Kate shows off baby bump and admits to birth nerves
The Duchess of Cambridge has confessed she is nervous about giving birth, as she showed off her baby bump for the first time at a public event.
Kate's admission came as she chatted to a group of women recovering from drink and drug addictions at a treatment centre run by the charity Action On Addiction, of which she is patron.
The Duchess spent time with an arts therapy group at Hope House in Clapham, south London, where the centre's clients had completed paintings charting their battle with substance abuse.
Lisa, a mother-of-three, said: "I did ask her if she was nervous [about giving birth]. She said it would be unnatural if she wasn't – she's human like us."
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The 34-year-old, who turned to drink during a violent marriage which lasted 18 years, said: "I said 'Congratulations and good luck, I hope it all goes OK'."
Kate also chatted to Natalie, who has a two-year-old daughter and is due to give birth to a second child in July – the same month as the Duchess who is more than four months pregnant.
The 28-year-old said the talk also turned to babies when they chatted: "We're due about the same time. She's been unwell and feeling better now and I felt pretty much the same the first time."
The Duchess arrived at the treatment centre, which is based in a large period property, and was greeted by dozens of photographers, cameramen and journalists.
Wearing a MaxMara dress, she looked relaxed and tanned after her Caribbean holiday and shook hands with Nick Barton, Action On Addiction's chief executive, before clasping her hands around her small baby bump.
The Duchess made the gesture a number of times during the visit to the centre and seemed completely at ease with her growing figure.
During the visit, Kate was taken to the centre's kitchen and watched as a lunch of chicken and bacon pasta with salad was prepared by some of the clients.
Some of the ingredients for the meal – packs of chicken and bacon and packets of brown pasta – were laid out on a table and Kate asked one of the women who was chopping mushrooms: "Do you like the menus and do you enjoy the cooking side?"
She got the reply: "I find it very therapeutic."
Kate also made the chefs laugh by asking: "Can people get away with being fussy or not – if they don't like mushrooms?"
One of the staff told her the women have a low glycaemic index diet to control blood sugar levels to ensure they do not have highs and lows dictated by their meals.
Kate was making her second visit to the centre. Her first was a private trip she made to learn more about the charity Action on Addiction before becoming its patron.
Hope House provides therapy for the women, who will have gone through a process of detox and are clean of alcohol and drugs but still need support before they are ready to return home.
The women's art therapy session was close to Kate's heart as she has a keen interest in drawing and painting. The Duchess is also royal patron of a charity called The Art Room, which uses art therapy to help raise the self-esteem and confidence of school children.
Kate sat at the head of the table and around her were seated seven women whose colourful paintings were laid out in front of them.
One client called Natalie, who had drawn a winding road, told Kate: "This is my road to recovery. This is when I was in addiction, my life was in complete darkness and then gets a lot brighter."
The Duchess listened intently to her story and told her at the end: "Well done you for getting sober."
Natalie said afterwards: "I've got to say I'm sober and clean. When I was in the darkness I never thought that would happen."
The 28-year-old relapsed during her first referral to Hope House but was able to get clean and returned and has completed her period of therapy at the centre.
A reception for supporters and senior staff from Action on Addiction was held at Hope House and Kate shared a joke with the son of one of the charity's donators.
Katie Woodward, 45, whose father established a charitable trust which has donated to Action on Addiction, brought her son Hugo, nine, and daughter Serena, seven, to meet Kate. Hugo was celebrating his birthday yesterday and the Duchess asked him: "Are you doing anything nice today?"
The guests erupted in laughter as Hugo paused before answering, and finally said: "I'm going to a restaurant."