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The Cambridges

The Duchess of Cambridge answers questions about the early years


Photo: Kensington Palace

The Duchess of Cambridge took to social media on Saturday afternoon to answer a few questions from the public about her interest in the early years of childhood development.

Kate, who unveiled the findings of her 5 Big Questions on the Under 5s survey on Friday, posted the video writing, “Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a question throughout the week – we’ve seen such an incredible response, touching on so many different aspects of the early years.

“This is just the start of the conversation. Thank you for being part of it.”

In the video, Kate says that the early years are defined as “From pregnancy through to the age of five, so through to children starting school,” and that she gets asked a lot why she has such an interest in this specific area.

“I think people assume that because I am a parent, that’s why I’ve taken an interest in the Early Years. I think this really is bigger than that. This isn’t just about happy, healthy children; this is about the society I hope we could and can become.

“Right from the early days, [I’ve been] meeting lots of people who are suffering with addiction or poor mental health and hearing time and time again that their troubles now in adulthood stem right back from early childhood experience.”

This echoes the Duchess’s speech at Friday’s Early Years Forum, where she said: “Parenthood isn’t a prerequisite for understanding the importance of the early years. If we only expect people to take an interest in the early years when they have children, we are not only too late for them, we are underestimating the huge role others can play in shaping our most formative years too.”

Another commenter wanted to know how Kate manages temper tantrums in her household, especially given that she has multiple children. The Duchess laughed at the question and replied, “I’d also like to ask the experts myself!”

Several questions in the video were answered by childhood development experts, including Alice Haynes, Deputy Head of the Early Years Programme at the Anna Freud Centre; Dr Guddi Singh, a pediatric doctor with Evelina Children’s Hospital, Guys’ and St Thomas’; and Dr Trudi Senevirante, an Adult and Perinatal Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The Duchess of Cambridge also revealed her amazement, as a first-time parent, that 90% of an adult’s brain is developed in the early years and how she viewed that as a “huge opportunity for parents and carers and all those looking after children” to help children in their first five years.

Kate also revealed that she’d love to take her Early Years work international in the interest of sharing best practices and ensuring that all the work being done globally has the best resources.

She further revealed that a lot of projects stemming from the survey results will be announced in 2021, and that “there will be for quite a lot of years to come, too, because this isn’t something that we are going to be able to change quickly and overnight. It’s going to take generations, and I’m keen to support this for the long term.”

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.