02.19.13 11:57 AM ET
Kate Middleton Takes Baby Bump On First Official Outing, Press Go Wild
A pregnant woman visited an alcohol rehab facility in south London today - and the global press went mad.
It helped, of course, that the woman in question was Kate Middleton, out on her first official engagement of the year, and that the unborn child will one day be king or queen of England.
Yet still the Royal bump watch madness which descended on South London today as Kate Middleton arrived at her first public engagement today since intimate photos of her and William on a private holiday on the beach in Mustique were published around the world was astonishing.
Kate wore a grey wrap dress by MaxMara - and no coat so we got maximum visibility - as she arrived at Hope House, a 22-bed all-female residential facility for recovery charity Action on Addiction, of which she is a patron.
She had a glowing tan after her Mustique vacation, and waved cheerfully at the enormous bank of press photographers and cameramen who had arrived to capture the first photos of the bump on business.
Nick Barton, chief executive of Action on Addiction, earlier dismissed Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel's recent remarks on Kate, telling Richard Palmer of the Daily Express that she was an “intelligent” woman who is proving to be a huge asset to the causes she backs.
Mr Barton said Ms Mantel was entirely wrong to characterise the Duchess as a clothes horse whose only purpose was to give birth.
Speaking ahead of a visit by the Duchess to Hope House, an addiction recovery centre for women in Clapham, south London, Mr Barton said: “I can only speak of what I know, and having met the Duchess several times I find her to be engaging, natural and genuinely interested in the subject.
“You can tell a lot about someone from the questions they ask and she asks really good questions, the questions of someone who wants to learn. She is also an intelligent woman.
“Having her as patron of the charity draws attention to the cause of addiction as a whole, which is not always an easy subject".