Kate Middleton ‘adores and prioritises’ mum life: ‘She gives them normality’

Kate Middleton ‘adores and prioritises’ mum life: ‘She gives them normality’

January 31, 2023

The Princess of Wales has spoken of her determination to “shape a healthy, happy future” for young children as she launches her new early years campaign, The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

In an open letter explaining why the issue is so important, she said, “During our very early childhood, our brains develop at an amazing rate – faster than any other time of our lives. Our experiences, relationships, and surroundings at that young age shape the rest of our lives.

“It is a time where we lay the foundations and building blocks for life. It is when we learn to understand ourselves, understand others and understand the world in which we live.

She continued, “But as a society, we currently spend much more of our time and energy on later life. I am absolutely determined that this long-term campaign is going to change that.”

She went on to encourage people to reflect on their own past, before signing off with some wise words of promise for our future.

“We all need to know the critical importance of our early childhood. They really are years like no other in our lives. I urge everyone reading this to take the opportunity to learn more about this incredible time of life, to think back to your own childhood and how it shaped you, and most importantly, to ask yourselves what you can do to make the world a more supportive and loving place for our children.

“Because healthy, happy children shape a healthy, happy future.”

Her ongoing work to help children everywhere to get the best start in life took a step forward as she met her team of advisors for the first time last week.

“I was talking to the children this morning – the excitement and nervousness gets mixed up together often in the same pot,” shared mum-of-three Kate, 41, as she welcomed the eight handpicked experts in childhood development to Windsor Castle last Wednesday.

They have been offering strategic advice and insight of the work of her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

Palace officials explained that the group, who have expertise in areas across neuroscience, psychology, perinatal psychiatry and policy development, will support the princess and the centre “as work is accelerated to promote the fundamental importance of the first five years of a child’s life”.

For the past nine years, Kate has dedicated her time to exploring the experiences in early childhood that are often the root cause of today’s hardest social challenges, such as addiction, family breakdown, poor mental health, suicide and homelessness.

Since taking on her new title as Princess of Wales, Kate has made sure the mental health of younger generations in the UK has remained at the top of her priority list.

Alongside her standing as a senior royal, it’s her relatability as a mother that has made her such a vital ambassador for such an important cause.

Speaking exclusively to OK! , one of Kate’s experts, Dr Alain Gregoire, consultant perinatal psychiatrist and honorary president and founder of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, said he was “hugely grateful” to her for shining a spotlight onto early years issues.

“This is not something that’s been pushed on her by the household or anybody else,” says Dr Gregoire.

“This is a personal understanding and deep-rooted understanding and passion that she has. She’s a person who is very determined to get things right. She’s very thoughtful. She wants to get her facts right, and she wants to get the approach right. I’ve seen her grow in confidence enormously in this field. You know, she is an expert in her own right. I have no doubt about that.”

Dr Gregoire went on to say that he was “a little bit surprised” by Kate’s confession that she was feeling nervous, adding, “She comes across as not inappropriately confident, but entirely appropriately confident. She’s very skilled at getting people to share their thoughts and their views.”

In 2020, the princess created a landmark national survey and travelled around the UK to listen to parents’ views on raising the next generation, ahead of launching The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in June 2021.

Now Kate’s work is to take a dramatic shift to engage the medical and academic world in a bid to revolutionise thinking for parents, carers and teachers.

The aim is to increase the focus on the first five years of a child’s life to understand their importance and effect on later life.

It has also emerged that Prince William has been helping Kate with her research and planning for her upcoming event.

Expert Imran Hussain, Director of Policy and Campaigns for Action for Children, told OK! that he was impressed by Kate’s knowledge, and said that while she had some handwritten notes in front of her at the meeting, she didn’t look down at them once when she was talking.

Before Wednesday’s meeting, the pair had only met via video call and he recalled how her sense of humour had helped put all eight experts at ease.

“We were all laughing,” says Imran. “She’s serious but also gets the tone right and puts people at ease. It was just such an easy conversation.”

Revealing what we can expect from the launch of her next stage of work, he added, “It’s very much building on what they did a couple of years ago. She wants the message to be out there for the whole of society. This isn’t just about talking to parents, it’s about the whole of society and about the importance of the early years and how it’s key to a child’s development.

“Parents need support and non-judgemental support. It’s the hardest job in the world being a parent so all of us have got to do everything we can to help parents. What can we as a society do differently to support parents and young children? That message is going to continue.”

Other experts included Professor Peter Fonagy, chief executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and Eamon McCrory, professor of developmental neuroscience and psychopathology at University College London.

Also on the team are Ed Vainker, OBE, co-founder of Reach Academy Feltham and Carey Oppenheim, project lead at the Nuffield Foundation.

Beverley Barnett-Jones MBE, associate director at Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and trustee at What Works in Children’s Social Care and Dr Trudi Seneviratne, registrar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists complete the group.

Since assuming her new title following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, many of the princess’s public engagements have been centred around mental wellbeing of children, young people and adults, from leading a news broadcast about teenage mental health on BBC Radio 1 to a visit to a neonatal unit in Surrey which looks after new mothers.

Kate has always been refreshingly honest about the ups and downs of being a mum to her children, George, nine, Charlotte, seven, and Louis, four.

In a speech at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in March 2017, she confessed to a lack of confidence.

“Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience. However, at times it has also been a huge challenge, even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not,” she said.


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