Kate Middleton joins Ant and Dec at an addiction awareness event

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to TV presenter Ant McPartlin about his addiction battle at a charity event in London today. 

Kate, 39, who looked radiant in a customised £845 red Christopher Kane skirt and a £225 Ralph Lauren jumper, heard how Ant was in a ‘bad’ place by the time he sought help for his drug and alcohol issues. 

McPartlin struggled with a two-year addiction to super-strength painkillers following a knee operation in 2015. He entered rehab in 2018 after crashing his car while more than twice the alcohol limit. 

‘By the time I asked for help, it was bad,’ the TV presenter admitted. ‘But as soon as you open up to people, problems have got to disappear,’ he said. ‘It gets better and help is there.’ 

The Duchess of Cambridge delivered the keynote address at the event for drug and alcohol dependency charity the Forward Trust. Kate, who is patron of the charity, spoke movingly about how ‘anyone’ can become an addict and called for greater understanding of those battling addiction. 

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,’ Kate said, launching the Forward Trust ‘Taking Action on Addiction’ campaign. 

‘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.’  

Opening up: Ant, 45, who struggled with drug and alcohol dependency before entering rehab following a 2018 drink drive crash, told the Duchess he was in a ‘bad’ place by the time he sought help. Pictured, Kate, Ant and Dec

Radiant: Kate struck just the right note with her monochrome ensemble, which she accessorised with a tan bag and shoes

The Duchess of Cambridge at the engagement today

Radiant: Kate, 39, who looked radiant in a £845 red Christopher Kane skirt and Ralph Lauren heels, heard how Ant was in a ‘bad’ place by the time he sought help for his drug and alcohol issues

Important message: The event, held for drug and alcohol dependence charity the Forward Trust, was compered by Ant and Dec and saw the Duchess deliver a landmark speech (pictured) in which she said 'anyone' can become an addict

Important message: The event, held for drug and alcohol dependence charity the Forward Trust, was compered by Ant and Dec and saw the Duchess deliver a landmark speech (pictured) in which she said ‘anyone’ can become an addict

Making a statement: The Duchess of Cambridge looked radiant in a bold red ensemble as she delivered a keynote address on addiction at a London charity event hosted by TV presenting duo Ant and Dec. Pictured, arriving at the event

Making a statement: The Duchess of Cambridge looked radiant in a bold red ensemble as she delivered a keynote address on addiction at a London charity event hosted by TV presenting duo Ant and Dec. Pictured, arriving at the event 

‘ 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,’ Kate said, launching the Forward Trust ‘Taking Action on Addiction’ campaign. Pictured, Kate at the event today

The duchess spoke to TV duo Ant and Dec, who compered the event, about McPartlin's former addiction problems

The duchess spoke to TV duo Ant and Dec, who compered the event, about McPartlin’s former addiction problems

McPartlin, centre, told Kate: 'By the time I asked for help, it was bad' but said having support helped him on his journey

McPartlin, centre, told Kate: ‘By the time I asked for help, it was bad’ but said having support helped him on his journey

Typically elegant, Kate donned a pleated scarlet midi skirt and a matching fitted turtleneck for the engagement at the BAFTA headquarters in Piccadilly, accessorising with towering Ralph Lauren point toe pumps and a £295 micro-handbag from DeMellier. 

The skirt originally came with crystal fringing at the waist but this was removed by the brand for Kate. 

She kept her makeup polished and to a minimum, and wore her brunette locks in sleek waves. 

The Duchess spoke to families of recovered addicts and heard more about the services offered by Forward Start. 

In her keynote address, which coincides with the start of Addiction Awareness Week, Kate said: ‘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. 

The duchess (pictured) described how the Covid-19 crisis has affected addiction rates, with some 1.5 million more people facing problems with alcohol, and almost one million young people experiencing an increase in addictive behaviour

The duchess (pictured) described how the Covid-19 crisis has affected addiction rates, with some 1.5 million more people facing problems with alcohol, and almost one million young people experiencing an increase in addictive behaviour

Hollywood smile: The Duchess beamed as she strolled into a room to learn more about the work of Forward Start

Kate Middleton looked beautiful at today's event

Hollywood smile: The Duchess beamed as she strolled into a room to learn more about the work of Forward Start

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

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

Passionate Kate wanted to hear from people who had used Forward Start's services to help them through addiction

The Duchess of Cambridge at today's event

Passionate Kate wanted to hear from people who had used Forward Start’s services to help them through addiction

The Duchess of Cambridge was supported by Ant (left) and Dec (centre) as she delivered her keynote address

The Duchess of Cambridge was supported by Ant (left) and Dec (centre) as she delivered her keynote address 

Kate kept her makeup to a minimum and wore her long brunette locks in sleek waves over her shoulders

The Duchess of Cambridge today

Kate kept her makeup to a minimum and wore her long brunette locks in sleek waves over her shoulders (left and right) 

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to families of recovered addicts to hear more about their experiences at the event today

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to families of recovered addicts to hear more about their experiences at the event today

‘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… 

‘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.’

