather wear pantyhose and a skirt than jeans (I know, I know... it's unusual). In the winter I have cotton/wool stockings (sometimes with an extra pair under when it's really cold.

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  13. Her hair looks better but the dress is too plain for my taste! It may looked better with different shoes and bag!

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    1. I think it was plain by choice this time though. She even wore smaller earrings than she has worn recently. This is a even where plain is very appropriate!

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    2. I agree Rebecca,

      She toned her outfit and accessories down today for obvious reasons. Don't think it was a coincidence. I think it was being considerate.

      California Girl

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  14. Kate has gorgeous hair. I would love thick, long hair like hers. She is beautiful!

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  15. Never apologize, Charlotte, you are always so quick!

    I will say just one thing about her choice of dress since that is obviously not important at all today but I thought she looked fabulous. Fitted her wonderfully, thought the color looked great on her and she looked professional and in charge. Great look!

    Other than that, I am so struck during these visits about how much help the royal family can be to the community. I have never heard anything else after a visit than rave reviews for the duchess. Listening to their stories and putting the spotlight on issues that do not get talked about nearly enough is such a way to encourage and help so much to the people going through these hard times. All I can say is great job Kate. She is so well spoken and really seems to want to listen to what people are saying. She comes across as very intelligent and caring.

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  16. Well Charlotte, in spite of the secret, unannounced visit, you came up with this post very quickly. Congrats!!!

    When I read she visited a prison, I couldn't believe my eyes:-) But it was true. Interesting and meaningful visit, finally.

    She dressed very simply but I liked it too, nice dress. Her hair though is growing very slowly on me. Thanks again!

    Oh by the way, when does the giveaway end?:-)

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    1. Hello!

      The giveaway will be open until at least Monday :)

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    2. How is the winner of the piece of Jewelry chosen?

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    3. Hello!

      The winner is chosen using a Random Number Generator. Each entry is numbered (for example, if one entrant completed four entry options they have four numbers).

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    4. Neat. Thanks Charlotte, :)

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  17. You are super ready, I always wonder how you keep in touch.

    Fashion file: The dress is Amazing but the haircut and the haircolour is Too heavy. Kate lost weight but her face looks somehow Too tired or empty by comparison. Besides, she is overdressed given the nature of the visit. But I hope I'll see the dress again

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    1. I don't think Kate was over dressed. I think a visit from an actually royal who cared about them and the program really must mean a lot to these women. This is probably going to be these women's one encounter with a royal, and I think it's important Kate played the part and kept the magic and excitement of the experience alive. Jeans and a blouse might be a bit of a let down.

      Think back to NYC trip and the little kids waiting outside to see the "Princess". They want to see a Princess. If Kate was in jeans it might be as if Kate was trying to lower herself to their level, instead of "Princess Kate" showing up looking like a Princess and be quite willing to talk and treat these women as humans and just like any women.

      Jail and addiction can both be very dehumanizing processes.

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    2. Thank you GertsRoyal, so well put and exactly what I was thinking.

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    3. Well said, GertsRoyal

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  18. I'm very impressed with Kate right now and I think this visit will combat some of the claims that she's only interested in doing the "glamorous" work. I myself have been feeling a little disappointed in Kate since it seemed like her engagements this fall would be more fun and lighthearted (Rugby, James Bond, State Dinner, etc.) But after her visit to the Anna Freud Center and especially now after her visit today, I'm much more hopeful that she will continue championing the mental health cause, a cause that frankly doesn't get much attention but is very important, especially in children.

    I remember comments over the summer about how Kate really didn't seem to have a passion for a specific cause, and at the time, I agreed with those commenters. But now, I think (and sincerely hope) that mental health, specifically children's mental health, will become her passion. Because Kate can do so much good, and I think that her visit today shows that she is willing to go beyond what is expected. What I mean by this is that in the past Kate's support for Action on Addiction was to mainly attend galas, with the exceptions of two visits to different treatment centers. I expected Kate to continue with this pattern. Yet today, she visited a women's prison and heard first hand accounts on the relationship between addiction and mental health, which exceeded my expectations.

    Some might say that this event was only scheduled as a cover for the rugby matches and movie premiere, but if this is true, I think she would have done a run of the mill charity engagement and KP would have announced it to garner good press. But this was not a run of the mill charity engagement and so I think that Kate's interest in mental health might soon be developing into a passion.

    Those are just my two cents

    Ps: I love Kate's outfit! Its professional and polished without a blown up skirt or a flash of leg to distract us from the visit ;)

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  19. I am super impressed by this visit. I think it is so wonderful that she has chosen charities to focus on that are not so "glamorous" or popular. And what a great program this is! Bravo.

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  20. What a great cause for Kate to support, loving her fringe too.

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  21. Love love love that she is doing this. Pretty gritty stuff and she looked very professional. Love the hair. SEE, we never really know what is happening behind the scenes. I know she is still not working at the level that say the Princess Royal is, but I think this sparks where we are going to see her interests when the children get older... Mental health, drug abuse, and children's welfare. She is getting her ground and finding her niches. Even if something that is "elitist" like 1851 trust is in her portfolio, she is visiting prisons and talking to drug addicts to try to stop the cycle. Pretty cool Kate!

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    1. 1851 Trust Elitist?

      You do know it's a program that takes kids who have disabilities, are in foster care, recently lost a close family member, depressed, bullied, poor economic background, etc. and uses sailing to encourage them, teach them about the marine industry, and to learn a new skill?

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    2. I think she meant the framework/administration of the organization, not the clientele.

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    3. And how is 1851 Trust's framework/administration Elitist?

      How can a framework even be elitist? This is taking kids and showing them the benefits and joys of sailing, working as a team, a sense of accomplishment and skill. Children participating in sports have improved academic achievement, self-esteem, goal-setting ability, leadership skills, will be physically and mentally healthier.

      And the administrations is bunch of sailers, olympians, royal navy, charity executives who are dedicated to helping young people with their problems. The administrations are people who have experienced the joys and benefits of sailing, and know what a therapeutic effect it can have. Which is why they want to promote a sport that they love, and create programs that make this sport accessible anyone regardless of whether the kids (as I said above) “has disabilities, is in foster care, recently lost a close family member, depressed, bullied, poor economic background, etc”

      But this is Elitist?

