Pregnant Kate wears it well
Kate Middleton, showing off her six-month baby bump in a high-fashion floral dress, has vowed to help the children of addicts on a visit to a tough Manchester school.
The Duchess of Cambridge kept up her busy schedule on Tuesday (local time), with a visit to The Willows Primary School on Manchester's Wythenshawe estate, where the British television comedy Shameless is filmed.
A £1065 (NZ$1932) Sophia Visconti-bloom silk dress by Canadian designer Erdem complimented her blooming figure.
The school had rallied to reconstruct a new £40,000 (NZ$73,000) playground in time for her arrival, after it was torched just days earlier, the Daily Mail reported.
Hundreds of children waving the English flag in honour of St George's Day cheered her arrival.
Chloe Pomfret, 10, gave the duchess a posy of roses and gift hamper for the duchess's spaniel Lupo, which Chloe said was from the school mascot Henry, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, the Telegraph reported.
The Duchess joked: "Henry, you have gone to so much trouble!"
The children also gave her a book they had written entitled: What do princesses do?
The Duchess said: "Eat bananas? Yes I certainly do that. Dancing, yes that too. Eat sweets. Yes I like all those!"
She also helped plant a willow tree.
Comedian John Bishop, a Comic Relief ambassador, joked: "I can't believe you have got a pregnant woman shovelling dirt like this while I'm standing around."
The duchess gave a short speech in which she spoke passionately about the issue of addiction, saying: "Addiction is a hugely complex and destructive disease and its impact can be simply devastating. All too often, lives and families can be shattered by it.
"Through my patronage of Action on Addiction, I feel fortunate to have met a wide range of inspirational people who have overcome addiction.
"It is so encouraging to see that with the right help, like that of Action on Addiction, it can be conquered.
"But those who are addicted are not the only victims. I have been struck by the profound and deeply damaging impact it has on the children of affected parents.
"Research has shown that children of those who are addicted are seven times more likely to have addiction problems themselves. They are also brought up surrounded by fear, instability and chaos."
Meanwhile, legislation that will end a centuries-old British rule that puts males ahead of females in the succession to the throne has cleared the House of Lords, and now goes to Queen Elizabeth II for approval.
The change means if the duchess' first child is a girl, she will become queen, and no younger brother will be able to displace her.
The legislation also permits an heir to the throne to marry a Catholic, although Catholics would still be barred from succeeding to the throne.
The bill, which has been fast-tracked through Parliament, passed a third and final reading in the House of Lords on Monday (local time).
The government wants to change the law, which dates back to the 1701 Act of Settlement, before the royal couple's first child is born in July. The baby will be third in line to the throne after Prince William and his father Prince Charles.