People: Duchess Kate is a ‘pioneer’ for talking about addiction & mental health

The Duchess of Cambridge visits RHS Wisley

I’ve said this many times now, but it’s worth saying again: I’d like to get to the point where we can treat the Duchess of Sussex like we treat the Duchess of Cambridge. We can actually GOSSIP about Kate, and tease her for her buttons and wedges and keenness, whereas the conversations around Meghan have become so toxic and nasty that when I have a minor, mild criticism of Meg, it feels like I’m siding with racist C-U-Next-Tuesdays. I’d like to add something to this larger conversation about the differences in the way we discuss the two duchesses: if the PR around Kate wasn’t so breathlessly sycophantic, we might actually have room to give her some genuine praise at times, rather than laughing at how she’s Future Queen material just because she sat there for one whole meeting.

Kate’s Back to Nature garden was a good example of all of that. The garden was a good effort, and Kate should be praised for talking about how kids should spend more time in nature, and spend time away from various screens. That’s a good issue and she legitimately cares about it deeply. But the over-the-top “keen” PR around it just kills me. Speaking of, Kate has been a patron of Action on Addiction for years. She’s keen enough to do a handful of events around the patronage every year. I believe Kate actually cares about how addiction affects families, and I also believe that the issue of addiction was probably not one that the royal courtiers would have chosen for her, they would have wanted something more fluffy and less about drugs and alcohol. Kate should get praise for her work on a tricky subject. But much like the Back to Nature garden, the praise is so f–king over the top, it becomes absurd. People Magazine devoted an article to her work with this patronage called “How ‘Pioneer’ Kate Middleton Is Bringing Addiction and Mental Health ‘Out of the Shadows’.” Ugh.

Kate Middleton has helped bring the scourge of addiction and how it’s wider effect on families into the forefront. Seven years of involvement with one of her key charities, Action on Addiction, was a “catalyst” for her keen interest early childhood development, the royal mom has said. Kate, 37, is now sending out “a really important message that addiction is not something that should be hidden away behind closed doors,” says Graham Beech, chief executive of Action on Addiction. “The more people talk about it, the more they can find the help and get the treatment that they need.”

Kate has “helped us to bring addiction out of the shadows and encouraged other people to rally ’round and support what we’re trying to do at a time when addiction is becoming ever more complex and growing in volume,” he adds. Out and about as she meets people through the charity, she “has this almost innate ability to enable people to feel at ease,” Beech tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.

He joined the duchess as she met with around eight people who’d been through one of the charity’s treatment programs. “They talked to her very, very naturally,” he says. “And they were keen to share their stories. She made it very easy for them to do so and was very, very engaged in the conversation.”

For Phil Caine, a recovery coach from the Cumbria Drug and Alcohol Service who met Kate and husband Prince William in Keswick, northwest England, in June, that rings true. “I felt like I was speaking to somebody who had an equal understanding of what was going on,” he says. “She had empathy for the people and the situation. I felt that she was very present in that moment. That’s what I mean by presence. Not presence as in, ‘Wow, a princess is walking through.’ “

Describing Kate as “a pioneer,” he says, “For someone of such a high profile willing to look and evaluate a situation that society is struggling with and go into communities like ours brings it to the mainstream. It makes it real.” He praises the royals’ Heads Together (an initiative that was Kate’s idea) project for giving young people “a lot of hope. Their taking responsibility to teach people about mental health shows great promise. She’s definitely got a lot of drive and is definitely very informed about the issue.”

After meeting, the teens gave Kate and William a sneak peek of their latest short film, Boy. Within hours, the couple’s social media posted a link to it. “They’re obviously true to their word,” says Robinson. “They said they’d take a look and they obviously liked it so much that they posted it.”

[From People]

A “pioneer” who is apparently the first person ever to be keen to listen to people talk about addiction… in 2019. Again, I want to be clear: it’s great that Kate cares. It’s great that she took on a trickier patronage. It’s great that Kate gives a sh-t about how addiction affects families. Her keenness is great. But people are literally trying to “embiggen” and canonize her because… she yacht-raced for an addiction patronage and she listened to some people.

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge attends the King's Cup Regatta in Isle of Wight

Photos courtesy of Backgrid and Avalon Red.

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50 Responses to “People: Duchess Kate is a ‘pioneer’ for talking about addiction & mental health”

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  1. Margareth says:

    Enough Kate with this awful PR strategy, You sounds more and more dumb.

