Tuesday, 19 October 2021

UPDATED: Kate Speaks of Tackling Addiction from a 'Position of Compassion and Empathy' During Keynote Speech

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke of the importance of approaching addiction from "a position of compassion and empathy" in an impassioned keynote speech marking the launch of the Forward Trust's Taking Action on Addiction campaign.

The Duchess chose Action on Addiction as one of her very first patronages as a working royal almost a decade ago. As Kate undertook various engagements and visits for the charity, she began to link addiction to her early years work and the impact on the family as a whole. In 2013, the Duchess said, "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." In February 2018, she officially opened Action on Addiction's new treatment centre in Wickford, Essex, and reflected on her first meetings with those involved in the charity as "the start of my learning", adding, "You're very special to me."

We've discussed the incredibly difficult challenges the pandemic presented to charities all over the world. Action on Addiction's much-loved Brink bar (the UK's first 'dry bar') offered a social and supportive space, but was unable to reopened its doors once restrictions permitted due to financial pressures. In March, it was announced Action on Addiction had merged with the Forward Trust, another charity doing the same vital work supporting those in the fight against addiction and their loved ones. Their combined name moving forward is the Forward Trust, however, the Action on Addiction name continues to feature due to its prominence in the UK. Kate became patron of the trust in June. Below, Kate visiting the Brink on Valentine's Day 2012.

Addressing guests, the Duchess said, "Addiction is not a choice. No-one chooses to become an addict. But it can happen to any one of us. None of us are immune. Yet it’s all too rarely discussed as a serious mental health condition. And seldom do we take the time to uncover and fully understand its fundamental root causes."

The Duchess added: "I have had the privilege of being patron of Action on Addiction for nine years, and have seen the work of The Forward Trust at HMP Send on several occasions. I am continually struck by the passion, expertise and commitment of the staff and volunteers, and indeed it was the conversations I had with individuals and families affected by addiction that have been a major driving force in my ongoing work on early childhood. With the link between early childhood trauma and addiction later in life becoming more widely understood, it is more important than ever that we focus on these issues so that we can create a happier, healthier, more nurturing society."

A video of the speech.

The Telegraph reports:

'Saying she is “so passionate” about the work of The Forward Trust during the event at the BAFTA headquarters in London, she paid tribute to the work charities do “day in, day out” to help those who need it.

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on addiction rates,” she added. “And families and children are having to cope with addiction in greater numbers than ever before.”

Quoting research, she said 1.5 million more people have now reported increased alcohol consumption since lockdown began, with another 2m who had been in recovery experiencing a relapse.

Saying “there is hope”, she spoke of the “incredible people” she has met who through “their own hard work” and the help of charities, have turned their lives around.  

These are stories of healing, of hope and recovery, that can inspire us all,” she added.

We can all play our part in helping this work. By understanding, by listening, by connecting. So that together we can build a happier, healthier and more nurturing society.”

The event was completed by arguably the UK's favourite presenting duo, Ant and Dec.

People reports:

'And on the way into the event, Kate, 39, had been surprised — bumping into two British TV celebrities, hosts of I'm A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnolly. Kate composed herself and joked that she thought she was "in trouble" and that they were going to make her do one of their "tucker trials." Presenter Dec, who was also with singer Tom Walker, said "We can arrange that."

Many of you will remember Ant McPartlin's highly documented struggle with addiction in 2015. Following a knee operation he became addicted to painkillers. McPartlin was involved in a car crash in 2018 before entering rehab with the support and encouragement of loved ones. I remember feeling quite horrified by the manner in which the story was covered at the time. The relentless coverage could only have served to compound the situation. Ant told Kate, "By the time I asked for help, it was bad, but as soon as you opened up to people, problems have got to disappear. It gets better and help is there."

More from the Standard:

'The Forward Trust is set to launch a recovery fund targeting an additional £9 million to help respond to the growing need for addiction treatment and support.

David Bernstein, chairman of the charity, said of Kate: “Renewing her commitment to lifting the stigma around addiction so that more people can ask for help will have a profound impact.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on addiction. Rates of harmful drinking and drug-related deaths are at an all-time high, and gambling addiction is rising at an alarming rate.'

The Duchess chatting with guests.

Kensington Palace said, "Over the last ten years the Duchess’s experience working with addiction charities has helped lay the groundwork for her understanding of the complexities of mental health and has informed much of her work on the early years. Experiences in early childhood, before the age of five, are proven to have significant impact on adult lives, including resilience and the ability to cope with adversity. The Forward Trust has been helping people break the destructive cycle of addiction and build positive and productive futures since 1991. Delivering a large and diverse range of addiction, employment, and mental health services nationally, Forward Trust believes that anyone is capable of lasting change."

'Taking Action on Addiction' is a long-term campaign which will work to improve awareness and understanding of addiction, its causes and scale in society, to enable more people to ask for and receive help. The launch of the campaign coincides with Addiction Awareness Week, running from 18-24 October, which strives to provide a platform to highlight the challenges of addiction, to engage with people and families affected, and to raise public awareness.