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    4. I don't like ranking what charities are more "worthy", but in this case I think people are just saying that there is a difference in "heavyness" of a charity working with addiction and it's connection to crime and to get kids a chance to sail! Both are still good things though, and every chance for a child to develop skills and much else is a work within the theme of "childrens mental health and stable upbringing". Not that not having sailed makes you unhappy in life, obviously not! But these kids that get that chance build team-skills etc. Just as the scouts etc :)

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    5. Anon 01:09. Not sure what you are referring as to the "framework/administration of the organization" being "elitist" and not the clientele. If the charity is helping those who need this help, what difference does it make if the Board or "administrators" have the financial ability to help kids develop better coping skills. Most charities are structured in this manner.

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    6. 02:52,

      Exactly. The charities are founded and run by accomplished and moneyed members of the community (and the monies they can raise) to develop programs to help less fortunate members of that community.

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    7. Go to the 1851 Trust website to see what they do. Not much. They offered sailing lessons to children this summer. Basically it's a charity that the British America's Cup competitors set up piggybacking off an already existing sailing foundation. Elitist because the vast majority of people, including the children they claim to be helping, could never afford to sail at that level, or a level even close to it. Bring sailing to the masses? You have to have a boat. You have to maintain it. You have to store/moor it when you aren't using it. Not exactly within the reach of the disenfranchised and needy.

      There's nothing wrong with what they're doing. If kids want to go sailing and have some fun I'm glad they can. But let's not make it out to be some heavyweight helping the needy thing. It isn't.

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    8. I was the original poster. I put elitist in quotations because that was what a lot of commenters had been berating her about. I actually think all her patronages are worthy. I was more commenting that this should silence the hating. Sorry did not mean for what what it was misconstrued. I am one of those that is a die hard fan!

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    9. Not sure if my post got on there but the elitist was in quotes. Kind of mocking what some others thought of her patronage . I think all are for a good cause but this due to its nature should make her naysayers happy

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    10. If it helps Kids from ending up in a place Kate visited today what difference does it make HOW it is accomplished. The key is getting to children to instill skills early and keep them off the streets. If going sailing and teaching working together does that then it is just as "worthy" as any other so called "charity".

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  22. Love, love, love this look. Gorgeous choice and very fitting.

    And most importantly - love, love, love that she choose this visit. Not glamorous to visit a prison or talk about addiction and I'm glad that she did.

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  23. Hello! Long-term reader, first time commenter here. It is simply great that she has made this visit, well done Duchess! Visits like this have the potential to provide such a boost for the charity and also for the people who are working so hard to change their own lives and those of others. On a tangential note, I think her hairstyle is lovely and very becoming.

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  24. Words can't express how much I hate that haircut.

    But I love the ensemble and kudos to her for making this visit. It must have been very emotional and difficult.

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    1. Almost a ten, but missed again. The outfit was straight on point, absolutely great, professional, no leg or cleavage, love the fabric, cut, and flying the flag for British fashion, all at the same time. But....couldn't tell she had a haircut, it's as long as ever and flying in her face as usual.

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  25. Oh wonderful! What a great surprise. And I really liked hearing her comments after the visit. What a good thing to do. Good on her.
    More of this, eh? :)
    Also, she looked super and is totally rocking that fringe! :)

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  26. I think Kate look very appropriate today. I still don't like her bangs but the hair look much better today as well.

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  27. The nature of the visit and the cause she is supporting make me admire and respect The Duchess even more than I already do. Her interest in matters of true importance is evident and seeing her share that interest and put her stamp on such issues and organizations is very refreshing. Her sartorial choices were spot on and quite flattering as well. She looked comfortable and in her element.

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  28. I think she looked great and I am really happy to see her involved in such a cause.

    Bev in Colorado

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  29. I was excited to see her surprise visit! Certainly a very important cause. I thought she looked lovely. The dress she wore was very pretty, simple, and chic. I liked the fringe much better styled this way. Her hair is amazing but some part of me wants her to cut it just to see how she would look with a different style, like a long bobbed cut and partly for the hysteria and frenzy that would ensue. I imagine women running to the salon to get "the Kate" haircut ;)

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  30. I did not like the bangs at first but today I think her hair looks just lovely. The bangs soften the whole style. She looks so, so pretty.

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  31. Perfection....so glad she chose this particular subject...bravo Duchess !!!!

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  32. I love what she's wearing. The hair? She needs some help there....

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    1. To me, she could have worn pig tails and I honestly would not say a word about it. Her visit there today brought tears to my eyes and, quite frankly, I am still on cloud nine about it.

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    2. pig tails, lol

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  33. Bless the Duchess for her work on bringing awareness to mental illness. It is one of those "silent" illnesses that many in the public arena shun because, I think, it is not "glamorous" or there are no organizations with lots of money to lobby politicians to influence public policy. However, we are all affected and sadly many go undiagnosed and suffer a great deal and others are stigmatize both equally devastating. I can't imagine how emotional such work is for those who administer the program and even for the Duchess visiting: it must have not been easy. Changing gears, the Duchess looked stunning! I truly love the tweed dress and the color is fantastic on her.

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  34. Prisoners are treated with such disdain in our society and are an easy target. These women are dealing with more hardships than we can possibly imagine. Kate visiting this prison shows a real understanding of the consequences of addiction and a true compassion for the humanity of women in prison which is so often neglected in favour of labelling them as 'criminals'. Colour me quite impressed.

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    1. I agree! This must be a huge confident boost for them, since alot of prisoners become that way because noone is beliveing in them. Getting the approval that someone "high up" is rooting for them can be really powerful! And I've already seen discussions on blogs, talking about the correlation between addiction and crime etc so she got the ball rolling! :)

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    2. 21:32,

      Color me very impressed also. We are talking about our very pampered princess. I am still in awe. (and so thankful she did that.)

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    3. She's going to have to do more than this to impress me. She basically did a photo op in a prison with carefully selected inmates, and released a quote on twitter that any of us could have said. Yes, I already knew that drug addiction is a contributing, or major, factor in crime. Tell me something I don't know or what Kate did to help that other than wear a very nice dress, accept gifts for her children and put a 24 hour focus on that particular organization. Everyone will have forgotten all about it by the time she shows up to the next rugby match.

