Kate Middleton Continues Early Childhood Mission with Back-to-Back Engagements in London

The Princess of Wales is spending time with young people who have experienced the care system and the kinship carers who step up

<p>Neil Mockford/GC Images</p>

Neil Mockford/GC Images

Kate Middleton is out and about to elevate her early childhood work.

On Thursday morning, the Princess of Wales, 41, stepped out in London to highlight the importance of relationships in early childhood. Early childhood development has long been a keystone of Princess Kate’s royal world, and her back-to-back engagements shed light on the importance of loving relationships for children who have experienced adversity, trauma, or bereavement. The outings focus on the experiences of those in the care system and the experience of carers who foster, adopt or care for extended family and friends, known as “kinship carers.”

Kate’s first stop was the Foundling Museum, which tells the story of the 18th-century Foundling Hospital, the U.K.'s first children's charity. It was initially established in 1739 as a home for children at risk of abandonment, and Princess Kate has served as patron of the modern museum since 2019.

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<p>Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images</p>

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

The hub today offers programs to support vulnerable young people, from training and mentorship opportunities to creative projects guided by artists, writers and musicians. Kate met some participants of the award-winning Tracing Our Tales program for creative writing, joining the group and Professor Green to discuss the positive positive outlet.

The Princess of Wales then met with adoptive and foster parents to learn more about their experiences with young people and the care system. The small group spoke about the importance of love and support for all children, and how positive relationships have a lifelong impact. Kate has voiced her support for the Foundling Museum’s “Securing the Future” fundraiser, which has set a goal of $5.7 million to secure the museum’s home and custodianship of the Foundling Hospital Collection for the next 999 years.

<p>Tristan Fewings/Getty Images</p>

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

“Their ground-breaking work to support each care-experienced young person to fundamentally change the future direction of their lives is one that means the world to me. Importantly, it shows that it is never too late to make a difference, and that by providing the right support, we can enable those who have faced real difficulties to overcome their challenges and achieve their goals,” she said in a statement Wednesday.

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The royal mom then moved to a support group session for kinship carers in London to hear about how they’re raising the next generation. Kate met with carers involved with the charity Kinship, some of whom are aunts, uncles and grandparents to the kids in their care.

The group discussed challenges faced, and how charities like Kinship make a difference. The organization works with over 10,000 kinship carers in England and Wales each year, offering free training, support both one-on-one and in peer groups, a resource hub and more.

<p>Neil Mockford/GC Images</p>

Neil Mockford/GC Images

According to a statement from Kensington Palace, there are over 162,000 children in England and Wales growing up in kinship care. Many of the youth have faced trauma, and benefit from the loving care of family or friends who welcome them into their lives.

To further raise awareness of the critical importance of the early childhood years, Princess Kate launched the landmark “Shaping Us” campaign in January. The effort comes from The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, which she launched in June 2021.

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The long-term initiative is defined on the Royal Foundation's website as "a major new awareness-raising campaign to increase public understanding of the crucial importance of the first five years of a child's life." Shaping Us hopes to transform "the issue from one of scientific interest to one of the most strategically important topics of our time," a statement says.

<p>Neil Mockford/GC Images</p>

Neil Mockford/GC Images

A mom of three, Princess Kates shares Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, with husband Prince William. In a kickoff speech for Shaping Us over the winter, she touched on how childhoods shape the rest of our lives.

"The campaign is fundamentally about shining a spotlight on the critical importance of early childhood and how it shapes the adults we become," she said in January. "This is why it is essential, to not only understand the unique importance of our earliest years, but to know what we can all do to help raise future generations of happy, healthy adults."

"Those involved in raising children today need the very best information and support in helping to achieve this mission — and this campaign aims to help do that too.”

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