The Princess of Wales was on home turf today as she hosted "an insightful first meeting" with the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood's Advisory Group at majestic Windsor Castle.
The meeting comes ahead of the unveiling of a "major three to five year" initiative which is expected to be revealed within the next week. I'd imagine we will see several engagements to coincide with the launch, perhaps similar to the whirlwind UK tour Kate undertook for her '5 Big Questions' survey. As you all will have noticed, engagements have been entirely embargoed so far this month, meaning they haven't been confirmed in advance. It's a trend we saw develop due to the pandemic, which was relaxed last year.
Kensington Palace said: "A group of eight experts from across academia, science and the early years sector has been appointed to offer strategic advice to The Princess of Wales and provide oversight of the work of her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood. The Advisory Group met with Her Royal Highness for the first time at Windsor Castle on Wednesday 25th January. They will go on to support the Princess and the centre as work is accelerated to promote the fundamental importance of the first five years of a child’s life."
The Princess of Wales is at Windsor Castle this morning meeting experts, scientists and academics specialising in the early years who have been advising and overseeing the Royal Foundation’s ongoing work in the area pic.twitter.com/LbKRaYAkOy— Roya Nikkhah (@RoyaNikkhah) January 25, 2023
The Advisory Group contains familiar names from charities Kate's worked with, including Professor Peter Fonagy OBE, Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL and Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.
Other members include:
• Eamon McCrory, Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology, University College London
• Dr Alain Gregoire, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist and President and Founder of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance
• Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Registrar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists
• Ed Vainker OBE, co-founder of Reach Academy Feltham
• Carey Oppenheim, Project Lead at the Nuffield Foundation
• Imran Hussain, Director of Policy and Campaigns for Action for Children
• Beverley Barnett-Jones MBE, Associate Director at Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and Trustee at What Works in Children’s Social Care
Members were selected for their "deep expertise" in multiple areas associated with early childhood. They will support the centre's efforts in commissioning new research and raising awareness of the "extraordinary impact" the first five years have on future outcomes.
Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of the Royal Foundation said: "Working with such an eminent group of people is an absolute privilege. I know their advice and experience is hugely valued by the Princess, and the whole Centre for Early Childhood team, as we continue to drive awareness of, and action on, the transformative impact of the early years. The Advisory Group’s support in our key areas of research, collaboration and awareness raising will be invaluable and I look forward to working closely with them to make a difference for generations to come."
Kensington Palace added: "Several of those involved have already played a pivotal role in the work the Princess of Wales has been pursuing for more than a decade in this field, helping her to shape her work on the issue and adding to her determination to help change the way people think about early childhood. The appointment of the Advisory Group comes as the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood appoints Christian Guy as Centre Director."
'During the gathering, Kate told them a key area that might be looked into is how to "develop the social and emotional skills which are vital for later life".
She added: “Today I just want to think about and discuss what next, really. How do we keep this conversation going?
“This campaign’s really to try and raise the awareness of the importance of this issue. And it’s sort of what can we do collectively to keep the conversation going and what we do next.
“This campaign is really laying the foundation of why early childhood matters.”
The meeting was held in the Green Drawing Room.
In 1992, the fire at Windsor Castle severely damaged the Semi-State Rooms, including the Green Drawing Room. By good fortune however, the contents of the rooms had been removed at the time. Each room was subsequently restored to its 19th century appearance using the original designs supplied to George IV. This watercolour shows the Green Drawing Room after restoration.
The Green Drawing Room in 1848.
In recent times, the Queen's official 90th birthday portrait with her two youngest grandchildren and five great-grandchildren was shot by Annie Leibovitz in the Green Drawing Room. It's always a treat to see this one :)
The Princess chose a suit for the event.
Kate wore her Alexander McQueen Black Tuxedo Jacket.
It appears Kate teamed it with her Roland Mouret Axon trousers. They're crafted from a stretch blend to ensure a comfortable and flattering fit, and are shaped with wide legs defined by front and back pressed creases.
