Kate Middleton promoted her new early years campaign Tuesday, with a visit to the British city of Leeds, having vowed that the cause of mental and emotional wellbeing in under-5s would be a key issue for her in the years to come at a glitzy launch in London the night before.
The solo project is an important insight into how Kate intends to harness her new role as Princess of Wales, and try to move on and away from the Harry and Meghan soap opera that has dominated the royal narrative for several weeks now.
The new campaign, called #ShapingUs, was described by aides as “a significant step up” after a decade of work by Kate on the issue, which has seen the creation of the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.
Aides told The Daily Beast she was aiming to “raise awareness of the vital importance of early childhood to lifelong outcomes,” saying she had “seen for herself how experiences in early childhood can so often be the root cause of huge societal challenges, from poor mental health to addiction and homelessness.”
Kate launched the new #ShapingUs initiative with a glamorous appearance in a bright red pantsuit London Monday night (which guaranteed front pages Tuesday) before travelling to Leeds Tuesday to launch the program on the ground in a local market.
Later, a more soberly attired Kate visited the University of Leeds where she was due to attend a lecture with Leeds University students, entitled “Psychological Approaches to Understanding and Supporting Children’s Learning.”
Monday’s event was held at the London HQ of British film, BAFTA, and saw the launch of a 90-second film emphasizing the impact of the first five years of life.
She had William by her side for that event, but Tuesday’s walkabout was very much about Kate striking out on her own.
Launching the campaign on Monday, Kate said: “Shaping Us is a long-term campaign, and we’re starting by highlighting how we develop during early childhood and why these years matter so much in terms of shaping who we become.
“As the campaign progresses, we will explore in more depth the importance of a child’s social and emotional world, the significance of relationships in shaping a child’s understanding of themselves and the world in which they live and also the impact of the surroundings and experiences a child is exposed to during these formative years.
“Together these play a key role in shaping our future lives. Yet they rarely get as much focus as our physical health and cognitive development.
“And of course, by understanding our own childhoods—what has shaped our own beliefs, relationships, behaviours and feelings—we, as adults, are better placed to play our part in positively shaping future generations.”
At the weekend, Kate courted controversy by writing in an open letter: “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.”