Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Kate's Patronages: Action on Addiction!

Welcome to the first in a new series of posts taking a closer look at Kate's patronages and her work with them over the years. Some years ago, the young royals made a decision to take on far fewer patronages than older generations in order to focus on specific causes close to their hearts. We've very much seen Kate follow that model over the past seven years. Kate's first patronage announcements came in January 2012 - they included Action on Addiction, East Anglia's Children's Hospices, the National Portrait Gallery and the Art Room.


At the time, in 2012, the Palace told The Telegraph's Gordon Rayner:

"She is in a unique time of her life,” said a Royal spokesman. “She has no children, her husband is in a full time job and is not a full time member of the Royal. She has the time to really get stuck into these new roles. They reflect her Royal Highness’ personal interests in the arts, the promotion of outdoor activity, and supporting people who are in need of all ages, especially young children."

Today, we're chatting about Action on Addiction. Whilst William was deployed in the Falklands, Kate undertook her first visit as Patron of the organisation in February 2012, with a private visit to treatment clinic, Clouds House, in Salisbury.


The national charity offers high quality, effective residential rehab and community based addiction treatment. Action on Addiction provides residential and day treatment for addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling and other behaviours. The charity offers life-saving treatment to individuals and families at its flagship treatment centre, Clouds House in Wiltshire, and at its community-based treatment centres in Essex and Liverpool. It also offers education to degree level at the Centre for Addiction Treatment Studies and funds and promotes research into effective responses to addiction.


On Valentine's Day 2012, Kate travelled to Liverpool to visit alcohol free bar The Brink, a successful project run by Action on Addiction.


The success of the Brink is a testament to the fact alcohol does not have to play a part in socialising and enjoying yourself. It is also a recovery enterprise, which means all profits go directly back into the community to fund support for those who have suffered through alcoholism and addiction.


The Duchess Smoothie became very popular after the visit :)

During her first official trip to the north-east in October 2012, Kate met representatives from Action on Addiction's programme M-PACT (Moving Parents and Children Together). The aim is to provide support and guidance for children affected by parental drug and alcohol misuse. It is a subject she is clearly interested in”, said Nick Barton, the charity’s chief executive. “She chose us because she had realised that with many problems faced by young people, the trail always led to back to addiction of some sort, whether alcohol, drugs or something else.” A 2009 report estimated that 3.5 million children in the UK are affected by parental alcohol misuse and 1.5 million by parental drug misuse across the country; and without long term support, the children of addicts are seven times more likely to develop an addiction themselves.


Kate visited Action on Addiction's Hope House in February 2013 when she was expecting Prince George. The Duchess had been away from the spotlight for several months as she was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Kate returned to duties looking and feeling much better after a family holiday to Mustique with the Middletons. Hope House is a safe and secure place for women to recover from substance dependence and receive additional support for other compulsive disorders. Many of the clients have a history of difficult relationships and find an all-female environment a supportive place to work through issues and begin to recover.


Clearly inspired and encouraged by the work of the M-PACT programme she saw during her visit to Newcastle, Kate launched M-PACT Plus in April 2013, an initiative to support children, parents and families affected by parental drug and alcohol misuse, with the aim of providing early specialist support to children to prevent these inevitable outcomes. The project involved training school staff to identify children affected by a parent's drug or alcohol misuse. It then brings families together to work with trained practitioners. The project is a partnership between The Royal Foundation, Action on Addiction and Place2Be.


Kate delivered a speech where she revealed she was "struck" by the damaging impact addiction has on children.

'Addiction is a hugely complex and destructive disease and its impact can be simply devastating. All too often, lives and families can be shattered by it. Through my patronage with Action on Addiction, I feel fortunate to have met a wide range of inspirational people who have overcome addiction. It is so encouraging to see with the right help - like that of Action on Addiction - it can be conquered.
But those who are addicted are not the only victims. I have been struck by the profound and deeply damaging impact it has on the children of affected parents. Research has shown that children of those who are addicted are seven times more likely to have addiction problems themselves. They are also brought up surrounded by fear, instability and chaos.
Last year, I asked The Royal Foundation, which I share with William and Harry, to see what could be done to help these children. In partnership with Comic Relief, our foundation commissioned a piece of research to explore this issue. Today, it gives me an enormous feeling of pride and excitement to launch a programme that will bring this research to life. Place 2 Be delivers exceptional specialist counselling services in schools. Action on Addiction's MPACT (Moving Parents and Children Together) programme delivers life changing and expert support to families affected by addiction. The Royal Foundation has simply brought these two outstanding charities together to deliver a programme that will ensure that many children living with addicted parents will be identified, supported and guided to look towards a positive and hopefully, addiction free future.'

At this point, we were beginning to see Kate's interest in early intervention emerge.


The Duchess was elegant in her much loved Jenny Packham gown for the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Gala at Kensington Palace in October 2013. The gala benefited Action on Addiction. It was held shortly after George's christening and discussion quickly turned to the little prince. Kate said "He was such a good boy actually, he's not always like that, but, the people there, lots going on, it's slightly distracting."


In July 2014, The Duchess arrived at Blessed Sacrament School in Islington, wearing a coral GOAT dress, to view the progress of the M-Pact Plus programme.


The Duchess met project co-ordinators and school head teachers to gain a real insight into the progress made since the launch before joining a private counselling session. Kate asked "Have you found it difficult to attract parents given the stigma that can be associated with these issues?".


