Eight months after wedding England's Prince William, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (formerly Kate Middleton), has revealed she will become a patron of the British charity Action on Addiction, which supports research, prevention and treatment of addiction, support for addicts' families and the education and training of those working in the field.
Action on Addiction is one of several charities to which the Duchess will lend her highly visible support: Other charities relate to Catherine's interest in the arts, including a charity that provides art therapy to children. She also announced she would become a patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices, which help care for children with life-threatening illnesses.
The duchess' choices of organizations were announced Thursday. For some observers, her support of a charity focusing on addiction was reminiscent the late Princess Diana's decision to support the cause of HIV/AIDS--then a highly stigmatized disease--in the early 1980s. But with an estimated 1 in 3 Britons suffering from addiction at some point in their lives, the issue is hardly invisible: It touches families across the country.
According to an announcement released Thursday by Action on Addiction, Catherine paid a private visit recently to a treatment center run by the charity. There she "spoke at length to a number of clients about their addiction and personal journeys to recovery," the statement said. Action on Addiction chief executive Nick Barton called the duchess' patronage "a great honor," adding that the subject of alcohol and drug dependence "is not always well understood or responded to effectively." Catherine's public attention to the issue will help, he added.