Kate and husband Prince William visit gritty southeast London as they focus on youth issues

Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

Princess Kate was a vision in pink as she made her last royal outing Friday before heading off on maternity leave.

Joined by husband William, she wore a bright pink coat by Mulberry for the visit to gritty southeast London.

Kate, 33, who has said she is due to give birth in mid- to late April, was visiting a community center set up in the name of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Later, she and William, 32, followed that up with a trip across town to watch a special performance by young people from XLP Arts Project in Gipsy Hill, and to visit a community bus and mobile recording studio that was converted from an old police riot van as part of MTV’s Pimp My Ride show.

The founder of the XLP charity, Patrick Regan, told PEOPLE: “To some people we work with, they think this sort of thing, a visit of this nature, doesn’t happen to them. It happens to people who are more privileged. To have someone show interest in them is really important.”

He added: “The duke and duchess are here to learn, to understand what the issues are. I know the duchess is very passionate about issues around youth mental health – which I think is a huge issue. It’s an area that needs to be looked at seriously. And others, like poverty and educational failure and unemployment.”

Regan said those combined elements help put more young people at risk. “We can stop all that if we intervene earlier,” he said.

One young person William and Kate were set to meet was Steven Ekpenyong, 23. “Events like this share some positive insights to what a lot of young people are like in the community,” Ekpenyong said. “Having an event like this will help them express those views and have a sense of belonging, a sense of worth.”

For Kate, who smiled as she was greeted by well-wishers wherever she went, it was a world away from the illness that blighted the early weeks of her pregnancy.

Suffering from severe pregnancy sickness, she was forced to announce the pregnancy earlier than she would have liked, back in September.

On Thursday, she and William, along with Prince Harry, attended a memorial service for the father of their close friend James Meade.