In October 2014, the Duchess attended Action on Addiction's Autumn Gala. Chief executive, Nick Barton said: "The Duchess of Cambridge has shown unwavering support of the charity and we are delighted that our patron is able to attend the Autumn Gala evening. We are enormously grateful that Her Royal Highness helped us to keep addiction very much in the spotlight by her involvement to help reduce the stigma surrounding the condition. The charity's mission is to free people from addiction and we hope this evening will help us to make further progress in achieving that aim."


The Duchess of Cambridge made her first official visit to Wiltshire in December 2015 with a visit to Action on Addiction's Centre for Treatment Studies in Warminster.


Kate with Addiction Treatment Studies students.


During Kate's first solo overseas visit to the Netherlands in October 2016, she convened a roundtable discussion on the themes of addiction, intervention, family and mental health. The discussion brought together professionals from the renowned Trimbos Institute in the Netherlands, with the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families and Action on Addiction.


In November 2016, Kate walked the red carpet in a Self-Portrait gown, for the Recovery Street Film Festival and the UK premiere of 'A Street Cat Named Bob' in London. The Duchess viewed the highlights of the Recovery Street Film Festival, which focuses on filmmakers who have experience of recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, whether their own or that of a loved one. The festival was established by a consortium of charities including Action on Addiction. The aim is to empower people affected by addiction by giving them a voice, and providing a platform for them to tell the stories of the ‘ups and downs’ and how they reached recovery.


The premiere of 'A Street Cat Named Bob' benefited Action on Addiction, and it was interesting to see the charity linking both of this evening's engagements. Graham Beech, chief executive of the organisation said: "Today, we are highlighting the message which is a theme of the film that even in the depths of addiction, there is hope. Addiction is a devastating condition which affects individuals, families and the wider community, and people find it difficult to talk about the issue. We are grateful to the Duchess for continuing to ensure that the subject of addiction is not ignored, and that people are encouraged to speak out and seek support and treatment."


In February 2018, Duchess Kate officially opened Action on Addiction's new treatment centre in Wickford, Essex.


The Duchess also launched the charity's community-based recovery programme 'Clouds in the Community'. It is is a Self-Help Addiction Recovery Programme (SHARP) that provides an effective alternative to residential treatment, and enables the charity to provide services for more people in more places. 'Clouds in the Community' is the starting point for long-term recovery and abstinence, and leads to improvements in participants’ physical and psychological health, self-efficacy, and overall quality of life. Independent evaluation of the programme in Essex showed that almost 80 per cent of clients did not return to any treatment service upon completion of the scheme.


During an impromptu speech, Kate looked back on the six years since she began supporting the charity and credited getting involved with Action on Addiction as "the start of my learning" which led to her work in mental health. She added: "You're very special to me."


When Kate's first patronages were announced in 2012, this was one that piqued my interest in particular. It's a difficult, challenging and stigmatised area. I don't think there are any of us who haven't been touched by addiction in some form, whether it's the heartbreak of watching a loved one struggling, or battling it personally. The work they do is absolutely vital and it's been a joy to watch the organisation grow over the years. If you would like to find out more about Action on Addiction or donate, please click here.


A reminder we'll see Kate, William, George and Charlotte on Saturday morning for Trooping The Colour :)

70 comments:

  1. Rebecca - Sweden5 June 2018 at 21:06

    This is such a great series for you to do!! One of the best things about your blog is how well you manage to balance the facts and information of engagements and the more lighthearted stuff and this series is perfect on this blog! So well researched and summarized! Thank you for your hard work!

    What a great choice to begin with. I think this story kind of showed me what has become a common thread in Kate's work. She doesn't see issues in a vaccuum and I think one of her strengths in the long run will be her ability to connect dots together, weather people or projects or whatever. I hadn't thought about that until now but she always seems to connect visits with experiences and seems to often been the behind the scenes person to pull things together (like how she came up with Heads Together). And I think this patronage is a great timelime showing the general trend in her work. Alot of listening, alot of information gathering and alot of coming together and then nowdays using her words to "magnify" what the people she has met and learnt from is saying.

    This is an amazing charity so I'm glad it's at the core of Kate's work!

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    1. Thank you so much Rebecca :)

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    2. Francesca (Germany)5 June 2018 at 21:20

      I second everything Rebecca wrote.

      Wonderful series and great start. I'm looking forward to the duchess continuing her work with addiction.

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    3. Well said Rebecca! cc

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  2. I love the new post! I can't wait to read more about Kate's Patronages, and reading things that I have forgotten about. I love love love the white lace top dress she wore for the Recovery Street Film Festival. I totally forgot about that dress, I really hope she brings it back.

    I can not wait to see everyone at this weekend at the Trooping The Colour. Also I can't wait for Louis' Baptism.

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    1. In spite of my dislike of high splits, I agree that is a very beautiful gown. Kate will no doubt get back to a size that allows her to wear her beautiful wardrobe again.

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    2. What is interesting is that I didn't much like that white gown back then, but I think it is absolutely gorgeous now.

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    3. Kate's size has remained pretty much the same. I feel she kind still rock this dress, and pretty much every dress she has had before the kids.

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  3. Zora from Prague5 June 2018 at 21:44

    Thank you for this great post, Charlotte! It's so good to see the continuity.
    I second what Rebecca says about Kate's talent to listen, to bring issues to light and to connect valuable innitiatives. There's a big potential in that. I believe the older Kate gets, the more important her support for charities will become.
    Looking forward for the Trooping!