      She's always observing and learning, never doing. What happened to children's hospice care? She was supposed to be big on anti-bullying. She cares about mental health for children. Other than visits where she looks concerned, she doesn't *do* anything. I can see a huge connection between children's mental health and the criminals of tomorrow. Why not talk about that?

      I just don't understand them. Until there's continuity and not just activity flurries (a) after not-so-positive stories are printed, or (b) before another vacation I will continue to be underwhelmed.

      And, yes, I actually do hope I'm wrong.

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    4. Can you give me examples of what she is supposed to DO? I am honestly wondering. The only thing I can think of is giving speeches. What else? She can't go councel on schools or treatment centers. She already goes to fundraisers and play the part of "bait" for all the big fishes. She goes and shines light on the charities. What else is there within her role that she can do? This is an honest question. (Also, I am tired so I might be missing alot of obvious stuff. Both that she is doing or that she could be doing.)

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    5. bluhare, you did not disappoint. It takes a lot of guts to do what she did today, especially given her royal status. This is a difficult subject to deal with in *any* setting and she did it in a prison. Without inner strength and credibility the visit would have been a failure. I also believe it's a great disservice to the women she met with to dismiss it as a photo op. But oh well...

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    6. Surely one can give credit when credit is due. I am with Rebecca on this. What is she supposed to do besides highlight causes and social issues. Her observations are a way of bringing focus to the issues. It has been quite obvious for some time that there is a theme in all the charities she is visiting and in that, there is the continuity.

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    7. Bluhare,

      What you describe Kate doing is exactly what the Queen, Anne and Sophie do.

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    8. Bluhare you are oh so hard on our Duchess. I just don't understand your disdain. Can Kate do anything right? If so respect your comments and yet you seem so annoyed with it all of late.

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    9. I understand, Rebecca, I do. To be honest I wonder if Kate really doesn't *know* what she wants to make of her role yet. That being said, what could she do. Perhaps she could actually partner with the organization and participate in something. An event. An initiative. Be their voice. Actually host a fund raiser. Could you imagine how much money could be raised if Kate put her considerable royal weight behind something? She'd shut me up, for one thing. :P

      I think of Diana shaking the hand of an AIDS patient without gloves, and walking through a land mine field. I think of Camilla and her toiletry kit initiative for women who've just been through the intrusive rape examinations necessary to prosecute their attack, because the only thing they want to do is shower and wash their attack away. I think of Charles who founded The Princes Trust with £7500, and is now forming groups to help restore stately homes and employ local people. Harry with his work with Walking with the Wounded, Sentebale and The Invictus Games. She has a lot of examples, if she'd only look.

      But, yes, I do think shining a light on something is better than leaving it in the dark. I just wish that light didn't get turned off so quickly.

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    10. what more could she do to further her charities/issues of choice?
      For example, she could focus on something that the prisoners are lacking, such as sports or exercise opportunities, counseling services, job skills training, etc. etc. Then she could contact the people in charge and find out what steps to take, and raise or donate funds, gather some partners or staff to help, and do some lobbying for the cause, and draw attention to the issue thru various types of media and live appearances. I've read many instances of people who champion their causes in this manner, even William for his wildlife.

      Delete
    11. Kim from Washington26 September 2015 at 05:34

      Bluhare, your statement is both articulate and respectful. Spot on. Thank you for showing how it can be done. I appreciate your insight. Seems sensible; British even:)

      Delete
    12. That was her first visit there, Bluhare. Maybe she will go beyond what the Queen, Anne and Sophie do and offer a specific fund raiser. Give her a chance. Otherwise, following the Queen, Anne's and Sophie's formats seem to be tried and true.

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    13. 04:14,

      I agree. I think that was huge for Kate and a great beginning.

      Delete
    14. The first thing that Kate can do is actually make a statement saying that their Foundation (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry Foundation) which apparently has cash sitting in their coffers that was not disbursed (according to last year's statement) is donating $1 million to tackle the problem of addiction - to RAPT and Action on Addiction. The next thing she can do is start raising money. She can partner with other international organizations to raise more awareness on addiction and to have more research on the neurological antecedents of addiction. She can start a fund that funds scientists who are doing such research - trust me there are thousands in the UK alone.
      She can do a lot. * A LOT* Just look at CP Mary is doing with her causes - women's education and well-being for example. She is all over the world and all over Denmark talking about it and trying to get money for it.

      A single appearance does not a mark make. Kate has a long long way to go. Let us be patient and let her get there before we smother her with accolades. Reading these comments one would think that she just got the Nobel Peace Prize or something.
      What would Malala say ? huh? She'd probably be laughing her socks off by now.

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    15. I'm with you bluhare - my comment is below in another thread. I agree with distinguishing between what is helpful to a community and what is PR for the royal family. So what that Kate went to a prison? How does that change anything for anybody? She exerted the same amount of influence that she does on the outcome of a rugby match. So I'm with the folks who are not impressed with the pictures of the pretty woman who visited a prison.

      Delete
    16. Exactly, Barbara, thank you. She could get photographed going into Action on Addiction's "bar" and restaurant for lunch too. There's something totally simple that probably would really boost attendance because Kate went to lunch there. To piggyback off her art degree . . . curating a show of prisoner art to benefit Action on Addiction. Curating a show at NPG to benefit them. The list is long and would keep the organization from dropping off the radar in this day of the 24 hour news cycle. .

      And, Kim, thank you for your comment. I try hard to keep it to the topic and to be careful in my wording. Thank you for noticing.

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    17. Nicely put bluhare. May I ask you sth? Were/Are you in PR? Certainly you have tons of wonderful ideas!! Just curious!:)

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    18. These are great suggestions bluhare. Whatever happened to that bar - those smoothies looked so delicious and Kate even had one named after her !
      I hope their team takes note.

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    19. Bluhare, i agree with all you said. She could do more of course! Get involved, give solutions, try to change things for the better, not just visit and highlight things for a day and then nothing! She has to do better than that to prove she really cares.

