2:12pm Tuesday 19th February 2013
© Press Association 2014
The Duchess of Cambridge has confessed that she is nervous about giving birth, as she showed off her baby bump for the first time at a public event.
Kate's admission came as she chatted to a group of women recovering from drink and drug addictions at a treatment centre run by the charity Action On Addiction of which she is patron.
The Duchess spent time with an arts therapy group at Hope House in Clapham, south London, where the centre's clients had completed paintings charting their battle with substance abuse.
Lisa, a mother-of-three who did not want to give her full name, said: "I did ask her if she was nervous (about giving birth). She said it would be unnatural if she wasn't - she's human like us."
The 34-year-old, who turned to drink during a violent marriage which lasted 18 years, said: "I said 'Congratulations and good luck, I hope it all goes OK'."
The Duchess arrived at the treatment centre, which is based in a large period property in the leafy suburb, and was greeted by dozens of photographers, cameramen and journalists.
Wearing a MaxMara dress, she looked relaxed and tanned after her Caribbean holiday and shook hands with Nick Barton, Action On Addiction's chief executive, before clasping her hands around her small baby bump. The Duchess made the gesture a number of times during the visit to the centre and seemed completely at ease with her growing figure.
The royal visit was overshadowed by the furore caused by the comments of novelist Hilary Mantel, who has suggested the Duchess is a "shop-window mannequin" with no personality, whose only purpose is to breed.
During a lecture at the British Museum, the double Booker Prize-winner said Kate appeared to have been "gloss-varnished" with a perfect plastic smile in contrast to Diana, Princess of Wales, whom she described as awkward and emotionally incontinent. She seemed to suggest that the "painfully thin" Duchess was selected for her role because she posed no risk of showing any character.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who is in New Delhi on an official visit to India, defended the Duchess, saying of Mantel: "I think she writes great books, but I think what she's said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided and completely wrong."
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