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  4. I'm happy to see the younger royals with fewer patronages. When a royal is patron to so many organizations, I don't believe there is any quality time or sincere concern about the organization on the part of the royals. I remember when Diana gave up all but a few of her patronages and focused on those she truly cared about. I get the impression that the Sussexes and Cambridges choose their patronages based on what is important to them, then they work hard at those few. Look at all the work Harry has put in to the Invictus games. I look forward to what the younger royals accomplish in the years to come.

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    1. Surely Diana's decision has influenced the approach of her sons and now their wives.

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    2. Perhaps. But didn't Diana drop the bulk of those patronages when she was divorcing Charles? I may be wrong about that but if it's true, I don't know that Diana's post-divorce approach is necessarily a great model for people who remain working senior royals. The idea of more in-depth work sounds ok on some levels but as others have pointed out, it may not really provide more benefits to the public as a whole or even to the individual charities. Visiting charities on the "short list" for an hour or so for a photo op every yr or two really isn't in-depth work anyway.

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  5. Sarah Virginia5 June 2018 at 23:02

    Thank you for beginning this series on Kate's patronages Charlotte. I am grateful to Kate for choosing to learn about, raise awareness, and strive to make a difference in the areas of addiction and mental health (for children, youth, mothers, and adults). This is why I follow her. In addiction and mental health, Kate has chosen to support causes that are unfairly stigmatized, misunderstood, and far too often kept in the shadows. With the heartbreaking and tragic death of Kate Spade this morning, it is a reminder of the continued need for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Nearly every day of the week, I have the privilege of walking with individuals in counseling and treatment who are struggling with mental illness and/or addiction. Living with these illnesses takes a great deal of courage and strength. No one living with addiction or mental illness is weak; nor is it weak to ask for help and support. There is no "quick fix" or "cure" for mental illness and addiction. They are usually long-term (sometimes life-long) conditions that require patience, compassion, continued support, and a combination of self-help strategies (coping mechanisms) and professional assistance. I just wish that mental health treatment could be accessed by all who need it, but tragically that is not the case. Many people do not have the financial means to cover treatment costs, medications, etc. And for some, access to mental health and addiction care requires the burden of traveling to another city, because there are no providers in their own city or town. Add to these challenges the burden of stigma and shame that society still casts on mental illness and addiction. Even though we have come a positive distance from the likes of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", there is still so much work that needs to be done in mental health and addiction. If I had the financial means and a system in place to offer a comparable initiative to "Heads Together" here in the United States, I would start it in a heartbeat. I am passionate about these causes because I have seen firsthand how deeply individuals are affected by them, but also because I live with depression myself and have for thirty years. I wish I could wave a magic wand and abolish the stigma that exists. I wish I could offer, free of charge, mental health care to everyone who needs and wants it. I wish I could always ensure that people living with mental illness and addiction receive compassion, empathy, understanding, and support. Were it only so easy. The work that William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan are doing with The Royal Foundation and Heads Together is gravely important, and I am so proud of them for choosing the road less traveled and being willing to get into the trenches of some very difficult life situations.

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    1. Well said, Sarah.
      Lesley from Dallas

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  6. Saddened to hear this morning that one of my favorite designers, Kate Spade, has died of an apparent suicide. I hope given the Duchess' past support of the brand and her campaign for mental health that the Duchess may employ some sartorial diplomacy and support the Kate Spade brand during an future engagement.

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    1. Coach owns the label now, has for years. I brought out one of my vintage bags to carry today. I too was sorry to hear that a successful,wealthy, talented, woman with a long marriage and young teen daughter was in so much insurmountable pain, whatever the reason. How tragic for those she left behind.

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  7. Great post! I love hearing about the substance of Kate’s charity work. Thank you!

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  8. Thank you for this wonderfully informative post, Charlotte. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since you announced you were planning it last month, and this did not disappoint! Excellent job. I love learning more about Kate and how she has developed as a Royal.

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  9. I see a difference between what the younger "Senior Royals" are doing long term & what the Royals of the older generation have done. While they will still do lots of ribbon cutting & openings etc. I think they are digging deeper & creating long term "schemes" (I believe is the term) that will integrate with other like organizations to achieve a longer term, more efficient program that will be able to help many more people. I'm not expressing this well. Hopefully the gist of what I'm trying to say will come through.

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    1. Becca, you expressed it very well. And I agree!

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    2. 🌸 You and William think alike on that, Becca. 😉
      That is exactly what William said at The Royal Foundation Forum.

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    3. I completely agree Becca. It looks more like the younger Royals are building a network,encompassing all of the charities they're involved in. Almost setting a platform not just for now, but for the future.

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    4. Becca USA I quite agree and your thoughts came through quite well. I think the younger royals want to make a significant difference and not just make an appearance. This idea of a "scorecard" has always bothered me. While the numbers help to track and show work effort, it is not a competition. (I also see this in the work place between co-workers). I would so much rather see someone put forth a work effort that has substance through well thought out and executed ideas, than someone who just shows up for the credit. The "digging deeper difference" that it appears the younger royals are working towards is positive, and while it is a work in progress, it gives more substance to the royals duties regarding charities. I agree with the idea that the royals should not make the mistake of just becoming celebrities with photo opportunities that they receive credit for. There is more to Kate than her style and I look forward to Charlotte's series on Kate's patronages and learning more about them. cc

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    5. Amen, CC.

