Tonight, the Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of Place2Be, hosted a gala dinner at Buckingham Palace in celebration of Place2Be’s 25th anniversary. Plac2Be was one of the earliest patronages Duchess took.
Set up in 1994 by Dame Benny Refson DBE, Place2Be provides emotional support at an early age and believes that no child should face mental health difficulties alone. Over the past 25 years, more than 250,000 children and their families have been directly supported by Place2Be, which currently works with 639 schools across the UK.
Since her patronage began in 2013, Duchess Kate has met pupils, families and staff at Place2Be partner schools to see the vital work being done by the charity. Place2Be has also collaborated with The Royal Foundation on a number of projects: they are a charity partner for the Heads Together Campaign and Mentally Healthy Schools website, in addition to working with Shout – a free, 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis which was launched nationally in 2019.
Children’s mental health has long been a priority for The Duchess of Cambridge. Over the last eight years, she has explored how experiences in early childhood often lie at the root of the hardest social challenges the country faces today. What we experience in the earliest years – from in the womb to the age of five – is instrumental in shaping our future lives. Last month the Duchess launched the survey ‘5 Big Questions on the Under-Fives’, which aimed to spark the biggest ever conversation on early childhood that will ultimately help bring about positive, lasting change for generations to come.
The Duchess of Cambridge also supports Place2Be Children’s Mental Health Week that was first celebrated in 2015. This year’s theme was Find Your Brave – highlighting that bravery isn’t about coping alone or holding things in, it can be about sharing worries and asking for help, trying something new or pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.
During the event, The Duchess of Cambridge met two school choirs who performed at the event and Place2Be supporters. Pupils from New North Academy and Salusbury School teamed up with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to write and compose an original song about self-esteem, creativity and their wellbeing. From Daily Mail’s report,
The Duchess later wished two of the schoolchildren a happy birthday, joking that she should be the one singing to them. She then revealed that Happy Birthday was ‘one of (Prince) Louis’s favourite songs’, before adding her youngest child was ‘tucked up in bed’ and not at the event.
Kate also delivered a speech, admitting the children’s show was ‘a hard act to follow’, during which she told invited guests from Place2Be: ‘You have taught me the importance of creating safe and nurturing environments within schools.’
She told the event there was now a ‘much greater awareness’ of children’s mental health, adding that Place2Be’s services have ‘never been more needed’.
Addressing the gathering at the gala, Catherine spoke of the importance of quality time spent with children. Continuing from Daily Mail,
I can remember saying after my visit to Willows School in 2013 that I thought every school in this country should have Place2Be. Imagine the difference it would make to thousands, if not millions, more children, teachers and parents, if this vision was a reality.
Place2Be was one of the first charities I became patron of. I knew it was special then, but having spent many years since, learning about the importance of childhood development, I see even more the value in the work that you do and I am hugely grateful for all that you have taught me over the past seven years.
You taught me, right from the start, that the children in your schools are only as happy and emotionally strong as the adults in their care. That is why you take such great pride in the work you do with your teachers and your parents.
You taught me the importance of creating safe and nurturing environments within schools, embracing a holistic view of emotional well-being which permeates through the whole school system.
You also taught me that it’s the simplest things that make a difference to children. It’s the quality time that is spent with them.
It’s the time you take to listen to them. It is trusting relationships that have the most profound impact on the emotional and mental wellbeing of a child.
The £3500 royal blue gown was a custom piece that has a local element as it was hand-beaded in India. The chiffon silk gown came was a matching embellished cape that Catherine did not carry today. The boat neck gown with a mix of British and Indian vibes was an instant hit among royal watchers.
Duchess Kate paired the outfit with blue Erdem Crystal And Pearl Embellished Floral Drop Earrings. Thanks to @EmadKiriah and @acesasisi for id. The $460 earrings were described as “Erdem’s deeply romantic aesthetic is whimsically captured in these gold-tone brass floral-drop earrings. They’re made in Italy with blue crystal-embellished floral studs and are shaped with crystal-tipped curved arms – designed to resemble stems – and finished with a white faux pearl in the centre.”
She was carrying a Jenny Packham Bllue Sequined Clutch also debuted in April 2016.
Earlier in the day, The Duchess joined the Queen and members of the Royal Family at the annual Commonwealth Day Service.
In other news, The Duchess of Cambridge wrote a letter of support to The Wombles Statue – fictional pointy-nosed, furry creatures created by Elisabeth Beresford and originally appearing in a series of children’s novels from 1968. The Womble characters have helped put Wimbledon Common and Wimbledon on the map around the globe The Womble Statue tweeted earlier today about it,
Today we received a letter from @KensingtonRoyal HRH The Duchess of Cambridge sent her ‘warmest thanks’ for the work we are doing to promote literacy stating that ‘Children’s reading is a wonderful cause’ & ‘wished us all the best for the campaign’ hoping that it is a ‘big success’.
The Royal Family are very fond of The Wombles with The Queen herself being a fan. When the creator Elisabeth Beresford received an MBE in 1998 she told The Times “When I went to get my MBE from the Queen, she talked nonstop about them. She knew more about the Wombles than I did.”