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British RoyalsPrince & Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales begins her Shaping Us campaign with visit to Leeds

Catherine, The Princess of Wales speaks about her early years project, Shaping Us, on visit to Leeds

The Princess of Wales spent the day in Leeds in promotion of her latest awareness campaign, Shaping Us, for the Royal Foundation for Early Childhood.

Catherine visited the Kirkgate Market in Leeds to meet the vendors and discuss early childhood and how their own experiences have shaped them. The royal Princess her way around the market, which dates back to 1857, and chatted with people.

A mother named Louise Keith told People magazine after Catherine’s visit: “We told her how Leeds is such a great place to bring up kids. Her campaign is a great initiative. It’s good for people who need it. We are fortunate that we have a good community network around us, but it’s good for those who don’t.”

Later, the Princess of Wales visited the University of Leeds to sit in on a lesson with students in the Childhood Studies programme.

Its programme leader, Dr Katie Gathercole, said “It’s wonderful that the Princess of Wales is so committed to highlighting the importance of positive early childhood experiences. Early childhood development is fundamental to the course and our students learn about the importance of fostering a nurturing, safe and secure environment in which to grow up, and the role all members of society have in facilitating this. It is great to see this aspect of childhood being highlighted in the new campaign.” 

The Princess met a few of the students in the second year module, and attended a lecture on ‘Psychological Approaches to Understanding and Supporting Children’s Learning.’

Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor and President, said, “It was a pleasure to welcome the Princess of Wales to the University and take the opportunity to tell her about our incredible early childhood teaching and research.  We fully support Shaping Us, which reflects the University’s wider ambition to help create a fairer and more equal society for all.”

The choice to launch in Leeds was strategic, according to Kensington Palace officials, who shared that the city “has an ambition to be the best place in the UK for children and young people to grow up in” and cited Child Friendly Leeds, a programme that invests in young people, as an inspiration.

Hours earlier, the Princess appeared in a video to launch Shaping Us, and said: “Our early childhood, the time from pregnancy to the age of five, fundamentally shapes the rest of our lives. But as a society, we currently spend much more of our time and energy on later life. Today, the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood is launching a new campaign, Shaping Us, to raise awareness of the life-changing impact we can have when we build a supportive, nurturing world around children and those who care for them.”

The Princess of Wales is expected to carry out more engagements in the coming days in support of Shaping Us.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.