      In a world where numbers are increasingly more important than quality, I applaud this younger generation of Royals. I can appreciate some growing pains expressed in this discussion, but I do think that they are on the right path! Every once in awhile, the older generation can learn a new trick or two....
      😉

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    6. Well put, CeCe. The Queen must agree, because the younger members of the royal family are following this deeper path, apparently with her blessing. Thank you, Charlotte, for beginning this very interesting series. Your research as always is elegant and thorough.

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    7. This makes me profoundly sad because it demeans the amazing work royals like Anne, the Queen and Charles do down to numbers. But behind every one of those numbers - the scoreboard - are people - people William and Kate have said are not worthy of their time because they don't fit in a particular box of their special interests.

      People in care homes, people in hospitals, people at schools, people in market towns, people on farms, people graduating, specialist charities that do enormous good for people with devastating problems, people who have won awards, people in industry, people who care for others - that's what these statistics are about - meeting people - and you here are saying all these people don't count! Because every one of your so-called 'quantity' numbers are about people!

      Ordinary people like you and me - who get a chance to meet a member of the royal family and have some honour, some work, something they have given recognised. And to all these people, William and Kate are saying: We have no time for you and your little lives - it's too dull for us - we want to be superficial specialists (because in ten engagements or so over ten years you don't become an expert - that takes degrees, hours and hours of time.) We don't want the slogging work.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with royals being generalists - it allows them to meet the maximum number of people - to become involved in all aspects of their country - not just a handful - to speak to people of all ages, all backgrounds, to bring cheer to many. But if your child has a rare disease, if you're old and in a care home, if you just got a small honour for doing something, if you worked hard to raise funds so your local hospital could have a new wing, if you are hosting an industrial fair - William and Kate have no time for you.

      I look at New My Royals and The Real My Royals (minus the celebrities) every day - here's Maxima attending an awards programme opening a housing scheme for the elderly, Mette-Marit on a literacy train, Victoria going on hikes around the country, attending multiple meetings - and the list goes on and in every one of these events - multiple in a week, they are meeting people! And this is outdated - these people and their work and projects aren't important enough to meet a royal! That's what William and Kate are saying.

      I recall Sophie saying she thought she should go more in depth with her charities and her charities said - don't! Where you are important to us is in bringing attention to our cause! That's where royals can be the most help. By their photo in the paper, by drawing attention even if it doesn't make the papers, by being able to say - we have a royal patron - royals care about us.

      I doubt the queen agrees - because there is no sign she is following the so called younger (actually approaching middle age) royals path. She goes on as do the older royals - Charles is hosting a reception for Age UK - the Queen and Camilla are meeting working dogs -with what she has always done. She is queen of the whole nation - not a handful of 'special' interests. That this is to be lost is something that makes me very sad indeed.

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    8. Julia, I don't think you have to feel sad. "People in care homes, people in hospitals, people at schools, people in market towns, people on farms, people graduating, specialist charities that do enormous good for people with devastating problems, people who have won awards, people in industry, people who care for others " are exactly the people Kate and William have been meeting all those years. I know because I read this amazing and informative blog. I don't think they have neglected them or implied they were not interesting. What you're saying is simply not true. They have chosen a number of charities they are patron of, that does not mean they neglect the rest of the royal duty. You may think they do not work enough, indeed you say it often, but in all fairness, they do not exclusively visit their chosen charities, and the share of those charities in their overall work is not disproportioned, far from it. William of course does much more, and much of what he does is not even reported. The people he meets appreciate it nevertheless.

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    9. Why does it have to be an either-or? One isn’t necessarily better than the other, they are just different-for different times! The Queen’s statement, ‘You must be seen to be believed’ was and still is true. But how that manifests itself had changed. Time, technology, and access had changed a lot! William holding a meeting with some random patronage(nursing home, community center, etc) is not going to make the front page of any printed page. But KP does tweet them out occasionally, thus, he is seen, by their 1.5 million followers and whoever else retweets it(most likely either Clarence House-792k followers or The Royal Family-3.7 million followers AND many blogs and online media outlets). Very different experience from the Queen as a young ruler 62 years ago, where she needed to go out and do something to get a photo op that might be printed in the paper.

      Besides, I know at least Julia has expressed this and I think others have as well-that they don’t the royals to be confused with celebrities. But that’s EXACTLY what celebs do! They show up, wander around for an hour or two and leave! I just checked one very popular celeb and in the last two months, they have promoted/supported 8 different causes or non-profits. How is that any different than The Queen showing up for an hour and leaving? But the younger generation diving in and really investing in a few important causes would set them apart and give weight to their credibility when they do the typical bread and butter engagements. I am not really sure why it was okay(and by okay, I mean almost saintly status) for Diana to have a few pet causes for not the next generation.

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    10. I was referring to the idea that many patronages and visits somehow lack quality even though they allow a royal to meet a huge number of people in different walks of life - specifically disagreeing (respectfully) with Royalfan's and Cece's remarks to the extent I think the many visits by the hard-working royals (Charles, Anne and the queen especially) have enormous value even if they don't 'dig too deep."

      Having said that, I stand by my remarks. I have followed this blog since the start. I can't recall a single visit Kate has made to a care home for the elderly - in her seven years of royal life, I believe I could count her hospital visits on my fingers - I'm not even sure there have been ten such visits - I don't recall her attending award ceremonies or many meetings outside her limited patronages and the number of small town visits she has made are very limited. The majority of her visits when not on tours relate to her patronages - which is expected, but those patronages as noted are limited. And those low numbers of her mean she's not meeting people, especially when you take tours out.

