Today, The Duchess of Cambridge joined a panel of experts at the first Early Year’s Forum hosted by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Forum discussed the ‘5 Big Insights’ – the result of the landmark survey ‘5 Big Questions under 5’ that was launched in January this year.
Early Year is a cornerstone of Catherine’s public role. The ‘5 Big Insights’ reveal very critical information that will play a crucial role in the future understanding of the nurturing society. It’s amazing to see how much passion she has for this issue and the hard work she is doing behind the scenes to bring the crucial matter to the front line. Speaking at the forum, The Duchess of Cambridge, mother of three adorable children, said,”
It’s a huge honour to be here today to talk about the Early Years. Over the last 9 months, the pandemic has been a worrying time for us all. We have experienced isolation, loss and uncertainty. But in the amidst of this crisis, we have also seen huge acts of kindness, generosity and empathy. The pandemic has reminded us just how much we value living in a world where people care for one another and the importance of feeling connected to the people around us. And it’s these connections, these relationships that are founded in the earliest years of our lives!
People often asked why I care so passionately about the early years. Many mistakenly believe that my interest stems from having children of my own. And while of course I care hugely about their start in life, this ultimately sells the issue short.
Parenthood isn’t a prerequisite for understanding the importance of Early years. If we only expect people to take an interest in the early years when they have children, we aren’t only too late for them, we are underestimating the huge role others can play in shaping our most formative years too.
Over the last decade, I, like many of you, have met people from all walks of life. I have seen that experiences such as homelessness, addiction and poor mental health are often grounded in a difficult childhood. But I have also seen how positive protective factors in the early years can play a critical role in shaping our futures too!
I care hugely about this. Because, the science shows, the early years are pivotal for future health and happiness than any other period in our lifetime. Because as many as of 40% of our children will arrive at school with below the expected levels of development and because the social cost of the late intervention has been estimated to be over £17billion a year.
The early years are therefore not simply just about how we raise our children. They are, in fact, about how we raise the next generation of adults. They are about the society we will become. Which is why, I wanted to start a society-wide conversation to hear what people across the UK think about the early years too.
I was humbled that over the half a million people responded to the five big questions survey showing just how much people wanted to talk about this. We combined these findings with national research and the COVID-19 survey and together this represents the UK’s biggest ever study on the early years.
These collective insights are critical and the questions they posed will help guide our work in the years to come. Firstly, If parents are struggling to prioritize their own well being how can we better support them? Secondly, what is the root of why parents feel so judged? Thirdly, how can we address parents’ loneliness which has dramatically increased during the pandemic, particularly in the most deprived areas and Finally, if less than a quarter of us understand the unique importance of child’s first five years what can we do to make this better known?
We must do all we can to tackle this issue and to elevate the importance of early years so that together we can build a more nurturing society. Because I believe, the early years should be on par with the other great social challenges and opportunities of our time. And next year, we will announce an ambitious plan to support the subjective.
My final message is a thank you. Thank you to all the families and parents and the carers for the important work you do every single day and raising our children and a thank you to all those working to support the families and their children too. What you do take hard work, commitment and vision. Only by working together can we bring about lasting change for the generations to come. Because I truly believe, big change starts small.
Kensington Palace shared short video clips showing the insights. The result of the survey was released early in the morning along with the Executive Summary and Full report that is available on its website. The panel included Dr Xand van Tulleken, Kelly Beaver, Dr Guddi Singh, Jon Rouse CBE and Dr Trudi Seneviratne OBE.
The big findings included that 70% of parents in the UK say they feel judged by others, with parents also reporting a big increase (from 38% to 63%) in loneliness throughout the pandemic. 90% of people see parental mental health and well being as being critical to a child’s development, but in reality, people do very little to prioritize themselves.
The research included various methodology to find information. Throughout the panel, experts told us so many important things in ordinary language. I loved this from Dr Xand van Tulleken that the best gift we can give to a child is an adult face. The Survey and its findings are being applauded and welcomed by the experts in the field. From People’s report,
Eamon McCrory, a professor of developmental neuroscience and psychopathology at University College London who joined Kate’s steering group on this topic in 2018, has seen her experience and expertise blossom over that time.
“She is working with homelessness and mental health and with parents and perinatal care — she sees all aspects of the system,” he tells PEOPLE. “She’s talking to neuroscientists and is interested in understanding what it means for parents or what does it mean if we are interested in tackling mental health. She is really interested in putting the pieces together and having a cohesive response.”
“She has genuine curiosity and a real respect and understanding of the science,” McCrory says. “It’s really impressive.”He adds: “There is a growing influence of her work, and it’s likely to expand and have a long-term impact on the field.”
“She sees first-hand in her work the toll homelessness, addiction and mental health can have on adulthood. And she sees very clearly the root of many of those problems lie in childhood,” McCrory says. “To build a better society and tackle those problems, those first few years of life are really pivotal.”
McCrory says that the report — and the survey before it — has sparked “national conversation not just among parents but everyone, including scientists about the role the early years plays in building a happy and healthy society.”
“If we’re going to tackle issues like addiction, homelessness [and] mental health, that needs to begin in those first few years of life,” he says. “It needs to be a collective endeavor. That’s the incredible power of this report and the forum today.”
The findings of the crucial research are going to be used in an ambitious project that will be launched by The Duchess of Cambridge in 2021. From The Daily Express’ report, Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, said,
The science is uncontestable – the first five years of childhood are more pivotal for development and future health and happiness than any other single moment in our lifetime. This first sentence from The Royal Foundation’s new report is a stark recognition that if we are to give all children a fair start to life we must support them in their early years. The first five years lay down the precious foundations of skills, knowledge and confidence that help us navigate future challenges and realise our potential.
These skills need to be available to all children. I sat on the steering group for this report and I applaud the commitment of the Duchess of Cambridge to bring this issue to public attention.
For Today’s keynote speech, The Duchess of Cambridge brought back her Marks and Spencer Wool Blend Double Breasted Blazer that she first wore during a visit to London Ambulance Centre in March 2020.
The £99 blazer is described as, “The sharp cut and double-breasted shape of this Autograph blazer are perfect for days when you want to make an impact. Tailored fit with added stretch for a figure-defining silhouette. Italian wool-blend fabric creates a luxuriously smooth drape. Contrast button fastening. Coordinating lining with chain loop for hanging.”
Catherine was also wearing her UFO Pearl earrings that she debuted in October 2020 when she appeared in the NHS Teaser video.
In one clip, The Duchess of Cambridge seems to be wearing her Equipment Slim Signature Polka Dot Silk Shirt that she debuted in September 2019 for a visit to Sunshine House Children and Young People’s Health and Development Centre in London. The $280 shirt is described as, “This button-down features all the classic elements of our signature blouse from the front buttons to the double chest pockets, but we’ve cut it slightly more fitted for a structured work-ready look”. The silk shirt features Front button closure, Spread collar, Chest flap-patch pockets, Long sleeves with button cuffs, back yoke with box pleat and Shirttail hem.
In another clip, The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing Gap Cable Knit Turtleneck Sweater. Thanks to Sophia on Twitter for the id. The sweater is currently available for $26 in few sizes.
Another new element in her wardrobe is Barbour by Alexa Chung Edith Jacket. Thanks to Middleton Maven for the id.
Today was a big day for the Duchess of Cambridge. It brought the hard work of 9 years to a milestone and its just the beginning. I am looking forward to the next phase of her legacy – Early Years, that is capable of changing the next generations. Read all about her Early Years work here.