A look at the Duchess arriving.
The Guild of Health Writers is an independent membership organisation representing many of Britain’s leading health journalists and writers, and encompassing the whole spectrum of health and wellbeing. The Guild was founded in 1994 to promote high professional standards and provide good quality, accurate health information to the public. It covers everything from innovative medical science to complementary therapies and lifestyle issues. The Palace described the engagement as "an opportunity for Their Royal Highnesses to engage with members of the Guild of Health Writers working in print, online and broadcast media on Heads Together and its ambition to create millions of conversations on mental health in 2017".
The theme of the conference is 'The Anxiety Epidemic'. The experts discussed why anxiety and related mental health problems are now reaching epidemic proportions, how they can best be treated and also measures aimed at reducing the scale of the problem.
The event was held at Chandos House in central London. The Georgian townhouse was built by Robert Adam (the most prominent architect in Britain at the time) from 1769-1771. For over 130 years Chandos House was home to such notable residents as the Duke of Chandos, the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, the Countess of Strafford, the Earl of Shaftesbury, and finally the newspaper tycoon Sir James Gomer Berry, Viscount Kemsley. For a period in the 19th century Chandos House was also used as the Austrian Embassy. The first resident ambassador was Prince Esterhazy and for the next 25 years the house was the scene of entertainment on the most lavish scale. He left the embassy in 1842 and was succeeded by various ambassadors until the lease on the property expired in 1866. During the Second World War the Grand Staircase had it's ceiling and skylight bombed out. Thankfully it was convincingly restored before ownership passed to the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM), who acquired Chandos House for the first time in 1963.
Chandos House was used by the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) as a hotel and events venue for members until it was sold in 1986 to finance the refurbishment of the Society's headquarters at 1 Wimpole Street. Unfortunately the house was then left unoccupied and neglected, so much so that it was placed on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk list. The Howard de Walden estate saved the house in 2002 by purchasing the lease, and identifying the RSM as future tenants. Howard de Walden agreed to refurbish Chandos House and to restore the Adam reception rooms as required by English Heritage. Finally in 2005 Chandos House reopened after a £5 million restoration. Today, it serves as an elegant events venue suitable for conferences, weddings and training seminars. There are seventeen bedrooms and six function rooms available to hire.
By design each room at Chandos House offers something different to guests, whether this is an Antonio Zucchi ceiling painting, carved Sienna Marble fireplace, Victorian Waterford Crystal chandelier or gilded mirror. The Terrace Room, with its large striking Venetian windows, adjoins the Garden Terrace.
The couple listened to presentations from four experts on the conference theme including Paul Farmer CBE, CEO Mind; Dr James Davies, reader in anthropology and mental health at the University of Roehampton; Claire Kelly, Co-Director of the Mindfulness in Schools Project; and Jacqui Marson, chartered counselling psychologist, bestselling author and former war reporter.
William and Kate met members of the Guild along with leaders and representatives of the Heads Together charity partners.
William met Louise, who is running the marathon for Heads Together and her boyfriend Ryan; both spoke tonight about mental health.
In an impassioned speech, Prince William talked about how he, Kate and Harry are working to break down the barriers around mental health: "At the moment, on average, it takes a sufferer ten years to admit to a problem. That means that what often starts as a fairly minor issue becomes something serious and medical after time...but talking can lead to help."
"There has only ever been silence. And this has to stop. This silence is killing good people." -The Duke @HealthWritersUK #HeadsTogether pic.twitter.com/3Prrnun6u0— Heads Together (@heads_together) February 7, 2017
Simon Perry reports:
Addressing key health journalists in London, the prince outlined what he called the “journey” that he and Kate and his brother Harry have made to put mental health at the forefront of their public work.
“Mental health was the great taboo. If you were anxious, it’s because you were weak,” the royal dad of two said at the Guild of Health Writers event. “If you couldn’t cope with whatever life threw at you, it’s because you were failing. Successful, strong people don’t suffer like that, do they? But of course – we all do. It’s just that few of us speak about it.”
“It was suicide, a subject that is so often hidden,” he said. “The suicide rate among young men in this country is an appalling stain on our society. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 40 in this country. Not cancer, not knife crime, not road deaths — suicide. If one of these other issues took so many young lives, there would be a national outcry. This silence is killing good people.”
William added, “For Catherine and Harry, their journeys to Heads Together were different: Harry predominately through his work with veterans, and Catherine through her work with children and young families. But their conclusions were the same — that mental health needed to be brought out of the dark and de-stigmatized.”
Their hope is to create an atmosphere where the issue can be discussed openly. “On average it takes a sufferer 10 years to admit to a problem,” William added. “This means that what often starts as a fairly minor issue becomes something serious and medical after time. Silence can kill; but talking can lead to help and support.”
There was also news on the next stage of the Heads Together campaign.
The Duchess wore a skirt suit by the one and only Oscar de la Renta. The look comes from the Fall 2015 Collection (with thanks to HeavenLM on Twitter). We have been hoping to see the Duchess debut a look from the iconic brand for some time now. Kate's ensemble comes from Peter Copping's (Oscar de la Renta's handpicked successor) first collection.
More on the background of the Fall 2015 Collection from Vogue:
'De la Renta and Copping were to have worked side by side, but de la Renta's death, just days after Copping was appointed last October, prevented that. Copping left a type-written note on each seat: "I am immensely proud to have been chosen as the creative director of Oscar de la Renta," he began. "Unfortunately things did not go according to our plans and I never had the chance to work with Oscar, which is something I deeply regret."
Instead of learning by doing, Copping leaned on people who had worked with the late designer: his longtime sales director Boaz Mazor, former team member Carolyne Roehm. "We shared a lot of common territory," Copping said at a preview. "The sort of woman we appreciate, and going beyond that, gardens, homes, all of that sort of thing: We speak the same language.'
The Three Quarter Sleeve Tailored Jacket is rendered in a wool blend and features a pointed collar, dual breast pockets, and a pleated, flared hem. The ultraviolet tailored jacket originally retailed for £1,722 before going on sale for £861 and selling out.
|Oscar de la Renta|
The matching Full Pleated Skirt is rendered in a wool blend and features a full shape with box pleating and features a back zip. It retailed for £1,014 before going on sale for £386.
|Oscar de la Renta|
A closer look at the suit.
Several readers have correctly suggested Kate may have worn the suit for the Queen's Pre-Christmas luncheon.
Kate accessorised with her Mappin & Webb Empress earrings.
And carried her black suede Mulberry clutch and wore her trusty Cartier watch. The earrings, clutch and watch are all the same as earlier today.
If you're just joining us, click here to view today's earlier post. William and Kate attended 'The Big Assembly' where the importance of kindness was discussed and the Duchess gave a speech. Yesterday, the royal trio got their running shoes on for a fun day with Heads Together runners. You can view that post here (it has been updated with info on Kate's Sweaty Betty / New Balance trainers).
Finally, as you may know, Her Majesty became the first British monarch to reach the Sapphire Jubilee today. The Queen has reigned for 65 years, since the tragic passing of her father. The Telegraph reported she is spending the day in "quiet reflection" at Sandringham. No doubt her father will be very much in her thoughts as it also marks 65 years since his death. Buckingham Palace reissued a portrait by David Bailey, taken in 2014 and showing the Queen wearing a suite of sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding gift.
What do you think of Kate's first outing in Oscar de la Renta?