The Duchess of Cambridge, who became patron of the Forward Trust in June, also spoke to people who had benefitted from the charity’s work. 

Beaming: The Duchess of Cambridge smiled as she strolled through BAFTA on her way to the addiction event today

Kate Middleton at the event in London

Beaming: The Duchess of Cambridge smiled as she strolled through BAFTA on her way to the addiction event today

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to representatives from the charity and beneficiaries during the central London reception

Lady in red! The Duchess of Cambridge looked radiant in a bold red ensemble as she arrived for an addiction awareness event

The Duchess of Cambridge today

Lady in red! The Duchess of Cambridge looked radiant in a bold red ensemble as she arrived for an addiction awareness event

Radiant Kate smiled as she spoke to the group about the work being done by the Forward Trust, of which she is patron

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to people who have benefited from the Forward Trust's services during the engagement

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to people who have benefited from the Forward Trust’s services during the engagement

On her way out: The Duchess of Cambridge leaving the engagement in central London, after delivering her keynote address

Kate Middleton leaving today

On her way out: The Duchess of Cambridge leaving the engagement in central London, after delivering her keynote address 

A wave for the well-wishers: The Duchess of Cambridge made her way to the waiting Range Rover after the event today

A wave for the well-wishers: The Duchess of Cambridge made her way to the waiting Range Rover after the event today 

‘No one chooses to become an addict. But it can happen to any one of us’: Kate Middleton’s speech in full

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.

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. 

Addiction is also close to Ant and Dec’s hearts. Ant has faced several hardships in recent years, going through a divorce from wife of 11 years, Lisa Armstrong, and entering rehab for alcohol and drug addiction.

 The presenter then took a break from presenting duties after he was arrested for drink-driving in March 2018, while he and Dec were still hosting Saturday Night Takeaway.

Showstopper: The Duchess of Cambridge arriving at the action against addiction event in London on Tuesday morning

Showstopper: The Duchess of Cambridge arriving at the action against addiction event in London on Tuesday morning

The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured arriving at the event, also spoke to people who had benefitted from the charity's work

The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured arriving at the event, also spoke to people who had benefitted from the charity’s work

Support: Ant, who has received treatment for addiction, will compare the event with Dec

Ant's wife Anne-Marie

Support: Ant, who has received treatment for addiction, will compare the event with Dec. Right, Ant’s wife Anne-Marie

Serious: Ant McPartlin looked stony-faced as he arrived at the event at the BAFTA headquarters on Tuesday morning

Serious: Ant McPartlin looked stony-faced as he arrived at the event at the BAFTA headquarters on Tuesday morning

Ready to host: Dec arrived at the BAFTA headquarters

His wife Ali Astall

Ready to host: Dec looked smart in a suit and shirt as he arrived at the BAFTA headquarters (left) with his wife Ali Astall (right)

Ant told police he was ‘ashamed and mortified’ after crashing his car while drink-driving with his mother in the passenger seat. 

The launch of the event coincides with Addiction Awareness Week, running from 18 to 24 October, which aims to provide a platform to highlight the challenges of addiction, to engage with people and families affected, and to raise public awareness. 

The Forward Trust has been helping people break the destructive cycle of addiction and build positive and productive futures since 1991. 

The Duchess of Cambridge became Patron of the Forward Trust in June 2021 when the charity merged with Action on Addiction, which was one of Her Royal Highness’ first Patronages in 2012. 

Taking the spotlight: The Duchess of Cambridge will deliver the keynote address for a campaign tackling addiction

 Taking the spotlight: The Duchess of Cambridge will deliver the keynote address for a campaign tackling addiction 

The Duchess of Cambridge arriving today

Kate Middleton, 39, donned a pleated skirt and matching fitted top for the event by drug and alcohol dependence charity The Forward Trust, of which she is patron

Polished perfection: The Duchess wore her brunette locks in sleek waves and kept her makeup sleek and professional

Polished perfection: The Duchess wore her brunette locks in sleek waves and kept her makeup sleek and professional

Elegant: Kate arrived by car for the event in London today, which coincides with the start of Addiction Awareness Week

Elegant: Kate arrived by car for the event in London today, which coincides with the start of Addiction Awareness Week

Moving on: The Duchess of Cambridge leaves in a car following the Forward Trust 'Taking Action on Addiction' event

Moving on: The Duchess of Cambridge leaves in a car following the Forward Trust ‘Taking Action on Addiction’ event 

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