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DUCHESS UNDER FIRE: The Duchess of Cambridge made a solo trip to south London on Tuesday to visit Hope House, the treatment center for charity Action on Addiction, of which she is patron. At 21 weeks pregnant, she wore a Max Mara dress for the engagement, her first in five weeks and the first since her trip to Mustique with Prince William, which resulted in pictures of her in a bikini being published by an Italian tabloid. As the Duchess chatted to a group of women recovering from alcohol and drug addictions at the center, she admitted to feeling nervous about giving birth.

Recently, Kate has been publicly criticized by Vivienne Westwood and author Hilary Mantel. “Kate seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character,” said Mantel during a talk at the British Museum after winning the Costa Book Prize for her novel “Bring Up the Bodies.”

This story first appeared in the February 20, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


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“She appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana, whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture,” added Mantel, who also said that Kate had “no personality of her own” and that she was “defined by what she wore,” whereas now “her only point and purpose being to give birth.”

Westwood, who showed her Red Label collection in London on Sunday, called on the duchess to stop buying so many different outfits and instead make more of an effort to be environmentally friendly by re-wearing what she has. “I think it would be great if she wore the same clothes over and again, because that’s good for the environment and it would send out a very nice message,” the designer said. “If you’re going to all that trouble to get an outfit that suits you, then you should keep on wearing it.”

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