The Princess wore her Holland Cooper bodysuit. The £119 piece is described: "Our stunning shirt bodysuit was designed with a day to night concept in mind. Thanks to our nylon elastane thong base, made with our superior knitting technique this ensures our bodies have a flawlessly smooth fit every time. This piece creates the impression of a seamlessly tucked-in blouse. Inverted dart back pleat and signature gold buttons, this well designed shape creates for a flattering silhouette."
Kate accessorised with sustainable baroque pearl earrings by Shyla London.
A number of you have very kindly taken time to leave thoughtful and much appreciated comments over the past fortnight. I read each one and was deeply touched. Thank you.
Hmm. I've tended to wear my own tuxedo jacket only in the evenings, but then, the main body of mine is velvet. This one appears to be wool crepe or something similar. I suppose that works for daytime wear.ReplyDelete
I am not a bodysuit fan, finding them uncomfortable and inconvenient. I also just prefer some drape and a slight looseness at the waist in a blouse. Both the Princess and Meghan Sussex seem to like bodysuits, though, and I have to admit that they comprise a certain crisp, military-style neatness, though that doesn't appeal to me enough to inspire me to try bodysuits again.
I LOVE the earrings. I'll have to look into those and price them.
My only other comment is that I'm a bit concerned by what appears to be a certain lack of originality in the Princess's remarks at this meeting. We all know that early childhood matters -- I really don't think there is anyone who is not aware of that -- and that children must develop certain social and emotional skills necessary for success in later life -- that this is a "key area". But these professionals know that, too, and have already been working in this area for years. I'm wondering what they and this campaign can offer that is new and original in the field, in terms of, say, classroom methodologies and other recommendations. It remains to be seen.
I think the Princess has, throughout her years as Duchess of Cambridge and now Princess of Wales, sought to remain within very safe limits in terms of her patronages and so forth. Children and early childhood development are quite safe subjects, which is not to say that I think she's adopted these solely for reasons of safety and lack of controversy. She seems genuinely interested, but I suppose I'd like to see her branch out a bit and think outside of the box now and then. God knows, Prince Charles did, and his environmentalism has turned out to be prescient. Yes, he got a lot of pushback and criticism, but royals often do. That really just goes with the territory.
I completely agree with you . Considering she has had this as a main focus for the last decade I can’t see any real progress or changes she has made - no specific plans or targets . Lots of talking like the big question but no measurable changes.Delete
She is not academically versed in this subject (children neurologie and early years development)and she don't pretend to be one nor she use a lexicon that make her more important than she is. I appreciate her humbleness and acknowledging real scientists and researchers. I want her to take risk but not to fake a persona that she is not.Delete
Kate's words were really only introductory and welcoming remarks. I'm sure the rest of the meeting provided much more substance and some plan of a forward direction. You say, Vittoria, that we ALL know that early childhood development matters and that you don't think there is anyone who is not aware of it. The problem is, that not everybody understands this, promotes it, or puts it into action. Most of Kate's work is to create awareness. I speak from a vantage point of working with five year olds, for most of my teaching career. Children start school with a wide range of different abilities and experiences. It becomes very evident, that not all children have their young minds stimulated, or their self esteem nurtured. This puts those children at a disadvantage for learning. Kate is shining a light on the work of the others at the meeting.Delete
Sadly Vittoria that is something I have been thinking for awhile now. She seems to say the same basic things over and over (even though people say she is an expert now). There is nothing new there. She regurgitates things she has been saying the last 5 years. To me at this point, it all seems hallow and superficial (I'm not saying Kate is superficial). Like a way to seem busy without really being busy. I am waiting to actually see something with drive and initiative. Like when they did the Heads Together campaign, at least that ended in a marathon. But even that sadly had no follow through as they just let Heads Together die. I know the Royals 'job' is to be a mouthpiece really. But I just guess i expected a little more at this point since it is supposedly her passion and what she has been focusing on for years. She just says the same basic things each time and there has been nothing new or deeper. I hope whatever big thing happens next week it really will be something new and not the same things presented in a new package.Delete
I agree. I have been waiting to see some action and something tangible, but it's the same words every year. I don't understand what the goal is.Delete
I wrote a comment below but couldn't sign in with my name. Paradoxically, I feel all those saying we already know this, we are aware of the importance of early years are the ones that Kate is targeting. Because yes, we know but it isn't really a priority for our societies. Keeping the parents on the labour market is much more important. The economy is more important, even climate change is now more important. And policy makers reflect the priorities of society. Affordable childcare, its funding is the usual topic. There is no conversation around those topics you find so superficial, the importance of those years for children development, their brain, their wellbeing, their sociability. No no real societal interest. The complaints about she is not telling us anything new somehow negate there is a problem and enfasize the lack of consciousness of a society driven by economy.Delete
