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Duchess Kate Announces New Project Centered Around Early Childhood: ‘10 Years in the Making’

Her passion project. Kate Middleton announced a new initiative that is the culmination of the 10 years of work she has put in as a member of the royal family.

Related: Duchess Kate Through the Years

Kate, 39, launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood on Friday, June 18, detailing the passion project in a video shared on Twitter. “I wanted to understand what we could do to help prevent some of today’s toughest social challenges and what more we could do to help with the rising rates of poor mental health,” she explained, noting that she sought the expertise of neuroscientists, psychiatrists and fellow parents. “Working closely with others, the center hopes to raise awareness of why the first five years of life are just so important for our future life outcomes, and what we can do as a society to embrace this golden opportunity to create a happier, more mentally healthy, more nurturing society.”

The Duchess of Cambridge teased the project in a Thursday, June 17, video shared via Twitter. “My early years journey began by meeting people rebuilding their lives from addiction, homelessness and family breakdown,” the montage, which featured quotes from the royal and snapshots from 2011 through 2020, read. “Listening to these experiences, I came to understand that poor mental health and a traumatic childhood shaped their lives. I wanted to do more to help prevent those social challenges by improving mental health. But learning more only highlighted the need to start this earlier in life.”

Duchess Kate Announces New Project Centered Around Early Childhood: ‘10 Years in the Making’
Catherine Duchess of Cambridge arrives at The Natural History Museum in London on October 9, 2019. Shutterstock

Kate then elaborated on the research that pointed her in the direction of her latest venture. “Hearing from teachers and parents helped me understand the need to support children before school which led me to the science of our early childhoods and the lifelong impact on our physical and mental wellbeing,” she continued. “And because my journey started by listening, I wanted to hear more about what the public thought. And this has led me to today – the realisation that we need to change the way we think about early childhood. And that starts now.”

Related: Prince William and Duchess Kate’s Relationship Timeline

The caption that accompanied the video read, “Ten years in the making.”

Kate officially joined the royal family in April 2011 when she tied the knot with Prince William. The couple have since welcomed three children: Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3.

Related: Duchess Kate and Prince William's Best Parenthood Quotes

Prior to Louis’ birth, the duchess penned a Huffington Post blog about children’s mental health issues in February 2016. “Like most parents today, William and I would not hesitate to seek help for our children if they needed it,” she wrote at the time. “We hope to encourage George and Charlotte to speak about their feelings, and to give them the tools and sensitivity to be supportive peers to their friends as they get older. We know there is no shame in a young child struggling with their emotions or suffering from a mental illness.”

William, 38, and Kate have long been vocal advocates for mental health awareness, launching the Heads Together campaign with Prince Harry in 2016. Kensington Palace announced in June 2019 that the Duke of Sussex, 36, and wife Meghan Markle would split from their joint charity with his brother and sister-in-law, telling Us Weekly in a statement at the time that The Royal Foundation would “become the principal charitable and philanthropic vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.” Harry and Meghan, 39, ultimately stepped away from their roles as senior members of the royal family in 2020.

Kate, for her part, has settled into her position as a working royal. “Kate has flourished into a queen in waiting in front of everyone’s eyes,” a source told Us in November 2020. “The royal family could not be more pleased.”

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