The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend Mental Health Summit for first joint public duty since Prince Louis' birth

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit (PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the first Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in London.

It’s the royal couple’s first joint public duty since Kate gave birth to Prince Louis on 23 April.

The Duchess, who returned from maternity leave last week, wore a lilac Emilia Wickstead fit and flare dress with her Gianvito Rossi 105 pumps in praline and a £595 Aspinal crocodile embossed cross body bag.

Eagle-eyed fans of Kate’s style will recognise the frock from her and Prince William’s royal tour of Germany and Poland last year.

The Mental Health Summit will see political figures, leading academics and policy-makers from around the world come together with one common goal: better mental health for all.

Kate arrived wearing an Emilia Wickstead dress (PA)

The meeting will help countries work together to deal with stigma attached to mental health and address other issues to do with mental ill-health.

The 10 October marks World Mental Health Day, which Kate, William and Harry have shown an interest in for the past couple of years, as part of their Royal Foundation charity.

The Duke and Duchess had a chance to speak to young delegates at the summit about the challenges and issues they face.

They also heard presentations on two case studies of active mental health programmes from Slovenia and the USA and visited an exhibition area.

The Duchess laughs as she adds to Dairo Vargas’ work (Getty)

Kate and William also met with Dairo Vargas, a contemporary fine artist from Columbia, who is creating an original piece of art at the summit, inspired by the day’s events. 

The Duke nominated his wife to add to the painting, telling everyone ‘she is the arty one.’

The couple also learned about Friendship Bench, part of an innovative programme from Zimbabwe, which has taught elderly women the skills to become trained ‘community grandmothers.’ 

One in four Zimbabweans suffers from depression or anxiety. There are just 12 psychiatrists in a population of 14 million people.

The project’s founder Dixon Chibanda said: “Bringing our Friendship Bench to London helps show leaders and campaigners how we can all empower communities to tackle the global gap between mental health problems and the treatments available.

William and Kate sit on the Friendship Bench, as they learn about the project (PA)

“Our clinical trial showed grandmothers were more effective at treating people with depression than doctors.

“Imagine what a global network of grandmothers, trained as counsellors, could do to reduce the number of people with mental ill health.”

Tomorrow night, the Duchess will attend her first engagement as Patron for the V&A, to open the museum’s new photography centre. Kate and William are both expected to attend Princess Eugenie’s wedding on Friday 12 October.


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