Tag Archives: Place2Be

The Return of Mental Health Midge

On Sunday and Monday, Kate Middleton managed to carry out three mental health-related events, bringing her yearly engagement tally up to seven.

While it’s important for mental health issues to be destigmatized in society, it’s hard for me to believe that this is a cause Kate and Prince William genuinely care about.  Kate looks stiff and posed at these engagements while Prince William’s default compassionate expression looks like he’s trying to suppress a belch.  In stark contrast, Prince Harry’s interest in mental health is unquestionably sincere, his mother’s compassionate light burns within him, at these events he communicates with ease and appears in touch with his own humanity.

At the January 17th Heads Together event at which Kate, Prince William, and Prince Harry gave one of their three-fer speeches, royal correspondent Richard Palmer noted after Prince William brusquely ignored the media two feet away on the way in and bolted for the waiting car on the way out:

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While I rarely comment directly on Kensington’s Palace’s Twitter posts, I felt it necessary to point out that Kate’s oratorical contribution at that event was difficult to understand.

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With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at these engagements, I am reminded of jesters and minstrels of yore who performed for royalty, but in this case, it’s struggling individuals reaching into their souls to pull out the most painful, raw and darkest parts of their being for examination by the royal family’s two laziest royals so there’s an illusion that they care, despite their consistently low yearly engagement totals suggesting otherwise.

On Sunday February 5th, Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry attended a Heads Together event, joining a London marathon training session at the Olympic park.

Kate, William and Harry participated in a relay race with Prince Harry winning the royal leg.

To be fair, Kate was wearing her tightest jeans to date.  Every stride must have felt like getting a Pap smear on a bouncy castle and her starting position suggested she’s still struggling with keeping within the lines in her colouring books.

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Prince William’s trousers weren’t exactly the most event-friendly either.  If anyone was wondering, the second-in-line to the throne went left with his penis on Sunday.

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Prince Harry looked like he inched his starting position slightly ahead to gain an advantage over his brother but he needn’t have bothered.  The man who beat Usain Bolt with some creativity easily bested his brother who looked like he either really wanted to win or was passing a kidney stone.

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On Monday, Kate Middleton and Prince William got an unusually early start and attended a Place2Be engagement at the Mitchell Brook Primary School.  The Kindness Assembly marked the beginning of Children’s Mental Health Week.

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Kate wore a repeat red Luisa Spagnoli suit and once again sported her Muppet Madness bared-teeth grin which I imagine haunts the nightmares of children and the monsters living underneath their beds.

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Kate presented a Kindness Award to a student.  Videos from the event looked like a commercial for Mattel’s Mental Health Midge doll which comes with a bathing suit under her official engagement attire for a quick holiday get-away.

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In the photo @KensingtonRoyal posted, Kate looked posed and awkward but she didn’t give them a lot with which to work.  She totally has Mattel arm in this photo.

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Kate also delivered a speech which sucked less than usual but still was difficult to follow at times and uninspired.  Rebecca English’s Daily Mail article included its contents if anyone is interested.

On Monday night, Prince William and Kate attended a Guild of Health Writers conference at which William delivered a speech.

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Kate wore an Oscar de la Renta suit out of which she styled the life with her same-old black suede court shoes, black clutch and black tights.  Seriously, why aren’t the Fashion Police a legitimate branch of law enforcement?  Kate should be arrested for suffocating this gorgeous Oscar de la Renta suit to death with bland accessories and forced to attend a workshop on styling and maybe do some community service since she is a repeat offender.

Monday also marked Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphire Jubilee, making the Queen the first British Monarch to reach a 65 year reign.  Long live the Queen!

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Mental Health by Mattel

After holidaying at Balmoral with the Queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton returned to duty with an appearance at Stewards Academy in Essex which participates in the Place2Be program.

While Kate is the royal patron of Place2Be, there is unfortunately not much to discuss about the Paper Doll Duchess beyond her outfit.  The speech was given by Prince William and Kate made no comments deemed noteworthy by the press.  The conversation contributions Kate did manage were hard to hear and based on her hand gestures seemed like they were probably pamphlet parroting (she makes air circles when she regurgitates material).