To learn more about the campaign, please click here.

Kate's speech in its entirety:

"Thank you Ant and Dec and to the Forward Trust for bringing us all here together this morning.

I am so pleased to be joining you to launch The ‘Taking Action on Addiction’ campaign, and I am grateful to those of you who have shared your experiences of addiction with me here today.

Addiction is not a choice. No one chooses to become an addict. But it can happen to any one of us. None of us are immune.

Yet it’s all too rarely discussed as a serious mental health condition. And seldom do we take the time to uncover and fully understand its fundamental root causes.

The journey towards addiction is often multi-layered and complex. But, by recognising what lies beneath addiction, we can help remove the taboo and shame that sadly surrounds it.

As a society, we need to start from a position of compassion and empathy. Where we nurture those around us, understand their journey, and what has come before them.

We need to value and prioritise care and support, helping to restore and connect individuals who are clearly suffering, to the people around them.

That is why I am so passionate about the work of The Forward Trust, an organisation I am so proud to be patron of. This is the work that you, and many other charities, provide day in, day out. And it is needed now, more than ever.

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on addiction rates. And families and children are having to cope with addiction in greater numbers than ever before.

We know that over one and a half million people across the UK who did not have substance misuse prior to lockdown, may now be experiencing problems associated with increased alcohol consumption.

Around 2 million individuals who were identified as being in recovery, may have experienced a relapse over the past 18 months.

And almost one million young people and children are showing an increase in addictive behaviour since the pandemic began.

Yet, there is hope. Over the last ten years, I have had the privilege of meeting many incredible people who have lived through the harsh realities of addiction. Through their own hard work, and with the help from communities and charities, such as The Forward Trust, lives really are being turned around.

These are stories of healing, of hope and recovery, that can inspire us all.

I fully support The ‘Taking Action on Addiction’ campaign to improve awareness and understanding of addiction. The campaign will show us that, not only do many people recover from addiction, they can go on to prosper.

We can all play our part in helping this work. By understanding, by listening, by connecting. So that together we can build a happier, healthier and more nurturing society."

The Duchess looked fabulous in a red roll-neck, fitted sweater and flowing skirt.

Kate's sweater is a Ralph Lauren piece. The eagle-eyed Middleton Maven suggests the Cashmere Turtleneck style in 'martin red'. It's available in several colours on the website.

With thanks to Caroline Parr, the Duchess wore a customised version of Christopher Kane's crystal-embellished pleated skirt

Made in Italy, the original piece is described as: "Welcome (back) to the roaring 1920s! Channel your inner flapper girl and dance the night away in this red crystal-embellished pleated skirt from Christopher Kane. Go ahead, paint the town red. Featuring a fitted waist, a long length, a pleated design, crystal embellishments and fringe details." It's available $995/£720 at Farfetch.

The Duchess carried her DeMellier Nano bag.

The £295 Nano Montreal in deep toffee smooth is described as a "petite structured cross-body bag with a removable/adjustable cross-body strap and tubular top handle".

The Duchess wore her Ralph Lauren Celia pumps.

And accessorised with her Asos twisted circle hoops.

After the event, Kensington Palace shared a behind-the-scenes photo with the caption "Final preparations for today's Forward Trust speech". 

A very important and memorable speech for the Duchess.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

The Duchess Brings Back Classic McQueen for Earthshot Prize Awards

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards ceremony at London's Alexandra Palace this evening.

William and Kate walked the 'green carpet' upon arrival.

Created by Prince William and the Royal Foundation, the Earthshot Prize has led a global search for the most effective and innovative solutions to the greatest environmental challenges facing the planet. The Earthshot Prize has been described as "a truly global event, anchored in London and connecting with finalists and winners all over the world".

A video shared by Victoria Murphy.

The initiative was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’ programme in the 1960s, which united millions of people around the goal of reaching the Moon.

Kensington Palace said, "The Earthshot Prize aims to incentivise change and inspire collective action around our unique ability to innovate, problem solve and ultimately repair our planet over the next ten years. The Earthshot Prize is based on five ‘Earthshot’ goals: Protect and restore nature; Fix our climate; Clean our air; Revive our oceans; Build a waste free world. Five £1 million prizes will be awarded each year for the next 10 years, providing at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030." The Palace added the event is "celebration of the natural world, focussed on turning the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism by celebrating the people and places driving change  - the first-ever Earthshot Prize Finalists and Winners."

As part of the effort, a Global Alliance was formed with an array of well-known organisations and foundations, including the UN Environment Programme, WWF, the Green Belt Movement, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, National Geographic, Jeff Bezos' Earth Fund, Rob & Melani Walton Foundation, and Mike Bloomberg's philanthropies.

Presenter Dame Emma Thompson on the green carpet.

People reports:

'Presenter Emma Thompson said she came in the outfit she wore when she last saw Prince William — her suit and the badge that signifies her damehood. 

"On our little notes they said 'Please do not buy anything new for this.' Can you imagine? The relief! So I got my dame suit that I wore when I went to the palace," she shared.