      Because William's activities are not reported here or easily elsewhere, I can speak less for him but until recently there has been no large number of engagements for him - and both he and Harry have spoken of not liking 'the ribbon cutting' and 'tree planting' conveniently ignoring the people who are involved with when ribbons are cut and trees planted. William has made a push to encourage charities to combine - which may mean diminished services in an already limited area (mental health). They have said they want to delve deeper in fewer things - and that implies openly they mean to be involved in fewer things.

      Many royal visits come from patronages - and even when there is not a royal visit, having a royal patron - even one who may visit only every couple of years, is valuable to a charity who can make note of the patronage when soliciting funds - and when they don't have a royal patron, those causes and charities don't disappear - they attempt to turn to celebrities - diminishing the need for a royal family and diluting its purpose.

      So behind my remark, yes, is the feeling that William, Kate and Harry find many royal visits tedious and are trying to minimise them. I do agree, I don't want royals to be like celebrities - seeking out flashy causes to draw attention - such as we can see almost weekly in magazines like Hello! The difference is I feel the younger royals ARE becoming more like celebrities - trying to link their names to causes of the moment - not bad causes for that -some like mental health are very important - but leaving a lot of less glamourous work that royals have traditionally done out.

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    11. Julia, I wonder about that as well. In an age of increasing and changing communication, the personal visit may being exchanged for digital presence. A more virtual royalty, if you will, to reflect the times.

      And it may be that, as of right now, the old guard has the "visit schedule" in the UK covered. The Queen, Charles, Anne, Edward, Sophie and the cousins are reaching out to the generations that are their peers and they can relate to. They have been around a lot longer then William and Kate and have established causes where they are well known and appreciated. Kate may have a passion for reading... but Camilla is already on that beat. What would be interesting is a study of Philip's patronages. Who was he regularly visiting and was anyone assigned to take up those posts? He was very military oriented and of course, now we have Harry, a veteran as well, working in that field. As odd as it may sound, we haven't had a "royal death" in 16 years - since the Queen Mother at 101 left the earth, when William was 20 years old. At that age, I'm sure she did not leave a gap in the royal outreach program. I don't think we are going to see much change until Charles is put on the throne -- except it does seem like Harry is being put forth as a Commonwealth ambassador to address the advancing age of the Queen and Charles taking on more roles on behalf of the monarch, with Harry picking up some of the outreach Charles did in foreign relations and William doing more ceremonial work at home.

      We don't have a resource that tracks William and Harry's work - the actual blood royals. We read blogs that focus on their wives. It would be interesting to see a William and Harry Tracker to see how they are spending their time given their life of privilege.

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    12. Julia, I don't think a quality vs. quantity approach translates into W&K not caring about people. The mental health issues they're advocating have a beneficial ripple effect on society as a whole. I think you're also not recognizing that other members of the RF are out there doing their thing as well. The Firm may be compartmentalized, but as a whole they do cover a lot of territory. Literally. And I would not expect the Queen to follow their lead; not at this stage of the game. But she is the Boss at the end of the day and the approach must have her seal of approval. Also, consider some of the internal competition that went on during the 80's and 90's...I think there's an added benefit to W&K (and H&M) concentrating on a particular area or two. The foursome will represent the RF for decades to come; I do not see the harm in the current approach. Let's also remember that with the Queen and Charles out there working, the idea of the younger generation building a solid foundation for the future is not unreasonable.

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    13. What I probably didn't articulate well is that while I don't believe in comparing work effort by numbers alone, I did not mean to imply nor did I even think for one second to discount the experience and dedication of senior royals nor demean the impact they have on the public. It is about the people, not just the event. I don't know how the royal responsibilities are divided up or assigned, or how many senior royals want to stay actively involved and choose to keep their patronages, but the numbers seem to be used as a measuring tool for who is the most productive royal, and on that basis alone I think William and Kate are unfairly judged. What patronage isn't represented by a royal? There is a change afoot in public perception and a mentor once told me that "to evolve is to survive". William and Kate may have actively chosen to champion some particular causes, but I do not believe that they are purposefully picking and choosing patronages and neglecting their royal duties because they don't care. Kate is only seven years into her royal responsibilities in comparison to 40-60 years of experience by other royals activities, she is also a young mother, and she is not next in line for the throne, she has a lifetime yet to go.

      To put things into perspective, it was a mere 107 years ago when George V set about changing the royal responsibilities from entitled aristocracy to working royals with duties, responsibilities and service to the public. In terms of time that is very short period for such a change to have evolved. He recognized a change in the perception of royalty on the world stage. It is stated that "George established a standard of conduct for British royalty that reflected the values and virtues of the upper middle-class rather than upper-class lifestyles or vices." This standard of conduct has been carried on by the following royals and exemplified in the rule of Queen Elizabeth who committed her life to these services. In my opinion there is no royal, in my lifetime, that will ever step into her shoes or compare to her on any level, as she has further laid the foundation that George V started and she has set the bar very, very high. She will be a very hard act to follow and status quo will inevitably change. I for one am willing to watch the path William and Kate are taking to lay down the foundation for their patronages, whatever they may be now or in the future, and build even stronger foundations for the benefit of their people. In that regard, William is following in Diana's footsteps. Diana was not all things to everybody, she found her niche and she chose to help where she had the most impact and that impact was memorable and profound. Each royal has a role and each has their style and manner of how to fulfill that role, some may reach more people, but others have greater impact....all should be acknowledged and respected. cc

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    14. I wish somebody would read you in KP, Julia.