At Friday’s event, Kate debuted a $2,150 (£1,728) dress by Altuzarra.

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At first glance, I thought the 1930s-inspired dress had a black and white pill pattern, but alas, it was abstract dots.  Kate accessorized it into sedation with her usual LK Bennett nude court shoes and Nina box clutch combo.  Given that the cut of the dress with its yoke and button-down front has a vintage housedress feel, she really needed to take it in a different direction with the accessories.  The dress cried out for a belt on her and Kate loves to belt dresses so I’m not really sure where cinching breakdown occurred.  And if Kate really feels strongly about wearing a court shoe, I wish she would at least go with one that doesn’t look like a leather lobotomy like this Paul Andrew Ayla pump.

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Even though Kate has a runway figure, she always sticks with the same fashion formula: dress + pumps + clutch =  wake me when it’s over.  I would have loved  to see something other than the same old, maybe over the knee boots and a top knot bag.  This is a glorious time for accessories from Chanel pearls to the revival of kinderwhore Mary Janes, leather bags with chains and candy-colored faux fur scarves.  Designers like Saint Laurent have left no woman behind in their fall collections.  And for all of the duchess’ McQueen,  how does she not have these gloves?  How do I not have these gloves?

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Kate’s Altuzarra dress had a sexed-up high side slit that was tamed by some tailoring but she still managed to show off some of her legs with long strides upon arrival, which was really the only time I noticed she came with bendable joints.

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Otherwise Kate’s body language seemed rigid throughout the two hour engagement  suggesting she was even more  uncomfortable than usual.  In candid pics, Kate looked like she had been bent into  poses meant to mimic animation during the product shoot and was in danger of tipping over.

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With her doll hair, Kate basically looked like Mental Health Midge, a member of Barbie’s squad who, according to the box, cares how you feel, leather couch, framed diploma and prescription pad sold separately.

While William and Kate were doing their greetings, the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Jonathan Douglas-Hughes, took a tumble.  The Daily Mail has a video.  Compassionate Kate was so worried about the welfare of the 72-year-old man, her reaction was to turn her back to him and attempt to resume her conversation with her hand on her chest to convey surprise by the disruption and possibly concern.  Once Kate realized all of the attention was on the man sprawled out on the pavement, she then turned back again and took a couple of awkward steps towards him and stopped as Prince William and others helped him up.  Fortunately, the man was just embarrassed and did not appear to be injured beyond needing an ice pack for his wrist, although hopefully he was looked at by a medical professional.

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Prince William and Kate attended an assembly at which selected students highlighted some of the issues they face with changes in their lives.  Despite Place2Be being Kate’s charity, Prince William was the voice at the event, providing sound bites and a speech during which he admitted to having the jitters which had a humanizing effect and seemed to put everyone at ease.

Based on how uncomfortable Kate appears at events focusing on mental health, I’m not sure this is the cause for her.  It doesn’t exactly help destigmatize mental health issues when the charity’s patron doesn’t look like she wants to be there and decides to pass along speaking responsibilities to her husband.  I mean, Prince William doesn’t ask her to pretend to be a pilot, she should be able to step up to the podium.  Allegedly at the launch of the Heads Together campaign, Kate was the only one slated to speak but she decided last minute she couldn’t do it so the speech was divided up with Princes William and Harry delivering the bulk of the content.  A forum comment I randomly stumbled across mentions organizers were left scrambling two hours before the event to find additional podiums and microphones:

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While Kate has always struggled with public speaking, she seems either less willing or less able to perform one of her major job requirements when it comes to the Heads Together campaign.  If mental health doesn’t interest her or makes her feel uncomfortable, it is too important a cause to have its Palace-professed champion attempt to convey the message that mental health issues are something everyone should feel comfortable talking about while remaining silent.