  2. Loretta says:

    Is she a 37 years old woman or a child? This is a PR mess.

  3. Vanessa says:

    OMG they’re really afraid about the Sussexes.

  4. Becks1 says:

    oh man. LOLOL.

    Its actually an interesting comparison. I feel like its hard to look at Meghan objectively sometimes and see what might be a legitimate criticism, because I feel so defensive of her because she is attacked for everything, whether real or imaginary.

    And Kate is similar – its hard to look at her objectively sometimes and see what might be a legitimate “good” thing, because currently she is praised for everything and anything (including Meghans Smart Set launch…..)

    Her garden is a good project. Getting more kids outside and active is a good initiative, and she did something tangible (create a garden) rather than just make general statements about it. So good for her. But the reason so many of us roll our eyes at it is because we’ve been hearing about this damn garden since January and the praise for it is just weirdly over the top at this point.

    Same with this article. She’s a pioneer?? Really? GMAFB.

    • Peg says:

      You have to pay to see the Garden.

      • Becks1 says:

        Yeah….I know that, I said that to another poster today. That doesn’t mean its not a good project in general.

    • Green Desert says:

      That’s the biggest issue I have with all of this Meghan/Kate stuff too, Becks1. Meghan is dragged for everything she does and Kate is praised for everything she does, to the point where non-story fluff pieces are produced about her. It’s not necessarily Kate’s fault, but the silence from the Cambridges on all of the Meghan/Sussex attacks is deafening.

  5. Daisy says:

    Didn’t british papers complain People/whatever were getting exclusives on Meghan because they were from America? So now what? People has been putting out a bunch of Kate fluff pieces. Will they keep up that energy for her as well?

  6. damejudi says:

    I’m no authority on the BRF, but isn’t Princess Diana credited with being the first royal to address mental health issues?

    • line says:

      Diane was the first royal to talk about eating disorders, depression and drug addiction. Since Diana you have Letizia of Spain and Princess Victoria of Sweden who speak about her subjects well before Kate becomes duchess.

  7. Bettyrose says:

    The rhetoric around Kate is getting creepy, putting her on a pedestal there’s only one way off of.

    • Becks1 says:

      It almost makes me wonder if something is coming down the pipeline about Rose and William. This is all about how wonderful KATE is, and I wonder if that’s in preparation for something. I don’t think its a divorce, but this is starting to feel creepy like you say, like the media is trying very hard to convince people that Kate is perfect. The current onslaught feels unnecessary, Kate is enjoying a wave of goodwill after charlotte’s BTS pics, but……here we have it.

      ETA like if this is the beginning stage of a PR campaign designed to protect and promote Kate.

      • Vanessa says:

        “like if this is the beginning stage of a PR campaign designed to protect and promote Kate”
        If it were really so then they failed miserably seeing that the only result they got is that of Kate being ridiculed everywhere.

      • Becks1 says:

        Well I never said they were good at this PR stuff LOL

      • Megan says:

        I get the sense People Mag is desperate for some clicks. You can almost smell their desperation in the purple prose.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        IMHO, there is a big kettle pot of “Rose Who?” simmering on the back burner just waiting to boil over if it is not properly watched and maintained.

      • MsIam says:

        I think they are building Kate up because the Meghan/Harry tour to Africa is coming later this month. That is going to be all over the headlines, but I’m sure the RRs will try and spin it negatively somehow. So the Keen Kamp is trying to make sure that no one forgets about the future Kween when they are reading about that darn duchess.

      • blue36 says:

        I think people are reading too much into this and Rose, that story is done with and will not come back anytime soon. I don’t think Rose liked the negative attention that came with being linked to that story – their social media posts were filled with insults directed towards her, if more is published she’ll be crucified by the public (it will be Camilla all over again). These stories are just to prop Kate up, which honestly is a lot better than those that elevated her while degrading Meghan at the same time (like that piece by Dampier)

  8. Seraphina says:

    Who ever writes this stuff needs a mental health check.

  9. Burdzeye View says:

    We are not living in a Hallmark Movie – enough with this fluff its pathetic.

  10. kerwood says:

    I can’t wait for when she cures cancer. Too many have died from this deadly disease. Maybe she can tackle it on her next ‘budget ‘ flight to Balmoral.

    • Jen says:

      Not only will she cure it, but it will never have occurred to anyone else that it should be cured. She’ll be the pioneer.