      I really do.

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    15. I think William and Kate are laying the foundation for their patronages now while they are sort of third-tier royals. As they move closer to the crown, the types and number of Patronages and engagements they participate in will more than likely grow as well. At that point their children will be older as well. (on a personal note, as my child has gotten older, my volunteer work has grown and evolved as well.) Harry and Meghan are in a different position, as Harry will more than likely never be king at this point. So they can focus on the areas that they are passionate about. I don't feel that any of them have the attitude that other causes and events are not of interest to them and they won't participate.

      Focusing the spotlight on mental health issues is sorely needed; at least in the US, and I am assuming in the UK as well. There is never enough money to fund programs and so much is not covered by health insurance (again, I am speaking as an American. This is why those services/programs are considered charities. Having the Royals show up even once a year will bring attention to the desperate needs, and bring money to those charities. By learning about the different aspects of mental illness, the Royals are able to help these organization be more efficient and sort of connect the dots.

      Hope from USA

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    16. In reading the comments, there are opinions and responses that may disappoint and perhaps anger or strike a cord with many of the followers, but I think we all understand and respect that each commenters' motives are just as sincere, determined, and as important as the next persons. While our opinions may differ, we do share a common bond...we all follow the royals for one reason or another and seemingly want to see the royals be successful and do their best to provide much needed services to their country.....we just disagree on how best they can achieve it. cc

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  10. This post also makes me feel bittersweet...... time is flying by way too fast!! It's crazy looking back at when W&K were newlyweds...... it seems like it was just yesterday! Now they are parents of 3 & Harry's married..... all so exciting, but still ...... time flies by so fast!!!

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    1. This American aunt can relate. 😊

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  11. thank you fie your great post Charlotte its nice too see how the duchess really choose her Community as well i think she really connect as well

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  12. This post was obviously a lot of work, so thank you for putting it together. So in more than 7 years since Duchess Kate married in she has made 10/11 public visits (and 1 private visit) to AoA associated events. 2012 = 2 public visits; 2013 = 3 public visits, 2 of which double as engagements for two of her other patronages at the time: place2be and 100 women in finance charity gala; 2014 = 2 public events, 1 of which doubled as an engagement for place2be and the other was the AoA Autumn gala and I'm curious if this was a one-off gala?, an annual event?, a biannual event? as she has only attended this one time; 2015 = 1 public event (over a year later from her last event in 2014); 2016 = 2/3 public events, 1 engagement was on tour (almost a year after her only engagement in 2015) and doubled as an event for her patronage the Anna Frued Center, and I'm not sure if the Recovery Street Film Festival and the A Street Cat Named Bob premiere were the same event or should be counted separately but they were on the same day and obviously linked; 2017 = 0 public events, none (she didn't perform any events for six weeks in September/ early October due to HG, she made up her missed events in November); 2018 = 1 public event for Action on addiction. So in more than seven years, she has publicly supported Action on Addiction on only 10 days, so maybe 10-20 hours?

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    1. I am not sure counting the hours or days is a good idea, though it certainly shows something at the end of the year. On the other hand, if we consider she took on very few charities because she wanted to focus on certain issues and those only, now then it does not look so good.
      I am very curious why she chose AOA because she must have had a reason or goal or plan or relate to the subject at least because again that's why she has so little number of charities. Like all the royals who have pet causes. She is coming from a loving family and while there are loads of types of addiction but still wondering why. I would put up this question to her if I could. Hope, she could elaborate a little bit...

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    2. Thank you Anon, I was thinking the same thing! I too noticed she didn't do any visits in 2017. I am shocked by how little she did. I don't understand this generations royals that say they are taking fewer patronages in order to focus on them more. How is 1 visit a year really focusing on them? (And I don't believe the argument for 'behind the scenes", since the royals know they have to be seen to do any good). This post was really enlightening to how little time Kate spent on AoA. I hope her other patronages fare better :(
      -CC

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    3. I love the numbers! In seven years she gave 20 hours. Kate averages about 60 hours a year in public appearances. She spends most of her time as a wife and mother. Anett has a point as well. If you say: she takes an hour or so a year to publicize the good work of Addiction charities which gives the charities the opportunity for some press that is read by millions(?) Then you are showing the value of that hour. A more interesting way to look at her appearances is to track the press notices and readership of those press. In the UK it is my understanding that newspapers are still highly valued as a news resource so an article about Kate might reach quite a large audience and if they cover the actual work of that charity then the exposure that charity gets is huge. If they simply cover her wardrobe, then the opportunity is missed to educate, inform and perhaps engage the public.

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    4. 🌸 Florida Moxie. 😊 Even though Kate’s appearances have been relatively sparse, I think that she, William, Harry and Meghan are building a foundation, a platform that they will build on.
      As William said, during The Royal Foundation Forum, they are canvassing the planet to pinpoint charitable foundations or money sources that have a whole lot more resources than they do and that have the unction and abilities to help people.
      They are doing that reconnaissance with the desire, hope, plans to build, increase and expand their endeavors as they link up and create a more efficient network of professionals, facilities and other resources, including promotion, ie, reducing the stigma of being needy, for example.
      At the Royal Foundation Forum, William himself said, “We have big plans.”
      Like some, I have, at times, felt the Republican pings of, hummm, who do these people think they are living like Royalty?, lol. But then I remind myself of the work that they have all done for decades, for generations and I am comforted in that. Thank you King George V.
      Their impact is tangible. It is measurable. Just ask the participants in the Invictus games and military personnel around the world. Just ask the many, many people who got to put into effect on a huge scale, their gifts and talents in making the Royal Wedding happen. They all benefited tangibly from those efforts. Those are just a few examples.
      Kate has assimilated into a new family, a formidable Institution known as The British Monarchy and has set up more than one household all the while actually doing engagements and Royal stuff, and building a marriage and a family on the world stage.
      I think we will see these foundational years yield big dividends in the future all across the board.😉