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    20. No, I'm not in PR, blue27, although I'm very flattered you thought so! Me saying the appropriate thing and smoothing things over? Not really. :) Thanks to the others as well -- some great ideas!

      I am a very good outside the box thinker though. I can come up with a lot of creative solutions -- mostly unworkable, but some pretty good - if I think about something for a while. And sometimes they just come, like they did in this thread.

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    21. Bluhare, Anon 6:25, Moxie, Barbara... great ideas for how she can go a step further!

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  35. This was a lot more of a Diana esq engagement, and I loved it, I hope that in the coming years George and Charlotte become aware of more things like this, and poverty

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  36. Nice dress on Kate, perfect for this time of year, and I like the color. But, as I was afraid of, those bangs are already starting to grow out of control. They should be trimmed every two weeks

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  37. I though Kate looked lovely. I liked her dress and perferred her fringe today than the last time I saw her. It was great to see her bringing light to the impact drugs have on prison systems and how they are the gateway to many ending up here. Goes to show just putting people in prison without rehabilitation programmes can impact on recidivism.

    KiwiNic

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  38. Kate looked professional. An interesting engagement. I hope she will champion other mental health issues not necessarily associated with addiction, such as panic attacks. The style of her dress is similar to those we've seen her in before, but it seemed appropriate. The fringe makes a change, although it's getting a touch long.

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  39. Nice to see her doing this sort of work. Would she ever wear pants for something like this? Diamond earrings in a prison seem a little out of place. I love how she looks but the cause is the important thing.

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    1. Are those diamond or topaz?

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    2. As I've understood it, the big ones are topaz and the little ones around are diamonds. (Also, these are the earrings we see her in when shopping, going to see polo with lupo, climbing trees in rainforest etc + "fancier" events so I think these are her go to everyday kind of earrings)

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    3. Wow you have nothing nice to say today. This was a great engagement and she pulled it off with flying colors. Nothing wrong with the way she dressed or what jewlery she wore.

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    4. It is so easy to criticize.

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  40. Such a great issue for the duchess to highlight. And visiting a prison, which is out of left field for her, is an intriguing way to do it. A good PR move because it gets people talking about the various ways addiction and mental health affect people. The statistics for those in prison with a mental health issue (and who often were self medicating with drugs before prison) is alarmingly high.
    I would love to see kate continue championing awareness and support programs like Rapt and the Anna Freud Centre. It would make my heart sing if she visited some mental health organisations while on an overseas visits. Last time it was child hospices, so why not youth mental health? I would be happy to discuss youth mental health issues and support agencies in Australia with Kate :-)

    I think Kate's outfit complimented her visit. Professional yet not intimidating for those she was speaking with. Also, does anyone else think her slight change in fashion sense has aligned her more with Princess Mary or Denmark?

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    1. I thought her hairstyle very reminiscent of Princess Mary of Denmark

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  41. No apologies needed for being tardy- your posts are always fantastic!
    This visit is clear indication of Kate's commitment to tough causes and of her ability to handle herself like a veteran Royal. Way to go Kate!

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  42. I'm really glad for Kate, that she went into a situation that had to have been--like most of us-- outside of her comfort zone, and as you noted so well Charlotte, that feeling of imprisonment that makes all of us wince a little. But she did it, she did it stylishly, with interest and seemed compassionate without being patronizing. I appreciated her comments afterward, baby steps to a speech. Her choice of outfit was spectacular. Very classy without overshadowing the event, hair tasteful (why do I feel Carole's hand here?). No matter. Great engagement, and I hope it encourages those who are dealing with incredible challenges that people care about them, are rooting for them, and have some great programs to help. Glad to see too that Jason reads these blogs and has finally pushed the Cambridges a little. It's about time, and maybe when W&K see the good press, they'll take a breath and see were all in it together. S

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    1. S, it really, really does seem like Jason or someone in the Royal circle reads this blog doesn't it? Actually, they would be very remiss not to. They get international perspectives both positive and negative. And from knowledgable and articulate people. Kind of like one stop PR shopping, feedback wise.

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    2. They probably keep tabs, yes :) I know a Countess of Wessex blog have alot of contact with her team and get some info sometimes. And we know magazines looks at blogs and forums for comments and general tone. So it would surprise me if they didn't check around on blogs like these. Probably not Kate herself as it would make you go mad to read stuff about yourself like that :P But someone probably checks it. I don't think it has direct effects as some seem to think (for reasons I explained above) but I do think they keep an eye on it.

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  43. What an important cause and kudos to Kate for pulling off the perfect blend of professionalism and caring. Going into a setting where an audience may be very skeptical of a royal visitor requires strength and credibility.

    On a less important note, I did like the bangs today. Having the hair pinned back away from her face gives her a lift. Kate looked beautiful!

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  44. Brava Kate ! Well done !

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  45. Lovely post, Charlotte. I haven't been commenting much as I am travelling in Japan. Opening the Duchess Kate blog and keeping up from the other side of the world at days' end is a treat. This dress in particular has a very Japanese aesthetic. The understated and muted colour, the asymmetrical lines and the quiet reserve that screams elegance. The gray on gray accessories, too, keep up to that theme.

    There are so many gorgeous designers here whose creations would look stunning on Catherine. (Well on almost anyone if we could afford them.)

    That might be a fun post sometime: Designers Kate Could Love organized by nationality in a Kate Loves thread. There's an Armani jacket and bag in the window next to my hotel that gives me an acute case of lust every time I walk by. It would be perfect for Catherine, though I wouldn't kick it out of my closet if by some miracle I were to find it there.

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    1. Funny how those things can call your name isn't it Philly, even if it is in Japanese. :)

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  46. Amy, Detroit Michigan26 September 2015 at 01:42

    Good for the Duchess. Addiction is an ugly thing, and I have seen first hand how it has torn families apart. I hope these women can find a way out of the darkness.