Thompson also showed off a ring that her husband Greg Wise "bought me for 30 bucks in New York" and her vegan sneakers. She spoke about the evening as an opportunity to help counter the hopelessness of issues like food waste, saying, "One of the solutions is going to be here and that makes me happy."

Emma Watson chose a layered white dress crafted from a number of pieces bought in Oxfam.

With the exception of the Duchess, the look of the evening goes to Joana Sanz (wife of Earthshot Council member and footballer Dani Alves). Joana looked like a Grecian goddess in a soft pink gown with draped shoulder detail.

Hosts Dermot O'Leary and Clara Amfo with performer Yemi Alade.

Guests were seated in Alexandra Palace's incredible East Court Theatre.

The scene inside.

The intricate set design depicts space and gold leaves representing the Earthshot logo.

More from Town & Country:

'During the ceremony, a short film recorded in the London Eye will be played, in which Prince William says, "We are alive in the most consequential time in human history... The actions we choose or choose not to take in the next ten years will determine the fate of the planet for the next thousand. A decade doesn’t seem long, but humankind has an outstanding record of being able to solve the unsolvable"

The ceremony will feature performances from artists Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, KSI and Yemi Alade, and Shawn Mendes. Coldplay’s performance, from outside of Alexandra Palace, will use energy powered by 60 cyclists.'

The Earthshot Prize Medal is inspired by the iconic 'Earthrise' photograph taken of Earth from the Moon by astronaut William Anders aboard Apollo 8 in 1968. It was selected to reflect the "beauty and fragility" of our planet.

Buckingham Palace turned green ahead of the event.

Prince Charles issued a heartfelt statement in support of Earthshot. A lifelong environmentalist and one of the earliest voices in the fight against climate change, Charles has devoted a significant portion of his life's work to protecting the planet. He wrote:

'I am very proud of my son, William, for his growing commitment to the environment and the bold ambition of the Earthshot Prize.

As a world, we need to come together to inspire, reimagine and build the sustainable future we so desperately need.

Over the coming decade, with future generations in mind, the Earthshot Prize, and its inspirational nominees, will help us find the innovative solutions.

In parallel, through my Terra Carta and Sustainable Markets Initiative, we will work to mobilise the trillions of dollars required to transition the global economy on to a more sustainable trajectory.'

The Duchess presented the award under the Protect and Restore Nature Category. Kate said: "Nature is vital to us all. A thriving natural world regulates our climate, nurtures our physical and mental health, and helps feed our families,' she told the 100-strong audience. For too long, we've neglected our wild spaces and now we're facing a number of tipping points. If we don't act now, we will permanently destabilize our planet and we will rob our children of the future they deserve. Our Earthshot Prize finalists show us, however, that we can by 2030 see the natural world growing, not shrinking, for the first time in centuries."

More from People:

'Announcing the winner, the Republic of Costa Rica, she said that country had showed "that deforestation can be turned around whilst growing your economy." Accepting it, President Carlos Quesada said, "We acknowledge that major conservation is a shared value. We accept this recognition with pride but humility. What we have achieved in this small country in central America can be done anywhere. We will continue recognizing nature as our most valuable asset advancing towards a carbon neutral in a nature positive world." 

Moments earlier, co-host Clara Amfo said they'd asked Prince William to "pull a few strings" and ask Kate to present an award. Introducing the Duchess of Cambridge, fellow co-host Dermot O'Leary said, "Thankfully he came up trumps – though I doubt this is what she had in mind when he mentioned date night."

When Kate met Emma :)

As the awards came to an end, William said: "I want to say something to all the young people watching tonight. For too long, we haven’t done enough to protect the planet for your future. But Earthshot is for you. In the next ten years we are going to act. We are going to find the solutions to repair our planet."

The Duke and Duchess speak to winners via video call. 

Chatting with guests including the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who joined the couple for a Generation Earthshot event earlier this week. 

A behind-the-scenes photo with Global Optimism co-founder Tom Rivett-Carnac. 

As noted by Dame Emma Thompson, guests were asked to choose outfits with sustainability in mind. When Kate had a look through her closet (and one can imagine what a glorious sight that is at Kensington Palace), she decided it was time to bring back the divine lilac Grecian Alexander McQueen gown she debuted a decade ago in Los Angeles for a BAFTA event. It was an incredibly special engagement, and by far the most glamorous Kate had undertaken. Kate was the toast of Tinsel Town as she mingled with the stars.

Whenever we discuss the possibility of repeating gowns, it never fails to feature in your top three choices, and it's easy to see why. It remains timeless, classic and very much a 'princess gown'.


Kate's only alteration was a change of waist belt. Instead of the shimmering piece she wore in 2011, the Duchess chose a pearl beaded style. 


Kate accessorised with stunning Kiki McDonough morganite earrings.


Kate sported her Oscar de la Renta Cabrina pumps.

We'll see the Duchess on Tuesday. Kate's due to deliver the keynote speech at an event hosted by the Forward Trust to launch the charity’s “Taking Action on Addiction” campaign.

Kate's Favourites