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Duchess of Cambridge at 100 Women in Finance Gala: ” became acutely aware of just how important the earliest years of our lives really are”



The Duchess of Cambridge attended the 100 Women in Finance Gala last night at the V&A Museum in support of her Mentally Healthy Schools initiative.

Having spent the morning at the Mental Health in Education Conference where she spoke about the work of Mentally Healthy Schools, Kate attended the gala dinner that will support The Royal Foundation and this programme as its charitable initiative of the year.

At the dinner, Kate was introduced by Ed Vainker, the co-founder and principal at Reach Academy in Feltham, where she gave a speech about Mentally Healthy Schools.

The Duchess of Cambridge attends a gala dinner in aid of Mentally Healthy Schools at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Picture by i-Images / Pool

“I think you know just how passionate I am about the work that you do, and what you have said here tonight really brings to life the vital role that schools and teachers play in supporting our youngest children.

“Your vision is hugely inspiring and a testament to what schools, teachers, parents and communities can achieve when they all work together.”

Her Royal Highness also spoke about her involvement in early year intervention, and why she’s decided to make it a focus of her work.

“I have often been asked why I have decided to focus my work on the early years. Having been lucky enough to meet some of our country’s amazing charities and organisations, tackling some of our hardest social challenges, I became acutely aware of just how important the earliest years of our lives really are.”

She continued:

“The root cause of some of our most challenging experiences in adulthood, such as poor mental and physical health, addiction, homelessness, crime and family breakdown, can so often be traced back to the very earliest years of someone’s life and often over generations.

“We, therefore, need to look at the prevention of some of these issues, before they take hold and become a problem. The evidence is clear that from birth, the first few years of a child’s life are more pivotal for social, physical and emotional development and for future health and happiness than any other single moment in a lifetime.”

“In my early years work I am looking at how best we can support parents and families, however, we must remember that teachers, school leaders and school staff also play a vital role in shaping who our children become and how they develop.

“It is therefore critical that we support them so that they can provide the best level of care for all children in their schools and communities.”

The Duchess thanked the 100 Women in Finance organisation for their support of The Royal Foundation over the years, saying, “Over the past decade you have been unwavering in your support of our patronages, and your efforts have made a huge difference to so many of our charities.

The Duchess earlier in the day. @KensingtonRoyal/Twitter

“So I just wanted to say thank you, for this wonderful evening and for all of your support over the years. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes.”

Kate has attended the 100 Women in Finance Gala Dinner twice before: in 2015 in support of The Art Room; and in 2013 in support of Action on Addiction.

All proceeds from last night’s gala will go to the Royal Foundation’s mental health initiative launched by the Duchess early last year: https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/



About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, with an emphasis on the British, Danish, and Swedish Royal Families.