I kind of agree with both sides here. While I also wonder if Kate's iniciative in the early years is sufficiently in-depth, I reckon that it is good that she isn't pretending to be a professional expert and isn't trying to upstage the real researchers and people behind the science. The more I think about it, the more I approve of Kate's actions. Let me explain. If she tried to sound and act more like an expert, she would a) upstage the real professionals, b) come out as pretentious, c) kinda imply that you do not need a special education and full timr job in the field to be an expert. If she for example announced that she is getting a degree in education/child developmemt psychology etc., so that she would gain the expertise and the position to actually speak professionally on the matter, she would face huge backlash for wasting her time and taxpayers' money. I think Kate is very humble and careful, very often she displays her self-deprecating humor and she always emphasizes that she is an amateur when it comes to some activity she is fond of (photography cones to mind). Hence I decide not to judge her for this. Also yes, everybody knows now that early years are important, but tbh isn't it partly because of Kate (repetitively?) raising awareness?Delete
One more thought. It would require some political action to really put some of the scientific findings in action. Kate has to be extremely careful here though-not to get "political" or not to get involved woth government policies too much.
I agree that 'raising awareness' becomes stale and tiresome but I'm hoping she's actually about to launch something soon. I don't think the subject matter is as safe as it appears. Early years funding, childcare provision and even things like the curriculum/regulations are political/government so she does have to tread carefully while figuring out how to make a difference. I don't know what I'd do in her shoes.Delete
Well said Ella, I completely agree with you. Zora from PragueDelete
I really love this classic look. I like they way she's launching this part of her initiative: it's a way of sharing credit with the people behind the scenes and lends legitimacy to her work at the same time. Really looking forward to the engagements that are sure to follow soon.ReplyDelete
I love the outfit. But this is most definitely not the Big Bang I thought it would be. An advisory group to support her and her charity branch in how to promote the importance of Early Years? That’s incredibly shallow to be honest. I am real missing the impact in this area. The Big Five questionnaire had a similar problem. I love this area and I love she wants to champion it, but the turnout so far is disappointing. Let’s hope next week will make me eat my hat.ReplyDelete
Thank you Charlotte for your post, I was looking forward to reading it and was also mentally preparing myself for those commenting. I have often told myself to only read your blog, because it's always measured, fair and to the point. But the eye tends to slide down past it and, sigh, there the comments are, people wanting the Princess to be what they want her to be, finding fault with her efforts instead of appreciating that she is drawing attention to something that is utterly crucial in our society. So much violence, so much crime, so many broken lives and heartbreak, confused and angry children who become confused and angry adults: most of it is traceable to trauma suffered in early childhood. I know people could say I am biased for the cause of early childhood education because I have four grandchildren, because I substitute teach. And maybe I am still suffering from some trauma as we had to go through yet another (thankfully mock) lockdown last week and as I huddled with the first graders and tried to deal with one very recalcitrant child, my mind kept going to the teacher recently in Virginia who literally had her warnings and pleas for help ignored until she almost died in the classroom. I have had to deal with children who quite literally frightened the heck out of me and felt helpless as to what to do. I also know, though, because I have seen how frustrating it is to make changes, even in a smallish School District such as I am in, that it takes time to build momentum for change and that most of the "powers that be" won't make those changes unless there are studies done and experts called in, groundwork carefully laid. And someone/people equally powerful to push the changes through. Which is, I think what the Princess is trying so hard for.ReplyDelete
Oh well, as I said at the beginning, people have the right to their opinions, we have our different reasons for following our favorite people of interest and I don't want to sound like a bristly old lady beating her own drums. Thank you again Charlotte for all that you do! Valerie
Valerie, you so perfectly stated what I was thinking but struggled to put into words: “It takes time to build momentum for change and that most of the "powers that be" won't make those changes unless there are studies done and experts called in, groundwork carefully laid. And someone/people equally powerful to push the changes through.”Delete
Also, thank you for being a teacher, especially at a time when the job comes with responsibilities that no one should have to have. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like having to go through a mock lockdown with such little ones.