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A Royal Work-Off

“I care desperately about what I do.  Do I know what product I’m selling?  No.  Do I know what I’m doing today?  No.  But I’m here, and I’m gonna give it my best shot.”
-Hansel, Zoolander

What do you do when you’re a royally idle couple under fire for only undertaking three paltry official engagements apiece all year while soaking up all the royal perks?

You have a work-off.

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Both Prince William and Kate Middleton left Anmer’s Fortress of Solitude to prove to their critics they care about more than being really, really, ridiculously lazy.

Emily Andrews of The Sun added more fuel to the fire on Wednesday by revealing that not only did William take December off of air ambulance pilot duties, he’s only worked twelve shifts to date this year.  William decided to fight fire with fuel by showing up at EAAA on Wednesday and doing the regular bloke task of refueling the helicopter.  Photos by Geoff  Robinson in the Express reveal William struggling with his hose.  Is the future king secretly not an ambi-turner?

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William was probably a little overly ambitious in trying to look like he was just like everyone else.  Perhaps we should have given him the heads-up that even us regular folk don’t fill up our own helicopters, we let the heli fuel steward do it.   But it made for some memorable photographic moments.  You could practically hear Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go as William tugged on his hose.

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With William playing helicopter pilot, Kate went solo in Edinburgh.  She visited St. Catherine’s Primary School which participates in the Place2Be program and took part in an assembly sing-a-long of Welcome Everybody.

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From there, Kate went to look at the art created at Wester Hailes Education Centre’s The Art Room.  Then Kate traded in her court shoes for Asics, slipped into a Nike top and Monreal London Tuxedo track pants and participated in a tennis workshop conducted by the mother of her tennis crush, Andy Murray.  Or as Kate, seen here in a screen grab from stuff.co.nz  probably calls him, Plan B.

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Despite spending  over $300 on pricy track pants (£220), somewhere Betty White was wearing a tracksuit better.

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Kate was visibly excited about meeting Judy Murray.  The tennis pro’s Mum revealed to The Telegraph, “She was talking about at what age can a child hold a racquet. It’s about strength.  I was saying to her with children of George’s age you start with a balloon and the hand. It is about doing he right thing at the right time.  From a parents’ perspective she was very interested in how she could help her kids to develop the skills that you need to do sports because she enjoys sports so much.”  It’s  probably not a bad idea for Prince George and Princess Charlotte to explore other possible vocations since it seems unlikely the British Monarchy will survive their parents.

So who won this royal work-off?

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Certainly not the taxpayer.   And definitely not William.

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As a general rule, never go up against a woman nicknamed Commando Kate in an underwear challenge, she’ll pants you every time.

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Kate’s Hair is a Sight2See at Place2Be Headteacher Conference

For the second time since becoming Patron of Place2Be, Kate got jacked by the wind upon arrival at one of its events.

Don’t worry, it wasn’t as bad as when this happened:

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This time the wind just staged a hair assault.  But it did set a tone of levity in the press for an event at which Kate Middleton delivered one of those rare speeches with words and sentences and everything.

Even though some speech experts recommend opening with a joke, I doubt many would suggest the kind of semen hair joke The Huffington Post UK went with in its Comedy Section Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s ‘There’s Something About Mary’ Moment piece featuring this side-by-side:

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The Daily Mail also made a movie reference with its Gone with the Wind!  Duchess of Cambridge struggles to contain her bouncy locks as she visits London Conference to make a rare public speech about her ‘wonderful and secure’ childhood headline that was practically as long as the cinematic classic itself.  One of their photos captured the same kind of Scarlett O’Hara “I won’t let it go while there’s breath left in my body” resolve Kate seems to possess when it comes to leaving her hair down.

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OK! proclaimed Kate Middleton embraces windswept hair as she attends the Headteacher Conference in London with a pic of the duchess featuring the kind of pompadour height The King would have envied:

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To be fair, Kate doesn’t control the wind.  Even Oprah doesn’t control the wind.  But Kate does have access to weather forecasts calling for an updo or a window that enables her to reach for a ponytail elastic when she sees the house from the Wizard of Oz fly by because it’s so freaking windy in London that day.  Weather happens.

