Kate Continues Her Listening Tour on Maternal Mental Health [UPDATED]

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It was recycles and rain for the Duchess of Cambridge today as she carried out two engagements related to a new focus area for her work: maternal mental health. That Kate would be investing time in learning more about what support was needed for pregnant women and new mothers suffering from postpartum depression was announced back in November when Kensington Palace shared that she held a private meeting with experts on the subject. Thus far, these are her first public engagements specifically related to the issue, though she has touched on similar themes a few times before.

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Today’s engagements were held at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London and the Perinatal Service at Bethlem Royal Hospital. She met with researchers and doctors to learn more about their work, resources and experience with treating patients, as well as the latest developments in the field.

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She also had the opportunity to speak directly with women receiving related care (video shared by reporter Victoria Murphy below):

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Per the Daily Mail:

She [Kate] also raised a chuckle among the scientists who told her about an experimental therapy in which an avatar is used to help a person with schizophrenia cope with hearing voices.

She said “as in the movie Avatar” before being told about the therapy which involves a face-to-face talk between a person with schizophrenia and an avatar representing their auditory hallucination. It may help reduce symptoms when given along with usual treatment.

They explained it was not a character in the Hollywood film and Kate responded by saying ‘oh how interesting’ when told of the value of this work.

Professor Louise Howard, a professor of women’s mental health, said: “She was interested in the fact that we look at the whole range of issues including PTSD and self-harm.

“She was interested in understanding the whole breadth of the issues and how to make people more robust.”

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Reporter Richard Palmer shared the below video of Kate speaking with a researcher at King’s College:

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It always feels a bit questionable to call this out, but there has been speculation for years that Kate may have personal experience with postpartum depression, and allusions to her having found the period following Prince George’s birth in 2013 difficult. It was a time referenced directly by the Duchess last spring in a video recorded with the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, and today reporter Rebecca English shared the below:

Do with that what you will.

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Kate’s entire look today was recycled from during her pregnancy with Princess Charlotte. Both the baby blue coat and the floral dress underneath are Séraphine – indeed, you may recognize the dress from earlier this month when she wore it for her first engagement of the year with Place2Be under a new Hobbs coat. And I’m hearing that her shoes are blue suede Jimmy Choos.

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I don’t have a strong opinion about this coat. It is in fact a maternity coat and therefore meant to accommodate a pregnancy, but I find it appeared strained across Kate’s torso at various points and the high pocket flaps are a bit jarring. I do, however, like the color and the silver buttons, so in the end I’m mostly ambivalent.

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It did strike me between yesterday and today that I’m not sure how Kate will handle her upcoming tour. 2017 was a big year for new clothes, particularly while abroad. Kate only recycled one coat during her visit to Paris last March, while the trip to Germany and Poland saw all new looks. I think it’s safe to assume that we’ll see some new pieces next week when she’s in Stockholm and Oslo, but I doubt there will be as many. I don’t know what she’ll do for evening wear since she may be too far along to recycle the lace Diane von Furstenburg she favored in November (plus it’s black), but she certainly has some more formal maternity coats that could probably do in a pinch. In other words, I would be surprised if Kate made huge investments in more maternity clothes given this is her third pregnancy.

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Earlier today, KP also announced a new engagement for Harry and Meghan Markle next Thursday. Unfortunately it will fall smack dab in the middle of the Scandinavian tour to the annoyance of more than a few royal reporters who will be out of the country covering William and Kate. We’ll write up both here, but it’s going to be a busy, multi-post day!

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In the meantime, there’s been some more chatter surrounding Princess Eugenie’s upcoming wedding to Jack Brooksbank, which I’ll do my best to capture later this week.

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