Kim in Saratoga
Thank you Valerie. Reading the comments, it is clear people don't really know the challenges ahead. Yes we might think we already know the first years are essential. But we don't know how neglected they are, how society changes are impacting them, how governments underfund them. For generations now, early years have been looked at from the point of view how to keep parents on their jobs, basically affordable childcare. The children as such and how they are affected is not a topic in family policies. I hope this campaign adresses the elephant in the room small children are not a priority, they do not bring in votes.Delete
Thank you so much Valerie. My English aren't good enough and you expressed my thoughts to the point.I follow this blog because I admire Kate for her poise and gentility. In a world full of drama , exhibition and sensation it looks like an oasis for me.Delete
As an American, I find the never-ending loop of situations in which students and teachers are exposed to danger and trauma to be depressing, terrifying and inexplicable. I’ll never understand why they’ve also become expected and accepted.
My best to you as you navigate this path. So many good teachers and substitutes and other school personnel have decided it’s not worth it. Please be well and safe.
I have to disagree. The challenges ahead are actually very public. The area was overlocked and underfunded for ever. Childcare is a job for a penny - we can be grateful still so many do it and do it full of optimism, energy and warmth. The pandemic and its effects in this area are already discussed. As well as areas being tangent to it such as migration, addiction, mental health…. I mean she had already dabbled in many of those areas so it could tie in nicely. Still, I find her work in that area extremely light weight. If Kate isn’t pushing for political change- and I have no idea how she could, she needs to come up with more substantial and impactful stuff. Don’t get me wrong, if she wants to be just a nice mouthpiece for efforts in that area, that’s fine by me. But the narrative around her work is very much the opposite. Either tone down the way you sell your work OR seriously step up.Delete
Very well said Val, I couldn't agree more with everything you said. Zip here in Ireland children's and teachers safety is not a issue in schools. I'd be all for home schooling if I lived in America. Some children when you look at their parents, you can't help thinking what hope is there for their kids. I'm not referring to people who are poor, rather people who have had childhood traum and no life skills themselves with no hope of setting a good example to their own children. I know a teacher and she said you can spot the kids who have been sent to school hungry, also the ones who have issues and worries far beyond their years. Education and support is key here to breaking the cycle. S.😄Delete
Love the outfit and its versatility for day or evening. Like the others, hope the next step in this initiative packs a punch. It’s an important topic. Thanks Charlotte! SueReplyDelete
Fashion first -- I very much like this outfit. The bodysuit sounds uncomfortable but it's worth it to me to not see a bow! :) I agree that the earrings are lovely. I focus mostly on jewelry and was wishing for some interesting gold earrings. Very nice,ReplyDelete
I was thinking about this project. This is not new information, so I am wondering who is the target of this project? Families in trouble don't have the means to provide all that is needed. Families with resources likely provide well -- or are those the ones who need to know more? Or is she targeting the multitude of inadequate daycare facilities? If they received grants to provide more for those they care for, that would be great. Or will it be a matter of being to call for resources -- perhaps families facing homelessness could contact some agency? I hope things become clearer soon, and it would be lovely to see how the initiative can make some changes.