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    5. Number analysis always leads me to wonder how many invitations, for example, Kate receives from Action on Addiction, or charity of which she is royal patron. She does not want to be in the way, but she needs to show up often enough to be of use. Only the charity itself can decide how much her presence is helpful. It might be difficult to obtain an honest interview from a charity director, but it would certainly balance the criticism.

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    6. The entire reason they claim that they have so few patronages is so that they can be hands on. How is 10 engagements in 7 years hands on? If her charities are refusing to invite her to more events (which I absolutely do not believe, as a volunteer myself for a similar organization and an unglamorous cause I know first hand how desperate such charites are for publicity. Why does EACH also have Ed Sheeran and now the Marchioness of Cholmondeley as patrons if they weren't desperate for publicity? Why haven't they reached their goal of raising all the funds for Nook after so many years if they were getting enough publicity already?) then surely she could take on more patronages since by this line of logic her current patronages apparently are insistent that she remain hands off instead of hands on which she claims to be.

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    7. And if she were so thoroughly hands on and impassioned about this cause, wouldn't we have a plethora of quotes from her on the topic at each and every engagement instead of one or two after 7 years? She wouldn't even need to prepare the quotes herself, she has an extremely large staff at KP who could do it for her in advance, to make sure any statements she made were vetted before hand. Wouldn't she be giving speeches at every single possible event? And when she does give speeches, wouldn't they not be virtually identical each and every time if she truly cared? Wouldn't she stay for hours every time? If AoA was concerned about media being present around vulnerable patients wouldn't she have done more private visits like her first one with a press release afterwards to garner publicity? She has no qualifications as a charity worker to speak of, so surely gaining publicity and fundraising is her biggest asset to ngos.

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  13. 🌸 William did say during The Royal Trust Foundation Forum that they are in it for the long haul, and that during that time they want to network all their charities with other similar charities, foundations and organizations for optimal efficacy.

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  14. Love it. This will be such a fun series! Thank you for all the research and work you are putting in Charlotte!

    Anett, not sure if this will help answer your question but I had several roommates in college who went the social work route. They all came from stable loving families, much like Kate’s. It was because they were very aware of their good fortune that they wanted to press in and fight for others to have those same opportunities. I am wondering if that’s Kate’s motivation- she has the platform and wants to use it to help create opportunities for others to have the same loving childhood she did, with strong emotional suppprt(however that looks for individual families).

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    1. I agree Katie. An happy childhood and the wish to make people as happy as she was. I also think she has common sense and sees the real roots of problems. That was what struck me the most at the time, her common sense. For action against addiction is not a glamorous, fashionable or even politically correct cause but one that is very necessary.

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    2. Thanks Katie! You might be absolutely right!:)

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  15. How good of you to recap Kate's interest in this important work, and a fashion retrospective too. I remember the furor about the black and white chevron number, and the white peplum suit is so perfect for her. That white evening gown is a stunner, I hope we see it again. I think fewer patronages makes so much more sense. I like to see the young Royals make a difference this way.

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  16. Thank You Charlotte for this thoughtful post. It reminds us all, of the work Kate has set in motion, and the hope it brings to many.
    Kate was never going to be just about the cutting of ribbons, she was always going to be about be in the heart of what made each of her charities tick. Going forward, I think W&K and H&M are going to do great work, here and abroad.

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  17. This is a good idea for a series of posts while Kate is on maternity leave. A retrospective of her work is certainly worthwhile.

    Charlotte, perhaps you can take a moment to tell us how you got started blogging and what it's like to do what you do. :)

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  18. Hi, ladies! Long time follower, first time commenter, here. My sister got me started following the blog and we also follow the World of Windsor blog. On Sunday, June 3, World of Windsor posted a painting of DoC. I followed the links that were above the picture, but they only went to other blogs. Did anyone see it and do you know where it originated or who painted it? It was a very nice painting and very good likeness of Kate, and my sister and I were wondering who could have painted it.

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  19. I am seeing different views regarding the younger royals' charity work, or Kate's in particular. Coming from the US, I had just thought, oh, how nice that one of Diana's sons has found a "genuine" person to marry. I enjoyed seeing her clothes and especially reading/seeing details of the places she visited. And it is interesting to read details of royal life. And this blog has amazing information and photographs!

    From the posts lately, I can see the polar positions of Kate caring enough to "dig deep" and Kate making very few visits anywhere. I personally think that if you want to help a cause, the best way is to bombard it with your presence. Kate is not going to assist in research but she can make one place her every-Tuesday stop. Obviously that would take up too much time based on her current schedule and chosen lifestyle, but it would be effective.

    So then you have to ask whether she needs to earn her keep, which is a very good keep, or whether just having the royalty is reward enough for citiens. I can understand when someone writes that nonroyals are suffering, so they expect some real time-consuming efforts to be made. Frankly, I think just the usual of cutting ribbons, making local appearances, etc. helps out a lot, especially if you do it maybe 600 times a year. As they say, I don't have a horse in this race, so I do not begrudge Kate a summer off and expect very little from her except a stable home life.