This is how Sophie, Countess of Wessex, prepared for her November 11th Veterans Day visit to The Queen Elizabeth II September 11th Garden in NYC which had some rain, some fog, some overcast skies and some sun with a high of 57 F and low of 50 F with winds topping out at 5.583 mph.

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Sophie often wears her hair back at events.  People tend not to take you seriously if they can’t see you.  That’s why you don’t see a lot of ghosts being interviewed on Charlie Rose.

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Perhaps the wind was trying to do Kate a solid and show off her recently debuted $3,300 Kiki McDonough diamond earrings which otherwise would have been lost in her locks.

KikiMcDonoughEarringsAnd at least the wind headlines cut down on the number of those proclaiming that Kate recycled her 2012 Matthew Williamson peplum dress.  I’m as guilty as anyone for using the word “recycle” when it comes to Kate wearing an article of clothing more than once, but it’s a strange way to refer to what is a completely normal occurrence every single day all around the world.  It both implies there’s something noble about Kate not immediately discarding clothing after use and it makes her sound like a labeled bin in which people should be putting their bottles and cans.

Kate’s speech came in at 3:20 and can be viewed on Daily Mail as can a transcript of the speech.  In terms of delivery, Kate showed some improvement over previous speeches which lends credibility to claims she’s been working on her public speaking, possibly with a coach.  Kate looked up more from the sheets of paper than in the past, however sheets of paper or note cards should only be used for reference so eye contact can be made with the audience.  Every time Kate lifted her head, her fringe flew up like flares, it was distracting.  Kate’s breathing was more measured in the beginning, but she began to lose confidence, seemingly strained by the Received Pronunciation affectation issue that’s plagued past speeches.  At one point her face went ashen, appearing to be daunted by the realization that there were still more words to go.  Her intonation was a slightly better but still needs developing.  Further practice will help with nerves and if she watches the speeches she has given to help her identify areas she needs to work on, she can continue to improve.

What I found most disappointing about the speech was its content in which she equated mental health with luck, referencing her own upbringing and indicating, “My parents and teachers provided me with a wonderful and secure childhood where I always knew I was loved, valued and listened to.”  That correlation suggests those with mental illness are just plain unlucky that they weren’t born to families that could afford better schools.  Her speech ignores genetic and biological causes of mental illnesses which according  to the Place2Be website effects three children in every classroom.  Kate stressed “not all children have the anchor of a strong family” which is a disservice to the cause she is supposed to be championing, mental health issues can effect anyone from any background.

One of the reasons mental health is such an important issue is because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, people are afraid to admit to any form of mental issues out of fear it will change how they are perceived.  It’s estimated that in the US 80% of those suffering from clinical depression do not seek any form of treatment for it.

Place2Be provides support to schools in the form of individual and group counseling for children, support for parents and care-givers as well as training and guidance for school staff.  Providing these resources in schools is very important, but they won’t be effective if they aren’t utilized by those who need them.

I went to a school which had a staff psychologist whose door was always open.  Literally.  None of the students took advantage of the resources provided by the school because of that door.  In the few instances it was ever closed, students knew it was because someone had made an appointment and a watch began to see who would come out of it, which member of the student body was secretly “crazy”.  In the girl’s bathroom one day, I remember one student advising another not to seek help for her emotional struggles through the school because it would be social suicide.

No matter how many resources Place2Be provides, the stigma surrounding mental health issues needs to change because children will resist programs that they feel distinguishes them as different in a way they perceive as negative.  Parents will also be less receptive to a program whose Patron suggested their children’s mental illness is linked to their poor parenting.

The steps Kate is taking to be heard are important, but even a flawlessly delivered speech cannot compensate for a flawed message that can be detrimental to the cause she is trying to help.  There were suggestions that Kate wrote this speech herself, which hopefully she did because if a professional speechwriter wrote her Place2Be speech, Kate might be better served trying that individual out as a stylist, tailor or hair wrangler.

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