Duchess Kate laughs off a shoe mishap as she opens addiction treatment centre

The Duchess of Cambridge was in Wickford, Essex, today to formally open a new community treatment centre in her role as patron of Action on Addiction.

Catherine was out to open the charity’s new treatment centre and launch its new strategy, Clouds in the Community; she has been patron of Action on Addiction since January 2012, and has collaborated with the organisation on reducing the stigma surrounding addiction and other mental health issues (reflecting her work on Heads Together).

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Upon her arrival in Wickford, Kate was greeted by Jonathan Douglas-Hughes, the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Essex, who reminded her of his slip and fall when he met Kate and William back in 2016. After laughing about the incident, the pregnant Duchess then had her own slip-up – one of Catherine’s heels got stuck in a grate outside the centre.

She quipped to Douglas-Hughes: “I’ve done the same as you!”. Kate carefully extracted her heel from the grate and laughed off the incident, reassuring staff that no harm had been done.

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The new community centre has been open since last October and offers nine-week addiction recovery programmes. In addition to the residential programmes, Action on Addiction’s new Clouds in the Community strategy also provides non-residential treatment via a self-help recovery programme based on community support.

While visiting the centre, the Duchess participated in a roundtable discussion with experts in the field of addiction.

Catherine also spoke to people who are currently undergoing the nine-week residential programme at the centre. She praised the idea of a community-based scheme to help overcome addiction, as opposed to being ‘isolated’.  The royal visitor also asked many of those who are staying at the centre if they felt that there is a stigma surrounding such places.

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Catherine spoke to people who have been receiving treatment through the centre’s nine-week residential programme (Kensington Palace)

During the event, Kate was asked if she was looking forward to Harry’s wedding in May; she will also be welcoming her third child in April. “Yes,” she replied, “and now we have two with Eugenie’s it’s very exciting!”

The Duchess of Cambridge unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion and also made an impromptu speech, declaring that Action on Addiction holds a “very special place” in her heart and revealing that she believes “so passionately in community projects”.

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Catherine said: “It seems like a long time since I first got involved with Action On Addiction, I think it was six years ago, but they have a very special place for me and were really at the start of my learning, particularly now, with the development [of my work] into mental health.

“You are very special to me, so it’s great to be here and actually seeing the development of where the charity has gone over the years gone past. Huge congratulations, I believe so passionately in community projects so I wish  [Clouds in the Community] all the best of success in the future.”

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