Today, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Patron of the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families officially opened the new Anna Freud Centre of Excellence to drive change in children and young people’s mental health at Rodney Street in London.
The Anna Freud Centre is responding to the challenge of child mental health by bringing together the best in research, clinical expertise and training under one roof. Building on 60 years’ experience, the organisation’s new Centre of Excellence will help turn cutting edge research into policy and practice that can give more children and young people the help they need when they need it.
The Duchess has been the patron of the AFCCF since 2016 that reaches over 1m+ children in schools to try and reduce the burden of mental health difficulties children can face.
The Duchess stepped out after a week of family celebrations. On 23rd the youngest son of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Louis turned 1 and on 29th Duke and Duchess celebrated their 8th wedding anniversary.
The Duchess of Cambridge received an honoured gift from Her Majesty on her wedding anniversary. The Queen appointed her Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order for services to the Sovereign. On Thursday, Princess Charlotte will be celebrating her 4th birthday.
Today’s visit marks the Duchess’s continued desire to shine a spotlight on child mental health issues and the importance of early intervention, and working with the whole family, can make to those in vulnerable situations. Catherine is keen to draw attention to the ways in which this charity is making progress in its work to lead a step-change in children’s and young people’s mental health care.
The Duchess of Cambridge first visited Anna Freud Centre in 2015, before becoming a patron in February 2016. Since then, she has visited the Family School and the centre’s Early Years Parenting Unit (EYPU) and has met many professionals and experts from the centre through her Early Years work with the Royal Foundation and the ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ initiative, of which the centre is a key partner.
The opening event was hosted by the broadcaster and journalist and mental health advocate Kate Silverton who also hosted a mental health conference Duchess attended in February this year.
The new building, the Kantor Centre of Excellence for children’s mental health is a purpose-built space where leading neuroscientists and practitioners in mental health, social care and education will work together with children and young people to transform mental health for them and their families. At the heart of the new centre is the ground-breaking Pears Family School, a school for children who have been excluded from mainstream education.
Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, who is also one of the leading brains of Duchess’ early year’s intervention steering group(sitting on the left side of Catherine in the above picture), says: “Childhood mental health disorders have reached unacceptably high levels. As a society, we have a moral imperative to drive change in children’s mental health. Opening our new building is our contribution to this – giving parents, communities and practitioners the skills, knowledge and support to help children build their health and wellbeing, and the confidence to seek professional help when needed.”
The Duchess of Cambridge spent half an hour talking to the donors, supporters, architects and staff from the charity.
During the visit, Catherine met with children and families participating in music class at the school.
Marking the opening, The Duchess addressed the gathering.
“We are all here today because we care so much about transforming the mental health of children, young people and their families. I have learned so much about early childhood development and the importance of support for parents through your work here at the Anna Freud Centre. This is something I really do care about. The ambition for the new Kantor Centre of Excellence is hugely inspiring; bringing together research, education, practice and policy all in one place will take the Anna Freud Centre mission to the next level. It is testament to what can be achieved when people work together to realise a shared vision”.
Before leaving, Catherine unveiled a plaque marking the visit.
For the day, Catherine chose an extremely elegant look. She was wearing a new bespoke forest green dress from Emilia Wickstead.
You will remember the silhouette of the dress, it is similar to the beautiful Emilia Wickstead Kate A-line Wool-Crepe Dress that Catherine first wore in July 2017 during a Germany visit. She again wore the dress at the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in 2018. The only difference between the two dresses is the neckline – the Lavender dress had a boat neckline while this forest green has a stunning square neckline.
Catherine paired the dress with her trusty Gianvito Rossi ‘Gianvito 85’ Praline Suede Pumps.
She was carrying Mulberry Amberley Nude Blush Leather Clutch we first saw last year during the Imperial War Museum visit.
Her Kiki Classic Green Amethyst Diamond Earrings finished the look along with Kiki McDonough Candy Mini Green Amethyst Smooth Cut Teardrop Pendant.
The Court Circular showed an unannounced engagement for The Duchess on Tuesday. She visited Sayers Croft Forest School that she first visited in October last year marking the end of her maternity leave. In the evening, she hosted a reception at Kensington Palace for her early year’s steering group.
We can expect a release of new pictures tonight, marking Princess Charlotte’s fourth birthday.