    Is there somewhere in-between where the reality lies? Possibly that Kate is more interested in home and family than in charity work other than just a little, as most people of the upper class seem to do? She still seems to be a very nice person, and a real asset for her generation of royals. What o you think?

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    1. I agree with you, that the best way to make a difference is to be present. A lot.

      I think Kate has been (and continues to be) an inspiration for many, but I can also very much understand how people expect more appearances from her when there is a lot of suffering and making ends meet happening in the world, yet the monarchy is still being partially financially upheld by the citizens. I don't think anyone begrudges a mom time with her kids. With Kate making so few appearances across the board since her marriage, however, I can understand how that would be frustrating. Monarchy is a quickly fading idea and it seems people are growing tired of that idea, especially if their money is going towards it. I am not a UK citizen, so I don't know 100% what it's like, but I imagine it could feel frustrating to partially fund someone who isn't putting in those 600-a-year ribbon cuttings and such, as you said. It's a tough question, for sure.

      I think for me, if the monarchy wants to exist in the near future, having a small group of royals who consistently put in the work and show their faces is what's needed. I think the Duchess of Sussex has the right idea in filling up her schedule (if she truly does stick to her promise of doing so). I'm not attempting to compare her with Kate, I simply think that the young royals will have to show up and make the monarchy relevant in the future, if that's what they want, otherwise it will fade fast. And I think this is absolutely possible to do while still nurturing your home life and your children.

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  20. I am really inspired by all that Catherine does! God bless her and thanks Charlotte.

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  21. Courtney from NC7 June 2018 at 15:02

    I just saw in the news that Queen Maxima's youngest sister has passed away due to apparent suicide. It is believed she had mental health issues and depression. On the heels of another on a string of well known people, Kate Spade, taking their own life it just highlights how important what Heads Together and other patronages of Kate such as Action on Addiction are doing.

    Kate has chosen patronages that highlight very tough subjects, ones that aren't fun or pretty or glamorous. We all have our opinions on the number of engagements she performs but her real draw is her fame, her name. Just being attached brings the patronages attention, funds and raises awareness. The continual news stories about suicides, school shootings and murders highlights how needed mental healthcare is. It is just as paramount as physical healthcare. Even more important because mental health affects physical health. I am just thankful Kate, William and Harry (with the new addition of Meghan) have chosen to champion the invisible illnesses, the wounds that can't be seen, the things people suffer in the dark and alone. Could Kate do more engagements? Yes, but we could all do more. Every single one of us.

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    1. Exactly right, Courtney. I agree with you and it seems like there is also behind the scene work that also goes on with meetings or unpublicized visits that people aren't aware of until sometimes months later.

      Border Terrier Lover :-)

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    2. 🌸 Courtney. We all just have to do better. A better world starts with each individual 24/7.
      Even something as simple as sowing a smile into someone’s day can make a huge difference. Just ask me, I know.😊 I received a big smile just the other day when my thoughts were not encouraging ones. The smile reminded that those thoughts didn’t need to take root in my day and that they were just in the category of “fretting”. Who knew a big smile could re-route my day. See. Even a smile counts. 😊

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    3. Courtney from NC7 June 2018 at 19:06

      SG - One thing that I have been trying to teach my children as they get older is that kindness costs nothing. Opening a door, smiling at someone, saying hello, picking up something someone drops and handing it to them, letting someone with one item at the grocery store go before you, etc. are simple things that are so easy and so quick to do
      I always tell them you never know what is going on in someone's life and you never know what impact a simple kindness can have.

      As someone who struggles with depression and a whole lot of anxiety, I know that when I am starting to panic and feeling myself starting to spiral a bit a smile or reassuring nod can make all the difference.

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    4. 🌸 Courtney.❤️xoxo. Great lessons.

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    5. Sending you a big smile, Courtney!

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  22. Very sad news about Maxima's sister. Looking at photos of Maxima yesterday (looking lovely in a blue dress) there were a couple of photos of her where it looked like she had fallen ill - the rest of the photos showed her glorious smile as usual. I wonder if she already had the news but was carrying on.

    My condolences to her and her family. The loss of a family member to suicide is a terribly difficult thing.

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  23. Thanks, Charlotte. I’m glad the Duchess of Cambridge supports the charity Action on Addiction. Substance abuse has been one of the primary causes of family dysfunction.

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  24. Well said, Courtney @ 15:02. We all could do more to combat mental health illnesses and substance abuse.

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  25. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi4nI22hDHe/?taken-by=royalsofgreatbritain

    Okay totally off topic, but did anyone see this before? I remember reading that Kate had been spotted walking with Charlotte and Louis, but never saw a photo until now. What I find funny is this photo proves how often the papers get it wrong. Every story reported that Kate was wearing a brown gingham dress with sensible pumps (first reported by Vanity Fair). While this photo shows that was inaccurate. She is wearing her pink seraphine dress with her superga shoes. I am happy to see Lupo joining in :).

    CuriousKat

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    1. I think the general consenus is that they were two separate occasions. The Vanity Fair report did not have a photo.

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    2. Rebecca - Sweden8 June 2018 at 14:13

      I'm not sure that proves anything (I mean, papers get it wrong all the time. I just dont think this is proof). Specifics such as the brown dress and pumps would not have been printed when they could have gotten by with saying "a dress". The most likely explanation is that it was 2 different sightings :)

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