  11. lucylee says:

    Let me guess,………

  12. lucylee says:

    duplicate post.

  13. Mignionette says:

    Okay then…

    Something tells me that the Rose story is about to break and Ma Middleton is getting ahead of it. It all makes sense now, Carole stepping back. Billy not attending her 60th etc etc. There clearly has been a rift in the Middleton/ Camb ranks and Carole is ready for the fall out.

    Only problem is Kate hasn’t done much to define herself over the last 10+ years so now there is a rush to build a persona beyond being Bill’s wife.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Yeah I think something negative about them is about to come out. Maybe someone has finally spilled the tea to the press about Rose Who?

      Carole hasn’t really stepped back, she and Mike have been seen at at least 2 events with them – the Kings Cup regatta and then she (Carole) went up to Balmoral with them. Dowager Duchess Carole is still very much part of that family, she’s still the one pulling the strings. And yeah a story like this has her hands all over it – they’re trying to get ahead of something.

  14. Silas says:

    Kate reminds me of the comments on James Middleton at his Marshmallow Headquarters, swanning in and out but leaving the actual work and knowledge of what was going on to someone else. A whole three hour meeting!

    Also, Kate only seems interested in things that relate back to her so somewhere along the line, I wouldn’t be suprised if she’s had an experience with how addiction has affected her family. I genuinely don’t know and of course I say this with no judgement whatsoever. It’s a good cause.

  15. line says:

    They must stop with this appalling public relations strategy that is to make Kate seems like the Great Catherine. No she is not a pioneer in mental health and addiction, all the talk she’s made about her two problem is blaming parents who dare to work.

    The truth is that in 8 years of royal life she has absolutely nothing significant accomplished except to give birth to an heir and two pieces of exchange. But at the same time blame Kate for being very lazy is very easy, because she always was like that.

    I ‘blaming more William to have chosen a wife who has complement unsuited to the function because all the other royals to is marrying women capable of do the work (Felipe, Christian, Harry Wilhem-Alexander ….

    • Staci says:

      I have always believed that the draw of Kate for William was Carole. He lost his mother at an early age and Carole swooped in with the nurturing he was missing since Diana’s death. He preferred other women, but couldn’t handle strong women with opinions. And the ones he was interested in saw through him and definitely didn’t want him….so back to Kate he went. With Kate he gets someone who has been trained, by Carole, to sit back and let him shine, and to constantly feed his ego.

  16. Marie says:

    I’m totally fine with Kate doing a garden. I would love to see Meghan do one in the future but the endless praise and PR for Kates was ridiculous! Harry designed two gardens for Sentabale while he was in the military and barely got an article about it. This PR for Kate is awful. They make her out to be this perfect person who never makes mistakes and before Meghan she was still learning and trying to find her interests. Now, she is the matriarch of the royal family. They handle her with kid gloves.

    • Jen says:

      I would say the problem with the PR is that it is so transparent, but she has so many Stans that they don’t even realize it. They think she’s getting this PR because she deserves it.

    • wisdomheaven says:

      I wouldn’t say that actually. Harry’s garden got a huge amount of attention and PR and the whole RF also came out to see it. I would say that KP actually used that roll out as the blueprint for Kate’s, almost to a T. Harry didn’t take his garden on the road though and at the time didn’t have the ace in the hole of 3 cute kids to augment the roll out.

      Edward Lane Fox was very good at his job. His departure has left a big hole in Harry’s (and now Meghan’s too) team that they have not been able to fill well thus far. We shall see how Fiona does.

      • blue36 says:

        Idk how I feel about Fiona, she used to work for David Cameron and the fact that the courtiers like her irks me. Almost like they are sending in an agent to destroy from within.

  17. anniefanne says:

    I thought the selection of mental health and addiction was true to form in following the Princess Diana blueprint as she widely hailed for her AIDs work. Kate strikes me as someone who carefully curates her image these might have been daring choices 30 years ago, now, not so much…

  18. OriginalLala says:

    Such over the top nonsense, it just makes her look completely incompetent. Getting gold stars for doing the bare minimum, what a racket.

  19. Jasmin3 says:

    Genuine question. Does it matter or not that the (seemingly over the top) quotes are from actual people – Graham Beech, chief executive of Action on Addiction, and Phil Caine recovery coach from the Cumbria Drug and Alcohol Service – rather than sources close to the Palace or whatever?