    I will say, it's a good thing I like the dress, or I would have felt tacky as all get out criticizing it due to how important I find the actual reason for the day. LOL

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    1. so true Amy, so true, lol

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  47. This was a very important engagement for Catherine, in my opinion. Just going inside a prison is a daunting thing to do when you are free to leave later, but to go in as a representative of the Royal Family and by extension of the country itself, she has to have inner strength, poise, and confidence to meet people who have seen every false face possible and who know the sincere from the hypocrites right away, and she has to establish rapport with them and be empathetic to their stories. She did it, showing grace, tact, and sincerity, which are priceless qualities for a woman in her position to have and cultivate, and these character traits are becoming her signature style. I do admire what she is doing here.

    As for her wardrobe, I thought everything was perfect. I saw some criticism that this might have been too expensive an outfit to wear to prison, but I thought, along with some of the rest of you, that to dress down for the visit would have been the wrong choice. These women need to see some glamour, and her choice of a very chic, sophisticated style today was exactly the right touch.

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    1. AMEN Marci. Nicely said.

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    2. Totally agree.

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    3. Great post, Marci.

      I think she showed empathy and compassion rather than sympathy which can be seen as condescending

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  48. Marci, nicely said

    and I agree with every word. This is the essence of what I, and I believe many others, have been waiting to see. And today finally, voila', there it was. HalleluYah

    California Girl

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  49. Rose from Montreal, Canada26 September 2015 at 01:59

    Thank you for this surprise post Charlotte. I am so impressed by what Kate is doing. Today she exceeded my expectations. So very proud of her for bringing attention to this great cause. Making a link from childhood mental health to prison is a powerful message. Love her outfit.

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  50. I love that she chose to move on "further" down the time line of what can happen if some of her other patronages don't continue on. It ties it all in together but from a different, less explored angle.

    I had never heard of the clothing brand The Fold until today. I went to their website and perused some of the designs they sell and found myself thinking that the DoC could probably wear most of them. They seem to fit her style.

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  51. I'm not sure what the purpose of her visit was? To highlight the counselors who are actually helping people? To encourage funding for more counselors? Are they charity funded and she wants folks to consider providing funding for the charity? To encourage Alcoholic Beverage companies who sponsor Rugby World Cups to dial back on their Ad campaigns?

    Kate goes to learn more, but Kate never follows up to provide any leadership or direction. Kate never says anything like - "These people are doing important work, That is why William and I have decided to give one million pounds of our personal fortune to continue to provide services for folks willing to try and make a change. Please join us." or "These counselors are doing important work. That is why William and I have decided to give one million pounds of our personal fortune to create scholarships for folks interested in training for careers in addiction counseling. Please join us." or "These folks are doing important work. That is why we have directed our foundation to earmark the funds that others have provided in our accounts for more programs like this." or "This has got to stop. That is why William and I have directed our foundation to earmark the funds that others have provided in our accounts for a campaign to ban addictive substance advertising on UK television and internet channels."

    So I think there is more work to do if Kate is to be effective with these appearances. Otherwise the story is just public relations for Kate - and doesn't actually benefit the community in anyway. I'll be curious to see if she stops making appearances for British/Commonwealth brands that are addictive or if she does not recognize the incongruity.



    ReplyDelete
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    1. Isn't the visit that Kate made today, exactly what the Queen, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Sophie do? Why do you expect W/K to do differently?

      They do have the philanthropy in the form of their Charity trust fund. They asked people to give to charity in lieu of wedding gifts, etc.

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    2. Thank you Moxie. You ask the right questions. And I would like someone to answer - if no one volunteers perhaps Charlotte has answes?
      I have been sitting here reading the comments, and being blown away at the collective Kate Koolaid that has been drunk here.
      It takes more than a few highly decorative appearances at "gritty" (ahem) photographable locations to make a mark. Gritty indeed - the sofas and carpets looked like they get vaccumed quite regularly.
      Let us not drink the koolaid, people. Dailymail for one, has not.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3245827/Crown-Princess-Mary-adds-Aussie-grit-European-monarch-rolls-sleeves-working-25-charities-organisations.html

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    3. I can just see the Queen now

      refusing to make appearances forBritish/commonwealth brands that are addictive.
      or offering a million of her own money as an incentive.

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    4. Moxie, I am at a loss for words. She highlighted their work. She did say some of the things you wanted her to say in her comment released by the Palace. I truly think that if one seriously differ from the way Kate lives her life and performs her royal duties, that one should refrain from following her. Standards set by some who follow Kate is just so high that no matter what she does it will not satisfy and frustrate those of us who like her and follow her as she is and come to this blog to enjoy. This is not an attack on you Moxie :-) but I think we who do like and enjoy Kate and what she does may also say how constant critical comments spoil the experience for us.

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    5. This is what I have been thinking, yes she goes to these places to raise awareness, but will she be visiting again? Will she say anything about it? Or is it a one of trip, because if that's the case the awareness caused by one visit isn't going to last long. Anyway I think its good she has visited because its a worthy organisation, and she's looking very professional today.

      Rebecca

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    6. I agree. They have their foundation -- the one they want to use to make their mark -- so why aren't they getting it out there more? Their foundation is bloody useless if it sits there and makes quiet grants. They need to publicise their grants and highlight the work they're paying for! That will create more donations from people who appreciate what they're trying to do, thereby making more grants possible.

      Not sure how I feel about the alcohol ad issue. If I were them I would encourage distilleries and breweries to donate to organizations who help people who cannot use their products responsibly. That's not the entire population; it's a relatively small percentage and I don't know that the entire industry should be tainted because of some people's physical inability to process alcohol. Keep in mind that British and US culture view alcohol a bit differently too.

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    7. You can say that about any royal visit to a charity. Do any of the royals visit charities and then vow to donate money? Its public relations for Kate AND the charity.

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    8. I appreciate the fact that she could go a step further, as you and bluhare stated. Baby steps, baby steps. At least she's highlighting this and hopefully will focus on a further action to take.
      I'm truly curious: what addictive brands are you referring to?

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    9. For what it's worth, the Foundation is mostly just a place-keeper for now. It does not seem to be doing very much at all.
      Once William and Kate become more active I think that they will actively start raising more money for it. It is an odd situation because their Foundation is sort of competing for the same funds that the Prince's Trust is ... so in that sense Charles did make a sensible proposal to have William take over the PT and go after his causes from there. But William obviously has other ideas.