And thank you for all the lovely Green Room photos!ReplyDelete
Love the look and the event. AliReplyDelete
How can any of us know the full impact of this initiative when only bits and pieces are reported? I think Catherine has chosen this theme because many times the children are the last ones to receive help or funds. Just the attention it brings to this cause will help promote it. Thanks Charlotte for your coverage of this event.ReplyDelete
Am I wrong here ? I thought the three to five year plan was made two or three years ago? I know big projects take time. Thanks for the info on this Green Drawing room. It’s great to see the rooms being used . On the fashion side : I love this tuxedo jacket cut for a female shape. I had a man’s wools tux jacket a long time ago, from a thrift store ,and I loved wearing it.ReplyDelete
I love Kates look today and have always loved what she wears. But I really want to see her back in dresses from time to time. A lot of her engagements lately she wears the pant suit wardrobe. Again, nothing wrong with what she wears at all. I just miss seeing her in dresses. Hopefully when the weather is nicer and a bit more warmer she might venture into dresses again. I am excited to hear what this new initiative might be. She is such a darling and love the awareness she is giving. Especially for ladies who are planning to have children. Love her look-hair, wardrobe, smile, everything!! 💙ReplyDelete
I agree Floridagirl, bring back the dresses please!Delete
This initiative of Catherine’s is a huge undertaking. Yes, she’s been discussing and promoting it for a while now, but it’s something that will take years to develop and implement, which means that we may not always feel “wowed” by what we’re seeing. (I feel like we do get that from her with other things, like at the Earthshot awards in Boston, which definitely had wow factor.) I always assumed that while Catherine has become very knowledgeable about early childhood, her role is to bring attention and publicity to the cause, thus allowing the experts, such as the impressive team that met today, to develop policy and implementation plans. Having worked with social service agencies in the US for many years, I was really interested to see the following quote from Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Registrar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I think she really hit the nail on the head when discussing collaboration between organizations and the creation of lasting policy which is an issue here in the US as well. I also think she explained why this is such a huge undertaking that requires patience and time.ReplyDelete
“Having policy that brings together the importance of the early years and helping people to collaborate on their thinking is really quite crucial.
We need all of government to buy into this as a really ambitious long-term programme that actually continues regardless of changes of government - that's really, really important.
We can't have constant change so policy needs to be embedded in education, in healthcare, in maternity care, post-natal care, in all of health and social care that supports families and it needs to continue. It needs to grow and expand - that's absolutely critical.
I think we run into lots of problems with projects opening and closing - that's just not good enough for the child or indeed that family.”
I’d also like to say that although here in the US we have had First Ladies who promote a cause that is important to them, it’s usually only in the public eye for the four or eight years their spouse is President. This is something that Catherine can champion for the rest of her life. Imagine the outcomes and results we may see in 15 or 20 years!
Kim in Saratoga
Well said Kim in Saratoga. Not every meeting we see is going to WOW everyone. She is a patron, which means bringing attention to the cause - lending support to the cause. The experts implement the project. Thank you Charlotte for your blog which gives us a little glimpse into the RF and brings us a little entertainment.Delete
Well said, Kim! I agree with you. This initiative won't take effect with the snap of fingers. A lot of the work will be taking place behind the scenes to incorporate into various programs which all tie together.Delete
Border Terrier lover
We’ll said, Kim! This is an important initiative, and it takes time to put together. I echoed those, too, who said that the only video we have from this is of introductory comments, not the substance of the discussion. Charlotte said in her excellent write up that more was to come, and I thought I understood Catherine to say something about looking forward to Monday evening in on of the videos I saw of the engagement, so there is, undoubtedly, more to come. I’m not sure what people are expecting. Opening conversations and raising awareness are important steps to creating change. I think Catherine has done a wonderful job. Thank you, Charlotte for all of your work on the blog!Delete
Well said indeed Kim! Am in agreement with you and Anon's 13:57 and 14:06. This is a kick-off committee for the start of what I believe will be Kate's attention and efforts to making significant change by and bring awareness to the government to make long-term changes that will have an impact on these programs. For programs to make a difference they need to have staying power and Kate's continued participation is helping to achieve that....good things happen in good time.Delete
