Kate visited a women’s prison today, an engagement where she learned about work done by the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt), the UK’s largest provider of abstinence-based addiction services in prisons.
The Duchess of Cambridge has met inmates on a visit to one of Britain’s toughest women’s jails to find out how they are being helped with drug and alcohol addicition.
On her first ever prison visit, the Duchess spent almost two hours inside HMP Send in Surrey, which houses murderers among its 282 prisoners.
The Duchess being greeted by the RAPt chair of trustees, David Bernstein; on her left is the prison’s Governor, Dave Charity.
Kate with Benita Refson, OBE, a founding trustee of Place2Be, one of Kate’s patronages and a RAPt trustee.
Once inside the prison Kate met with women who shared their stories about becoming addicts and prisoners; explaining how the RAPt program was helping them become drug, alcohol and crime free. A woman named Lacie was among those speaking with the Duchess; more from Simon Perry’s story in People.
“As soon as she saw me, she asked me when my baby’s due,” Lacie tells PEOPLE. “And she asked if it is a boy or a girl. I told her that I’m having a boy in March and she said, ‘Oh lovely.’
“I talked to her about my journey. She was down to earth and she had a presence that made me feel comfortable. I didn’t feel nervous at all.”
Here you see the Duchess with Isha Walker, a participant in the RAPt program.
There are now more than 5000 graduates of the RAPt program in the UK; the group works in 26 facilities, but the work at Send is the only program exclusively for women. From The Mirror’s coverage of today’s function:
It is tailored to support female prisoners with addiction who have often experienced deep trauma, focusing on building healthy relationships with partners, children and other family members after the often traumatic and damaging impact of addiction and crime.
RAPt’s program has a solid success rate, it has led to a 65% reduction in re-offending.
Kensington Palace released a statement about today’s engagement:
“The visit reflects the Duchess’s interest in learning how organisations support people living with substance misuse issues, and the impact of addiction within the wider family network.
Most readers will recall that Kate is also a patron of Action on Addiction; today’s visit syncs perfectly with the Duchess’s continued interest in addiction, its impact, and ways of breaking the cycle. Kate spent two hours at the facility; we return to Richard Palmer’s story for her thoughts after the engagement.
Kate said after the visit: “I was reminded today how addictions lie at the heart of so many social issues and how substance misuse can play such destructive role in vulnerable people’s lives.
“I saw again today that a failure to intervene early in life to tackle mental health problems and other challenges can have profound consequences for people throughout their lives.
Ms. Walker gave Kate a few gifts as she was leaving.
To learn what was inside the bag we return to Gordon Rayner’s story in The Telegraph.
After the meeting Isha gave the duchess two aprons made by inmates for Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as well as some prison-made pastries – from the Bad Girls Bakery – and honey from the prison bees. She said the duchess said of the aprons: “George is doing to need it for his painting and his colouring.”
The dress is crafted in a fabric blend that is primarily cotton and rayon, with a bit of elastene for stretch and ease of movement. Fold’s quality is evident in the lining: that fabric also has stretch, something missing in pieces constructed at lower price points or with less attention to detail, rendering stretch fabric used in a garment’s outer layer almost pointless. Other design elements include the soft v-neck, back zipper, slit at the back hem. The dress retails for £365, about $555 at today’s exchange rates. Unfortunately, the dress is out of stock.
Here is a look at the back of the dress on Kate.
UPDATE 9PM: it appears The Fold removed the page with the winter white version of the dress, links to that page no longer work. Because it is a past-season style I presume it is now sold out. I will put in an inquiry to check on the possibility the dress might be re-issued.
The Eaton also comes a variety of colors and fabrics.
This is a label we have had on our Brands I wish Kate Would Wear Pinterest board; Fold’s clean lines, structured tailoring and lack of frou-frou make it a good fit with Kate’s style aesthetic. More on Kate and The Fold from Monique Jessen’s story in People:
Kate “knew of the brand before, and every season we sent her look books,” the spokesperson says. “But this season she was particularly keen, so we sent some styles to the palace and this was the one she liked.”
With its clean lines and simple design aesthetics, combined with luxury fabrics and tailoring, the brand is also loved by Samantha Cameron and Kim Sears, and certainly fits in with Kate’s royal work duties.
“I think [Kate] just liked the line in general because it’s the sort of brand that lends itself very well to these sort of events — it’s sophisticated but nothing too risky, fashion-forward but not too trendy,” the spokesperson says.
The brand was co-founded by Polly McMaster, a woman with a Cambridge PhD in molecular microbiology, and an MBA. Ms. McMaster wanted to create a label specializing in styles for professional women; I would say she has done quite well on that mission. Back to the People article.
From a background in consulting and finance (and a PhD in molecular biology), McMaster has since expanded The Fold to include knitwear and less formal attire.
Below, designs from Fold’s fall/winter lookbook.
Kate accessorized with heels we’ve not see previously, the ‘Aimee’ by Jimmy Choo; the style has a low platform.
It would make sense that the Duchess was in the Aimee, she has previously worn the shoe in black suede; this would not be the first time we have seen Kate purchase multiple colors of an item she likes. Below, images from November of last year when Kate wore the Aimee for the launch of the EACH Nook appeal.
Kate accessorized with a handbag we’ve not seen for a while, the Somerton by British retailer Hobbs.
We also saw the Duchess wearing a favorite pair of earrings.
She opted for her Kiki McDonough ‘Grace’ white topaz and diamond earrings.
This was an outstanding look for the Duchess, I expect we will see her looking a little more casual for tomorrow’s rugby match.
NOTE: The post has been edited to correct my error in saying Kate wore the Eaton in silver tweed, she was in the winter white.
- The RAPt website is here, its Facebook page is here and Twitter feed here; click here if you have an interest in donating to the organization
- The Daily Mirror’s story about today’s engagement may be seen here, its piece on what Kate wore is here, and its photo gallery is here
- The Express story is here, The Telegraph story and video may be found here
- The BBC‘s video story is here,