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    10. No one is being forced to drink "Kool-Aid". And when Kate has been the wife of the NEXT in line for 10 years, let's chat. Until then, it is not a relevant comparison.

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    11. That foundation was specifically stated as the reason William "would rather not" take on the Prince's Trust. Because he's got his own and wants to make his own mark. £4 million is a lot to be stashed in a "place keeper" but it certainly hasn't been very active, has it? They've got staff to run it; all they have to do is participate in meetings and give direction. Kate went shopping on the day of one of their meetings last year and did not attend so it must not be that high on her priority list.

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    12. I certainly agree RF,

      some people, through their own bias, just cannot see any light. They don't want to. Even if it is staring them in the face.

      Going to the breweries and distilleries to donate to rehab charities is going to the source as it should done. Don't know how substantial that would be but every little bit helps and the businesses most likely have to donate a certain amount to charity to receive certain tax benefits.

      Having W/K donate their money, outside their philanthropic trust, is silly. Which one would they personally do that for without offending everyone else? Again, I see, in those comments, a real bias against the wealthy in general and I don't like it.

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    13. I agree that some cannot see past their own bias, 2348. In that regard, please let me know if there's something staring me in the face that I'm missing. I'm not invested in being right and if you give me something to think about I'm happy to do so. Thank you.

      Although I don't know why William and Kate donating their own money is silly. I donate my money to causes, and isn't William donating his salary to charity? He's said he is.

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    14. Anon 23:48, I think you just hit on something that is *the* consistent thread in the tapestry. Hmmm!

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    15. 4 million earning interest at the standard 5 or 6%
      isn't just sitting there. perhaps they are growing the trust in keeping with a plan to have those millions realistically available for donation without collapsing the trust.

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    16. "That foundation was specifically stated as the reason William "would rather not" take on the Prince's Trust"

      Stated by whom? Katie Nicholl and the Daily Mail? Are they a reliable source these days?

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    17. WOW, very plausible thought about their trust
      Anon @ 01:35. I was thinking the boys aren't stingy so there must be a good reason for their reserve.

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    18. Wasn't talking about you Bluhare.

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    19. A charitable trust has to make disbursements to keep its tax status. Sitting there earning book interest isn't doing anyone any favors.

      And Katie Nichol is quite reliable. Some here don't care for it when she reports things that rattle the status quo, though.

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  52. I loved her look, but I could definitely tell it was for an "official", photographed visit. I've never visited a long-term facility, but I have visited short-term facilities in the U.S. I worked for a brief time at the Office of the Public Defender (the government agency that provides a lawyer free-of-charge if you cannot afford one). I never wore earrings or heels (anything that could be considered "a potential weapon"). I am not sure if the Duchess had to go through a security check or if it was waived (as I suspect). I cannot imagine the Duchess walking through a metal detector and having her clutch searched but who knows?

    I really respect the Duchess for undertaking this engagement. I think a lot of people have misconceptions about prisons and prisoners. I truly believe that people can be rehabilitated. Hopefully Kate's visit will help increase awareness. People are always shocked when I tell them I've visited jails. They have a preconceived notion of how dangerous and terrible it might be. The worst part of the experience was truthfully figuring out what to wear to get through security with limited fuss. My interactions with residents were always positive.

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    1. Loved that apron with the car on it for George. Great for art time. Would liked to have seen Charlotte's.

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  53. She looks lovely and so put together although I hope the mom bangs grow out fast lol. She is doing great work by visiting this prison God bless her and thank you Charlotte for this great post.

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  54. Tedi in California26 September 2015 at 06:33

    Wherever she goes, Kate shines her considerable spotlight on these different causes. Which is what the rest of the Royals do. This was an important event, along with William's at Hammersmith this week. Bravo to both of them. She looked beautiful, her outfit was perfect, and I love the grey color. Her hair looked wonderful, I love her fringe. It looked as though it had been cut a bit shorter, which framed her face to perfection.

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  55. hmm I love the dress and the duchess did a great job I know a lot of people do have misconceptions about those prisons an prisoners but I truly believe that once the are out and rehabilitated they have the power to change I do love these visit because the are lot of people commit a crime due poverty there are lot of these in asia I hope every government and every high and position should to that as example as our own duchess looking forward to the rugby world cup

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  56. Julia from Leominster26 September 2015 at 10:31

    I made my initial comment yesterday in the previous post and now having quickly read the above comments will add a bit more. I stand with a half-way view. I think this is an excellent start on Kate building a more serious royal role in the areas of addiction and mental health. You have to start somewhere and the last two engagements are a strong beginning that I'm expecting she will build on over the next year.

    I don't think the engagement was quite as difficult as some have made it out to be. The Duchess of Cornwall has also toured a prison and this isn't as if Kate is meeting the most hostile or dangerous offenders. It looked like a cordial visit - a re-introduction after a break, to what may prove to be a more serious and lasting involvement.

    I do think her press department must be aware of this blog and the comments made elsewhere whether Kate personally follows them. (I wouldn't expect her to. That's what her advisors are for.) That's why I feel honest comments here are important even if they don't make everyone happy. Whether this visit was part of a long-term plan or whether there has been a ramping up of engagements recently is impossible to say.

    I loved the duchess's dress and thought she looked extremely professional. I don't think you should ever dress down for occassions unless there is some physical reason to do so. While no one should flaunt designer labels or overly flashy clothes, I think it is respectful for Kate to wear the same type of clothes to a prison she would wear to any other engagement - to a hospital, say. You don't want to set people apart as being not worth your best. I thought this dress hit the pefect balance. Not so in love with her new hairstyle but I'm getting used to it. It looked better here.

    So I think Kate has made a good start to her return to public life and we'll see how it continues. If she is consistent in keeping up with this, I expect her involvement will gain in depth. That will come with experience and understanding.

    We'll see what happens at rugby soon. I wouldn't blame her if she misses the match - she has put in her appearance. But if she is truly a keen fan, she may enjoy going.

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    1. Absolutely agree with everything you have said above...good start but hopefully she will continue to show more of an interest in her duties now that she is back ....time will tell ....my concern is that after a few weeks of engagements she will retreat back to Norfolk and only make the effort when absolutely necessary.I really do hope I'm wrong !!!!

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    2. I hope you're wrong, too, 2112!

