Kate Middleton Channels Princess Diana in Powerful Speech on Addiction

The Duchess of Cambridge made a rare public address on a topic close to her heart.

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Even though this is 2019, mental health (opens in new tab) and addiction still has a stigma tied to it. As a result, many people are hesitant to seek out and receive the care they need.

Kate Middleton just gave a rare public speech on the topic and people are drawing comparisons to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, who championed for HIV and AIDS patients at a time when the illnesses were also deeply stigmatized.

The Duchess of Cambridge made her speech at the Action on Addiction gala dinner in London on Wednesday evening. The charity, which she’s a patron of, helps both people and families who have been affected by drugs and alcohol.

“Action on Addiction was one of my very first patronages, and as such, it is very close to my heart. I’m hugely passionate about the support it provides, especially for parents, children, and families who suffer from, or through, addiction,” Middleton said during her speech (opens in new tab), which was later shared online.

“Having met so many people who’ve suffered from addiction, I have seen over and over again that, sadly, the root cause can so often be traced right back to the very earliest years of someone’s life. Trauma experienced in early childhood, in some cases, as a result of separation, abandonment, abuse, or even emotional neglect, can have a lasting effect.”

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Middleton continued to stress that the roots of addiction can take hold at an early age. “What we experience during our earliest years, even while we’re still in the womb, shapes the developing brain,” she said. “It is therefore vital that we support everyone who cares for children in those formative years, especially if we want to help with the inter-generational cycle of addiction.”

She also addressed the need for early intervention. “Sadly, for many who are suffering with addiction, they just don’t receive the help they need early enough. They have already reached crisis point before they find the support they need,” she said, before praising the charity. “What’s remarkable about Action on Addiction is that it goes beyond helping those who are suffering on the courageous journey into recovery—it also lends direct support to the children and families affected by addiction for as long as it takes.”

At the heart of Middleton’s speech was a sense of compassion and understanding—something Princess Diana was well-known for in her humanitarian work.

In one 1993 speech (opens in new tab), the late Princess of Wales emphasized similar themes of support during the AIDS epidemic: “For those mothers and children already living under the dark shadow of AIDS we need to help them back into the light. To reassure them. To respect and support their needs. And maybe, we will learn from them, how to live our own life more fully, for however long it is.”

While mental health advocacy is also championed by her husband Prince William (opens in new tab) and her brother-in-law Prince Harry (opens in new tab), this speech is a big step for Middleton. It shows that, like Princess Diana, she’s not afraid to tackle the larger issues.

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