Powerful empathy: Kate Middletons speech showed not just sympathy but respect

Ant McPartlin opens up to Kate Middleton about his past addictions

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Kate Middleton gave a speech on Tuesday morning where she warned listeners that the coronavirus pandemic had a devastating impact on addiction rates. The Duchess said addiction is often multi-layered and complex but is too rarely discussed as a serious mental health condition. Led by the Forward Trust, “Taking Action on Addiction” is a long-term campaign working to improve awareness of addiction.

The Duchess of Cambridge, who stunned in a red turtle neck jumper and matching pleated skirt, is patron of The Forward Trust.

TV presenters Ant and Dec also attended the event.

Kate, who become patron of the Forward Trust in June, delivered a keynote address launching the campaign.

The launch coincided with Addiction Awareness Week, running from October 18 to October 24.

Throughout her years as Duchess, Kate has worked with several addiction charities, which has informed much of her work on early years education.

Body language expert, Judi James, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the Duchess’s body language during the event.

Judi said: “Kate shows how important listening is as well as speaking on the subject of addiction.

“Her first seated poses here are all about self-diminishing physically and using some engaged eye contact and some inclusive gesticulation to encourage people to open up and talk freely and with confidence.

“She crosses her legs and her arms here, with her arms leaning on her knees so her torso looks smaller and the focus is on her empathetic gesticulation and eye-engage.

“When she walks in to meet Ant and Dec she shows similar skills of engagement and empathy even though they appear to have surprised her and forced her into performing a fun double-take.

“Despite being surprised she quickly hands the folder she is carrying to someone behind her so she can use both hands to gesticulate to create rapport and then to clasp them together to go into questioning mode to encourage the celebrities to speak.

“The poses quickly move on from fun and surprise to more of a sense of concern and engagement, with all four mirroring each other and using a similar hand clasp.”

Judi also provided Express.co.uk with some speech analysis on Kate’s keynote speech surrounding addiction.

She continued: “Kate’s speech looks and sounds as though she has got the tone and the words completely right.

“This is not presented as a lecture by an expert, but it does come from a position of assumed empathy, understanding and shared, level status.

“Keeping her vocal tone low and her voice more natural than when she made her more formal speech at Earthshot, Kate focuses on this empathetic approach, saying ‘Addiction can happen to all of us…’ and that ‘None of us are immune.’

“She continues this theme of powerful empathy by saying ‘Addiction is not a choice…no-one ever chose to become an addict.’, being ‘grateful to all of you who shared insights’ and looking at the ‘fundamental causes’.

“Here she was showing a sense of respect, rather than just sympathy, for people suffering from addictions.”

Kate looked stunning in a red pleated maxi skirt and a matching fitted turtle neck top as she arrived for the event.

She opted for a look with no coat or many accessories.

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