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  57. Why does the rugby cause so much angst? We are in the midst of an obesity crisis due to lack of exercise and inappropriate food choice. With that comes all the chronic comorbidities that will be the signature of our times. Raising the profile of sport any sport, so more young people play is a positive for me. This week I saw my first type 2 diabetic under ten. So I am delighted when royalty support sport. It all depends on ones perspective. The visit to the prison was good too. We all need to hear people's stories and know how black that other world is. Kate's visit acknowledged a side of life we would prefer not to consider. Dollars raised is not the only KPI. I thought Kate's fashion choice was good. She looked great .

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    1. IF W/K boycotted everything that pertains to alcohol or other abuse substances they would have to live as hermits. Affiliations are not always obvious. Various investment portfolios of any one or anything they affiliate themselves with might, through stock holdings etc., support such things and W/K would have little opportunity of knowing that. I personally have tried not to support such enterprises and found it is such an intricate financial web that I had to make my standing on that apparent in different ways.

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  58. I read everyone comments every day and we have a wonderful group of people with very interesting comments about the Duchess. Being a hairdresser.....the bangs or fringe have to go....either you keep up with the trimmings every two weeks or grow them out and get a bob......The wind, rain, moving your head will change the appearance of your style. The Duchess is too active of a person to constantly tuck the bangs or move her hair..... The Duchess looks wonderful!

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  59. II realize Im in the minority here, but I do not like the overall look at all. I count myself as generally not very critical, and was happy with many outfits that received bad critics in the comments. But this dress manages to be both at the same time, boring, grey-mouse like, and overdressed for the occasion. In addition it does make her look bigger than she is (I assume we mostly agree that she usually looks very slender), it is a very bad fit, even considering that she might not be back to whatever weight she wishes to be.
    But I must also stress that the cause is more than valuable, the only thing that could make me more happy than seeing her happily engaged in such charity is to see her more often being engaged in such charity :)

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  60. It wasn't a private visit. Just unannounced because of heightened security. Why do you quote the mail online and use them as your source of information? They are the most unreliable news source. Isn't this the same publication that George Clooney went after for making up fabrications about his wife?

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  61. I love this post! So happy to see HRH taking on "grittier" causes. She must be taking a page out of Diana's book, giving love and attention to those people the world seems to have forgotten.

    On a fashion note, she looks INCREDIBLE! I love the delicate way her hair is pulled half back. The dress, the shoes, it's all perfect. In a few pictures she quite resembles Carla Bruni and I love that!

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  62. I understand the idea of the outfit being understated, but it could have been understated without being monotone. Too much gray. And I don't like her hair in her eyes. But I'm very happy about the visit. Mental health is very important & an issue that makes some uncomfortable.

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  63. Maggie - Minneapolis26 September 2015 at 15:44

    The response to this visit just confirms to me how easy it is for Kate to get good press without doing much. To everyone saying she was really brave for going into a prison, which must be a somewhat odd situation - that probably has something to do with why this visit wasn't announced, and only limited press was allowed inside. This was a photo opp. We know barely anything about their interactions. I cannot think of a more controlled environment for Kate to do an engagement in. I'm confused as to what was brave. It's not like the prisoners can easily speak to outside media about their experience with her. Prince Charles had a prison engagement a little while ago and it was announced ahead of time, so I'm skeptical that security was the only reason for having such a controlled engagement.

    I also don't understand her outfit choice. Yes, she should look nice for everyone, but this is a woman who has worn the same outfit to 90% of her sporty engagements. She wore a $50 (or maybe less) ASOS dress to an engagement towards the end of her pregnancy. But for a prison engagement she wears Jimmy Choos and a new $750 dress? The price of the dress isn't bothering me so much as the style. Yes, it's gray and not too "girly" like some of her stuff, but it just doesn't seem appropriate to me. Everyone around her is dressed down. When she repeated her casual outfit for the thousandth time this summer, one of the most common defenses was "what could Kate do? Everyone was dressed down, she couldn't look too different." Well then why shouldn't she dress similarly here? And wearing pants and flats would not be not looking nice, unless she doesn't look nice every time she wears jeans. I don't think any of the inmates would have been insulted if she wore a nice pair of pants and a nice dress shirt, or even a cheaper, repeat dress, with flats. I'm sorry but wearing Jimmy Choos to a prison engagement is just something I cannot wrap my head around.

    Lastly, when is Kate going to be done learning about issues and actually use what should be a very vast amount of knowledge at this point to help an initiative? Like I'm really not trying to be a downer here but I'm genuinely confused about what Kate did that is generating so much praise. KP is still releasing statements for her - if she had come out of the prison and spoken to the media about the same things, it would do much more. It's a good cause and the people doing this program in the prison deserve all of the praise. Not Kate. What she has done is better than nothing, but imo nothing special.

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    1. Thank you for speaking reason Maggie. I am also surprised because prison visits are par the course for any royal. Charles and Camilla have made such visits. Technically Kate visited the charity RAPT and not really the prision. She entered through the doors of the charity, sat in one of their rooms and came out the door again. She did not see the inside of the prison at all.
      But as Julia says, it is a start. If she keeps up the appearances and actually outlines an agenda that addresses her causes then I will be so happy. Until now these have all been for show where she goes and "learns" about the charity. Whatever that means. No action has actually followed any of this learning.

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    2. Does the Queen come out and speak to the media after a charity visit? No. Does the Duchess of Cornwall? No. Countess of Wessex? No. I'm not sure why Kate is being held to these imaginary high standards with no precedence.

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    3. The Queen makes speeches all the time. She does not do many patronage visits and she does not speak publicly there, it is true. However, both the Duchess of Cornwall and Countess of Wessex do speak to their causes. Frequently.

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    4. Maggie - Minneapolis27 September 2015 at 14:57

      As bluhare said, Camilla and Sophie often given the media soundbites at engagements. Not to mention that Kate is a younger generation. Yes, the Queen doesn't speak publicly at patronage visits, but she is also from a time when it was almost considered odd for women to speak up much. Not to mention that it has been said that Kate has less patronages than the Queen because she wants to be able to focus and do more for each individual one - arguably the Queen doesn't have time to do speeches because she has so many patronages and it would be difficult to do a speech for all of them and insulting to pick and choose, but Kate doesn't have that problem.