The princess is so elegant and classy on the outside and inside. Despite all the personal sadness and stress she has had to deal with, she is always outward focused. Moving a family of 3 kids with new schools is a major undertaking with daily difficulties in the transition (I've been there!). Yet she manages to have compassion and focus on others constantly. She is like Diana but with confidence. Glad she can work at Windsor & not have to travel for all meetings. This family is beautiful!ReplyDelete
She’s still talking about laying the foundation for a continued conversation? What have the past 5 years been about? This campaign for early childhood development is going to go stale, I fear, if her initiatives don’t start picking up steam.ReplyDelete
I usually don’t think too deeply about what’s behind her events or engagements. But reading some of the comments regarding this project (and her remarks) being superficial or repetitive has made me wonder if it’s challenging for Kate to find a balance between “making a sustainable difference” and “recognizing her limitations.”ReplyDelete
Charles made a big difference in some of the projects he pursued, and got a lot of flak for it. I just don’t see Kate wanting to get too controversial. On the other hand, I think she wanted, from the beginning, to do something more than show up and look pretty at endless ribbon cutting events. She seems pretty thoughtful and obviously wants to prioritize raising her family, so sticking to a handful of major themes makes sense for her. She must recognizes
her main power is to draw attention to the causes she cares about and to convene actual experts (who’s going to say “No” to an invite from the Princess of Wales?) who can make headway on the very large issues at hand.
My only wish around her work with Early Childhood Education would be that Kate would use her platform to promote some small things that everyone can do. For instance, there’s been a lot of studies that show that being exposed to a lot of words in early childhood makes a huge difference in how children develop language and learning skills. I’ve read that just narrating your actions when you’re around a baby can make a tremendous impact on them.
On to fashion (which is mainly what I focus on because this blog is a guilty pleasure for me): she looks fine but nothing very exciting. I don’t think I’d ever pair up items in the same color from different designers (or brands) because the shades have so much variability. I’m skeptical that the black in the jacket and the black in the trousers look great together in person. One of her tweed blazers would have been my choice for this outfit.
I agree zipzipzippy. It seems like Catherine tries to strike a balance of doing meaningful work but not being too controversial in the process. That may make her seem a little cautious to some. She does seem to be detailed and thorough in her approach. I wonder, too, how much COVID and the resulting lockdown upended some plans? I seem to remember that she did at one point do several things to encourage families to develope skills with younger children—I seem to remember her appearing on a Childrens show and doing a nature exploration activity that had supported materials through the show, and another visit where they met with parents—I just remember it being outdoors, under a tent, where language acquisition was part of the conversation. She did the book recorded book reading.Delete
I understand people wanting more, but there has been so much upheaval not only in the world, but in their lives, too—the shift in trying to support the nation through COVID lockdowns, the loss of both the Queen and Prince Philip, changing homes, changing schools, changing roles. So much we don’t know or see. No matter the upheavals I t’s obvious this work is important to her, and she intends to keep on keeping on with it. I’m interested to see how she goes forward with it.
I love this look. Sleek and polished. Every time she wears pearl earrings I'm inspired to bring mine out and wear them.ReplyDelete
I think we all need to remember that she's a patron to bring awareness to the issue and create interest, to inspire people to become more educated about the matter and likely to educate herself also, but not to fix it single-handedly.
I agree. But her PR sells every little thing as the next big revelation. Of course the actual events fall short against that. If that’s what they put out there, that’s what she gets measured against.Delete
The Princess looked very smart yesterday. I like the earrings as well. The green drawing room looks amazing. Fantastic backdrop for her meeting. I think she is doing a great job on this project . Every time it's mentioned it gets people talking and thinking. I'm sure if she had a magic wand to fix all these problems she would use it. I say watch this space and give her time to achieve her goals on this project. S. 😄ReplyDelete
B/white is a classic look and this outfit looks great. The Princess looks chic and stylish. Love the pearl earrings.ReplyDelete
I am careful to state this because people who support Kate see critic as an attack on her.ReplyDelete
This announcement was, like many said, a disappointment. I want to discuss a few things that led to this feeling of disappointment.
