Kate Middleton gets political with talks with government ministers about early childhood

Kate Middleton hosted a roundtable with government ministers over the importance of early childhood development and its links to mental health this morning.

Alongside The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, Kate met Health Secretary Sajid Javid, families minister Will Quince, representatives from the early years sector and officials from the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care.

Mum-of-three Kate looked elegant for the important discussion as she wore a baby pink blazer with a white T-shirt underneath.

She appeared in high spirits as she smiled during the discussion, as she wore a dazzling pair of earrings and matching necklace.

The royal, 40, wore her glossy brunette hair down in bouncy waves and wore a slick of pink lipstick and smokey brown eye shadow.

The discussion on Thursday focused on new findings by the centre which show that nine in ten (91 per cent) agree that early years are important in shaping children’s lives, although less than a fifth (17 per cent) recognise the unique importance of children’s development from birth to the age of five.

The findings show that seven in ten (70 per cent) people believe early years development should be more of a priority for society, while over half (55 per cent) of the public recognise that future mental health is the most likely part of adult life to be affected by one’s early years, followed by the ability to create and maintain relationships (51 per cent) and future happiness (40 per cent).

The research shows that informal groups are the key source of support for parents, with more than half of parents of children aged 0 to five stating their family or friends were the best source of information on their child’s emotional and social development.

Parents are also more likely to seek out information and advice on their child’s physical health than they are on their social or emotional development, with 35 per cent asking for advice on nutrition, while just 21 per cent seek advice on the development of social skills.

The Duchess believes that the development children have in the early stages of their life "set the foundation" for our lives as a whole, and how important it is that the country focuses on this going forward.

Kate said: “Our experiences in early childhood fundamentally impact our whole life and set the foundation for how we go on to thrive as individuals, with one another, as a community and as a society.

“The findings published today present us with a huge opportunity and demonstrate there is real appetite from the public to bring this issue up all of our agendas.

“There is more we can all do – every member of society can play a key role, whether that is directly with a child or by investing in the adults around them – the parents, the carers, the early years workforce and more.”

Kelly Beaver, chief executive of Ipsos UK and Ireland, which carried out the polling of over 4,000 UK adults from April 21 to May 5, said: “Although the majority of us agree that the experiences people have in childhood can have a significant impact on their future, a minority of Britons recognise the unique importance of the first five years of a child’s life.

“These formative years are crucial in the emotional, social and physical development of every child and this critical new research, for The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, provides the opportunity for society to ignite a discussion about how parents and children can be better supported during this period.”

Kate has previously visited Denmark to learn more about their investment in early childhood development, having launched The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in June 2021, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of early years experiences in shaping society over the long term.

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