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    5. Directly to the press right after a engagement? Making planned and pre written speeches at an event and making off the cuff comments to the press are two different things

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    6. Maggie, if she did give speeches, there would be criticism about her public speaking (we've been there, done that) and the content would be dismissed as having been written for her (another been there, done that). Perhaps there would even be criticism about her not having enough knowledge about the subject to give a speech.


      I recall comments about her needing to step is up, acknowledge her role, and act/dress like a Duchess. Well, she has been doing exactly that and yet look at the fuss over this latest engagement. Kate cannot win.

      But I do believe that as Kate does more, as she does step it up, and if the criticism continues, well, the complaints become even less credible.

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    7. I could not agree less, royalfan. If Kate tried she would get a lot of support here. We know she won't be writing her speeches because that's why they hire speech writers. You certainly imagine a lot of criticism; I don't feel that way at all. I think people who post here would be thrilled to see her trying, even if she isn't perfect. Lack of perfection isn't a fault. It can be endearing and actually get people behind you in a way that a smooth and polished exterior does not.

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    8. bluhare, with all due respect, your statement @23:59 is a lovely thought, but it contradicts every post on this blog.

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    9. Obviously, I was referring to the ongoing negativity, and not the support she does receive.

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    10. We will have to wait for Kate to actually do something before your point can be made, royalfan. I recall the last time she did something -- a PSA for mental health I believe -- this blog was overwhelmingly positive, so I don't agree with your ongoing negativity theme at all.

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  64. Just a quick reminder to people who think that Kate is not working as much as Princess Diana did: Princess Diana was the wife of the Prince of Wales. Kate is not the wife of the Prince of Wales. When Kate is the wife of the Prince of Wales is when it will be acceptable/necessary for her to step up her duties accordingly.

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    1. There you go being logical. Lol. Exactly right! :)

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    2. good point Munchlette

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    3. I can go with this argument; however, if Kate is not yet able to be a full time working royal doesn't that mean she has even more time to devote to charitable causes?

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    4. @bluhare Honestly we have no idea how much she does or does not do behind the scenes as far as charity work is concerned, and I do agree with the sentiment that her popularity means that she has the opportunity to bring important causes to the public eye (as this visit has done). She is also a mother of two very young children, though, and ideally spends a lot of time with them. I just think that a lot of people tend to forget that even though Will and Kate and their children are the glamorous young royals that we all want to see, they are not actually in the same position that William's parents were at the same age.

      Personally, I am all in favor of the Queen living forever. But in the event that she does not, I imagine life might change somewhat drastically for the Cambridge family and I don't hold it against them for wanting to live their lives with as much privacy and normalcy as possible until that day.

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    5. Thank you for those wise words, Munchlette.

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    6. I'm not actually interested in the glamour munchlettebelle. I think Kate could spend a lot of time with her children and still do good in this world. I don't see the two as mutually exclusive.

      Maggie had an excellent point a few posts ago, that it's pretty difficult to become CEO of a firm without knowing how it runs, and to say that they'll know when they get there is naïve. Why jump in the deep end when you can ease in from the shallows?

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  65. Years ago I was in a few different jails & prisons as an attorney and I always dressed in suit, heels, with normal jewelry. I think she looked completely appropriate!

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  66. My immediate reaction is: win, win, win! Love that she's out and about for a good cause, love her classy outfit, hair, etc. I purposefully haven't read any comments yet, but I will. :-)

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  67. Hi, I have been an avid reader of this wonderful blog for a long time, and this is the first time I am commenting. I would like to say that I really appreciate the work done by Charlotte - thank you so much! Also, I feel the commenters here are articulate and intelligent and I truly enjoy reading your posts. Just wanted to say that I think the Duchess looked very engaged in this visit which I am sure was emotionally challenging. Being myself a mother of two small children, 1.5 years difference in age, I can relate from personal experience and I think it is impressive she is able to be so graceful and elegant at this stage of her life. It is really inspiring. Wishing you all the very best, Shira from Israel

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  68. I am a huge fan of Kate's but I felt her choice of dress was totally wrong for the occasion. Smart casual would have been much more appropriate and in keeping with her surroundings. I also think her hair is dreadful, if she won' t cut it please please tie it up more often, she has a beautiful face and we can' t see it with all that hair hanging round her.

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  69. Z - San Juan Island26 September 2015 at 20:41

    Appreciate the high quality of Charlotte's website and all the information about the programs. Drawing attention to the organizations and programs is what the Duchess's visits accomplish. How much did readers know about this program before her visit? As to her clothing, I think what she wore was appropriate and she looked great.

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  70. Welcome entries from San Juan Island and Israel,
    and any other newbies I have not mentioned.
    Welcome. I LOVE hearing from people all over the world. And, might I say, we rock. :)

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  71. Did they show the apron that was made for Charlotte?
    Replicas of George's and Charlotte's aprons could be sold both for affirmation and revenue.

    Kate looked beautiful and did a good job with the visit.

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  72. I think the dress (which I very much like) looks better on Kate than the model. Now, how often does that happen to the rest of us mere mortals?

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    1. NY,

      I thought the same thing. The dress looks way better on Kate. I really liked her entire outfit.

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  73. I am so happy that Kate is helping to highlight the issues of addiction and mental illness. The stigma and negative attitudes surrounding these issues definitely need to be challenged with education and public awareness. I've just finished a 2 week nursing placement at a mental health care facility and it was such an eye-opener into the wonderful work done by health professionals dedicated to helping people with mental illness.

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  74. Kate really is passionate about addiction and this visit certainly proves it. I'm proud of her for doing this! She looked FABULOUS today! Loved the dress, hair, and her enthusiasm.

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  75. My favorite look of the year. She does them honor by looking regal and lovely when dressing down would be false and condescending. Was not convinced on the bangs until now. Relaxed and youthful. Well done, Kate.

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  76. http://www.popsugar.com/celebrity/Kate-Middleton-Receive-Royal-Family-Order-38579134#photo-38579134

    Are you seeing this confirmed across the pond?

    Stephanie -USA

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