I think there is a disconnect between generations. The other generation (in thought) appreciates Kate’s current approach because it’s how they would’ve approached it. The younger generation is typically people who have three jobs and want immediate action, expecting more. This generation has several things going on, so they expect Kate, who is shown as a modern-day royal, to do the same and deliver.
Secondly, I think the narrative surrounding Kate has to change. The focus of Kate’s whole royal career was her clothes. People have said showcasing British fashion was part of her job. Since taking the role of Princess of Wales, the narrative is that she’s a working royal. Hence the “uniform”. But except for the announcement, very little has changed.
The focus is still on Kate. I usually learned a lot about Kat’s causes from Charlotte, not Kate. And that’s a problem.
If Kate wants us to focus on her work, she has the power to do so. It was reported she likes to read academic articles, so why not post her desk with an article from one of her experts before or after the meeting? Something like this: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/266908715395345453/
She can even take out a few quotes from the article that she found interesting. This would anchor her work while highlighting the experts. Depending on how the photo is taken, will put the focus on her work.
Her quotes sound extremely similar, especially concerning her Early Years project. When the Centre was launched there were simple spelling mistakes made on the cover – with her resources that shouldn’t have happened.
And like I said her quotes sound very similar. This can be because the journalist just chooses those quotes, but more likely that is all their privy to. People who are well-versed in a subject make diverse comments. Take this comment Charlotte makes in the latest post: “I've been researching early years in the United Kingdom ahead of the launch of Kate's new initiative next week, and I've been struck by the rather stark disconnect between government and headlines and figures and the actual biting reality of years of underinvestment. We'll be chatting about it in detail next week, but I thought it noteworthy now to underscore the overlapping difficulties.”
It shows a basic understanding of cause and effect.
Or this quote which is just powerful: “It's also an opportunity to celebrate grassroots heroes who quietly volunteer to make a difference.”
Kate’s comment usually sounds stilted and uncomfortable. Moreover, Kate is an educated woman from one of the best institutions in the world – that is why people expect more.
The narrative that surrounds Kate needs to be built out because currently, it raises the expectation of what she can or is willing to do. I put older in thought in brackets, because Charles for his many faults has created a charity with results. Diana was brilliant with charity work that has an immediate and long-term effect. This is not new in the royal household, so why are people acting like this is an unreasonable expectation of Kate?
She had years of thinking this over and getting help and guidance for her role before she married William. The fact that “listening and learning” and “keen” is the most common description of her work is insulting to her and modern women. Women who still face unimaginable obstacles in their careers.
Kate has an enormous platform and whether it’s fair on not, what she does with it affects other women, not just royals. They are upheld as the modern face of British royalty, their work should also reflect that.
CeeCee, thank you for expressing many of my views so eloquently. Kate and Wiliam and their team seem to have overlooked some important bits. No big success comes just like that. It takes years of dedicated and hard work, when no one is interested in it or even laughs about you. Neither Early Years or Earthshot have a good track record. They should have started to work this quietly 10 years ago with successively getting bigger. But jumping in, announcing something is going to be a BIG development build an expectation that’s hard to fulfil. And it looks bad if you announce to make something your prime focus and then not give it a visible extreme effort. It seems they try to follow into the footsteps of the late DoE, KCIII. and Diana, but want to skip the hard part of years of intense work against all odds. So at this point I question their dedication. It looks very performative. The crazy thing is- they needn’t come up with something new. Kate should have taken on the DoE scheme. Outdoors, children and young adults- maybe work out something that benefits the Early Year age gap- so many opportunities. And Wiliam could have doubled down with the Princes Trust (and he could have worked more with the male suicide and military angle additionally). It would be a shame to see two so valid program loose in profile because every generation thinks they need to have their own initiative under their belt. They don’t.Delete