    • wisdomheaven says:

      I think it is over the top because Kate hasn’t actually done much if anything tangible on addiction. But on the other hand that is what royal patron organization bosses do—up their patrons lol. So over the top praise is the norm no matter who the royal is.

      • Jasmin3 says:

        @wisdomheaven, I am sure Kate hasn’t done much – in the royal tradition – I am just commenting that this isn’t a PR plant by unnamed sources, it’s actual quotes from the organisations she’s involved with. So this isn’t Kate’s PR working, this is patron bosses praising her – as you said, this is what they do, over the top praise no matter who the royal is.

      • Becks1 says:

        The issue with the quotes is that someone reached out for them. These people didn’t just call People magazine and say these things. And, the fact that they are actual quotes from people who are involved with the organizations makes me think maybe the Cambridges have given their blessing to this round of People stories and its not just a random pro-Kate blitz.

        And again – its good that the people she interacts with like her and think she does good work. but these articles are definitely serving a purpose.

      • Jasmin3 says:

        @Becks, well yeah but is that different from any other royal? They’re all doing “work” for good PR, after all.

      • Becks1 says:

        How do you mean? This is different from any other royal because this is the one we have multiple articles about. This is the one who does very little work but we have an article about how she is a “pioneer.” Its not about the PR aspect in general. It’s that supposedly these visits where she was so cutting edge happened in June and we are getting the article about it THIS WEEK.

        This is absolutely Kate’s PR working. People didn’t just decide to write an article about Kate and call up these charities this week for funsies.

  20. Shannon says:

    Since the only coverage of either one of the duchesses I ever read is here, and I just skim over the excerpts, I don’t see it from that perspective but it makes sense. I couldn’t stand to watch the two get wildly uneven press like that either, although I wouldn’t necessarily hold Kate accountable for what racists write about her any more than I held Taylor Swift accountable for similar shit. That being said, I think Kate’s just fine. I think Meghan’s just fine. I think it’s sad that they can’t just be normal sisters-in-law doing their different things peacefully, but that’s the BRF for you.

  21. Ty says:

    I am going to put this out there. I’m on a board for two non-profits, what is important for non-profits is visibility and bringing in money. So for me, if the royal family brings that to non-profits then I’m all for it.

  22. liriel says:

    Kate is praised for anything now, it wasn’t that way before. I have to say though that DM scares me, I remember how they were mostly anti Kate in the past and now they praise her universally and absolutely hate Meghan. I wasn’t Meghan biggest fan but ugh..
    I miss the time when we were all united and agreed that Kardashians are trashy..

  23. liriel says:

    Also I have a feeling that TQ is stubborn and wants peace above everything else and she might be getting deja vu – Diana vibes. She’s also never been empathetic even when it’d be good for PR. Not Meghan’s fault at all.
    It should be noted that Kate’s PR team is terrible.
    Because I feel like Kate would work more if they scheduled something, made a plan.. It’s their job. Kate would get a credit. I believe she is in no position to say “no, I’m not doing this”. So the blame is not on her. I get her little credit for not trying to upstage Meghan. She is who she is.
    I so want to know how she got the prince in the end. Handling him is like work, harder than 9 to 5..

  24. Lowrider says:

    Saint Kate.

    More aggressive PR aimed at an American audience. I wonder why.

  25. paranormalgirl says:

    Well, she kinda dresses like a pioneer….

  26. AprilMay says:

    “Speaking of, Kate has been a patron of Action on Addiction for years. She’s keen enough to do a handful of events around the patronage every year.” Um no she doesn’t. The only thing she’s done for them this year was a gala appearance. Before that the last time she did anything for them was February 2018. Nothing in 2017, you have to go to 2016 to find the previous engagement. She did 2 appearances then, one of which was a movie premiere. Hardly very “keen” on it is she?

  27. cluces says:

    Sorry can’t give Kate any credit. Whatever input these royals have with these charities what’s the results? Correct me if I’m wrong but Kate’s been patron of this addiction charity for years? So why does it come across as something new?

    I don’t get Kate. I don’t think charity is something that she’s into. Eight years to get your wings. I have no problem calling out the Sussex. At least Harry can show the affects of the “Invictus Games.” Meghan can show the affects of the “Hub cookbook!” Talk is cheap. The planting trees and exposing plaques era is over! The Charles along with the Sussex has changed who the royals do charity work. The old way is dead. There’s new money out there that needs to be tapped into. English old money and conceit isn’t going to cut it anymore!