Kate goes behind bars to meet inmates during secret prison visit

The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, surprised royal watchers on Friday when she made a secret visit to a women's prison. The royal met inmates HMP Send in Surrey who are battling addictions to drugs and alcohol and later said she was "grateful" to the women she met "for sharing their difficult personal stories".

Kate looked chic for the engagement, wearing a long-sleeved grey peplum dress and matching court shoes. She accessorised the look with a complementing grey clutch bag and wore her hair in a half up style.

Duchess Kate visited a women's prison on Friday

The Duchess visited the prison to view the work carried out by the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt), which operates in 26 prisons across the country.

As well as meeting current inmates and hearing their personal stories, Kate also met ex-prisoners and graduates of the RAPt programme who received treatment from the charity during their time at HMP Send. The ex-prisoners talked to Kate about their journey to recovery and how the programme has helped them to live a drug and crime-free life.

Kate met with prisoners who had benefitted from the RAPt charity

Following the visit Kate said: "I was reminded today how addictions lie at the heart of so many social issues and how substance misuse can play such destructive role in vulnerable people's lives.

"I saw again today that a failure to intervene early in life to tackle mental health problems and other challenges can have profound consequences for people throughout their lives."

She added: "I am grateful to the women I met for sharing their difficult personal stories with me. It is encouraging to learn how organisations like RAPt are offering specialist support to help people break the cycle of addiction and look forward to a positive and crime free life."

The visit was a part of Kate's work as Patron of Action on Addiction

The visit reflects Kate's interest in learning how organisations support people living with substance misuse issues, and the impact of addiction within their families.

Kate is a Patron of addiction charity, Action on Addiction, and attended a gala dinner for the charity in September 2014 – shortly after announcing she was expecting her second child with Prince William.

The engagement marks Kate's third official outing since her return from maternity leave. The 33-year-old debuted her new hairstyle when she visited the Anna Freud Centre in London on 17 September, before joining Prince William and Prince Harry at the opening of the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham on Friday.