I've never seen so much nitpicking on whether Kate is doing enough. I think some are forgetting that she is promoting children's early years development in these charities WHILE living it out daily with 3 young children at home. Being a mother is where she can have the most impact and we know she is a hands on mum. There is only so much time in a day so most of what she does is not seen but we can all see by their lovely children that she is doing a brilliant job in her most important and time consuming job. Comparing her work to Charles' is not comparing apples & apples. If she did nothing else but raise her 3 kids to be good members of society and leaders in the royal family, then she will have accomplished an immense task. We are lucky she gives anything to the public right now with all the immense family changes they have had in past few months. A parent's job of maintaining emotional support during times of moving and grieving death is a huge undertaking. Bravo, Kate, for helping your family ride through this difficult time! May 2023 be a time of peace for your family!ReplyDelete
To be honest, people have been talking about her numbers from the start. The whole polarised drama between the RF and the Sussexes has led to a momentum where suddenly Kate was hyped as the perfect royal that never put a foot wrong. If you were part of the scene before, you remember that the reality was rather different. We are just getting back to a pre-Drama state.Delete
I think Catherine is doing a wonderful job. AliReplyDelete
Isabella, no offense but that is not good reasoning. Kate does what most women do with her help or resources. She did 90 engagements (phone calls) included. She could and should do more. Being a mother is a huge job, but Kate has more help than most and the making excuses while a simple Instagram post or a good speech could have so much impact. Things like Instagram posts, especially that isn't events-related, can be done in batches and than schedule to post. It would take her two hours work a week, less since she has team.ReplyDelete
As to the changes they've, like I said many people have and still faced worst. She is grieving, right but the post above doesn't even ask that she work more, just that she use her engagement to have a stronger impact. Right now she is not delivering in quality or quantity. She doesn't deserve the praise she get, because what she does is the bare minimum.
The "being a mother" excuse feels very indulgent, because she could've married a none royal man and ben a stay-at-home mom. She married the man and the role - the least she can do is fulfill to the best of her resources.
I totally agree 90 engagements in a year is pitiful . As mentioned she has so much help and let’s face it William does a very small amount of engagements too . She knew when she married William what her role would be and has had plenty of time to prepare .Delete
She has achieved very little apart from obtaining 4 luxurious homes . She needs to detail what her objectives and targets are with measurable results. When did she last visit EACH ?
I am always amazed at the very thoughtful and articulate comments made by those following this blog. Whether or not I agree with all the comments or positions, I find each contribution insightful and helps me to see all perspectives. While I still fall on the side of strongly supporting what Kate is doing and how she is doing it, I feel that all of the dialogue accompanied by Charlotte's wonderful research and writing helps me to have a balanced view. Even when I can 'feel' the tone of some of the commenters, this is a very civil repartee and I completely respect the difference and the very intelligent exchange of ideas. Thank you Charlotte for providing this forum - ever appreciative!ReplyDelete
I have to say, it’s very refreshing to see a balanced and not heated argument. The constant “criticism equals hate”, shutting down opposing voices and hyper polarised vibe was getting to me.ReplyDelete
It seems we are finding back to a more mature mindset.
You can absolutely be extremely disappointed in Kate‘s output, while being genuinely supportive.
I think she has nailed many aspects of finding and making her place in the BRF and her future. But her work output is not it. My personal opinion- she needs to work more ASAP (honestly, she and Wiliam need to double down in their efforts. Early Years and Earthshot are severely lacking and I say this as a fan). She absolutely could work more, especially now that her children are out of the house till the afternoon. But even if she won’t - her team could sell what she does so much better. Someone mentioned Social Media posts. Let’s face it, it’s not her writing them, like her letters and speeches she has staff for this. She reads it and gives it back with thoughts/notice for changes but the drafts are made for her. So why not having one letter to each patronages/charity she has under her belt. Recognising big milestones/anniversaries. Why not release a post every week that showcases another cause/charity. Most of this can be prepared in two weeks and would play out over the whole year, looking busy even though, she is not. I don’t have a problem with the fact they have staff for this. But I am baffled why they don’t use this effectively.
For Early Years: What Kate has to do is either showing she has the knowledge- we heard good examples above, or find a different approach. Because right now it’s all talk. Show don’t tell- because I have stopped to believe she actually is as knowledgeable or invested as they claim she is.