The Princess of Wales visited Foxcubs Nursery in Luton today as part of her early years efforts.
When William and Kate became Prince and Princess of Wales, there was an anticipation from many, myself included, we would see a marked increase in their work and an expansion of causes. Thus far, we've very much seen a continuation of their schedules as Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the exception of William's private Duchy of Cornwall commitments. I've been thinking of firsts for Kate as Princess of Wales -- we've yet to see her first speech in her new role. I do expect that milestone is very much imminent though, and before "the end of the month" the Mirror reports Kate will launch "a revolutionary three- to five-year programme". I expect the news will be officially released with coinciding engagements at some point next week.
When the Princess arrived today, she commented, "It's such a beautiful day, a lovely cold, crisp morning."
‘It’s such a beautiful day!’ The Princess of Wales is in Luton today visiting Foxclubs nursery as part of her interest in children’s ‘early years’ development #royal #princessofwales pic.twitter.com/Emec6EszCE— Kate Mansey (@KateMansey) January 18, 2023
Kensington Palace said: "The Princess of Wales has long been an advocate for the importance of early childhood to lifelong outcomes and founded The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in 2021, which works to raise awareness of and promote collaborative action on early childhood to transform society for generations to come."
Foxcubs is an Early Years Alliance childcare service. The Alliance offers flexible, affordable and quality childcare across England. Rated "outstanding" by Ofsted (the Government's Office for Standards in Education) their work follows the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) with a focus on learning through play and increased participation from parents in the nursery.
I briefly read testimonials from parents and in doing so, it's easy to see the positive impact the Early Years Alliance approach has. “Today was a very special day for all mothers in the nursery because we got to spend time with our kids to celebrate Mother’s Day. My son made a beautiful flower pot for me and the poem was very touching. I thank all the staff and the nursery management for organising this day. Felt very special thank you," one mum remarked. Another parent noted: "Wonderful, friendly staff."
Of course, Kate was eager to join in activities with the children.
The Princess of Wales is at Foxcubs Nursery, in Luton, this morning.— Matt Wilkinson (@MattSunRoyal) January 18, 2023
The visit is part of Kate’s ongoing Early Years project. pic.twitter.com/5BLfWlgvis
There were plenty of fun moments.
Learning through play at Foxcubs Nursery!— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) January 18, 2023
Outstanding early years settings like this play a huge role in positively shaping a child’s development. The collaboration between staff and parents is just one of the ways children here are supported in their first five years. pic.twitter.com/DMC3OSZ8UO
'She first sat down at a tiny table where three and four-year-olds were making face masks and she helped a young boy complete his project and when he held it up to his face said “I think it’s very good – good job.”
Helping a Foxcubs staff member called an educator who sat at the table, she stuck a thin handle to a little girl’s mask and asked “can you look through it?” then waved as the youngster held it up to her face.'
A darling photo.
Kate trying on a mask.
And having great fun doing so.
During her visit, Kate had the opportunity to meet educators and discuss the value of early years settings and the role they plan in a child's development.
The Princess joined a discussion with parents about the support offered by the nursery and their roles as parents.
The Evening Standard reports Kate spoke about the educators: "They’re sort of nurturing for a long time at a school environment – but having that relationship with parents, being able to help you at home and pass on the baton to you, so when the child gets home actually the child feels like there is a holistic service."
The Telegraph notes: "As she left, she said it was a "lovely" nursery and that the children "seemed really happy". She posed for selfies with parents and told them: "They looked after me very well. It was good fun."
Kate selected familiar pieces for a stylish look comprising camel, orange and brown tones.
Kate received lovely flowers before leaving.
The Princess sported her trusty Massimo Dutti camel coat. It's become a staple in her wardrobe, owing to its timeless cut and versatility. The sold out piece features "a slim fit, peak lapels, double-breasted button fastening, two flap pockets, long sleeves with four-button cuffs, a back vent and lining".
Below, Kate wearing it for engagements in Lancashire last January.
It very much appears Kate repeated the Gabriela Hearst separates look she debuted in Boston. The Peppe turtleneck sweater from Gabriela Hearst is made from cashmere blended with silk – a natural, luxurious alternative to synthetic stretch fibers." It is available at My Theresa. Below, we also see the matching Epper Ribbed-Knit Midi Skirt.
Kate accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Citrine drops.
Kate completed the look with her custom Gianvito Rossi suede boots and Kate carried her Stuart Weitzman Muse clutch.
I'm looking forward to hearing details about Kate's new project.
Lovely to see Kate in her element here. Liked the colour block look of orange, camel and brown too.ReplyDelete
Another appearance in what is becoming the Princess's autumn/winter uniform -- a nice coat with a midi-length dress, often a sweaterdress, or matching separates. The coat is a classic design and pairs well with the Hearst outfit. That orange shade is difficult to wear, best on medium-complexioned brunettes like the Princess, or on women with dark skin and hair, like the model. I find that it washes out fair-skinned blondes like me. We sort of disappear, or else the color seems to be wearing US rather than vice-versa.ReplyDelete
I've never cared for those earrings, but all in all, this is a nice look. If only the Princess would cut her hair! From the back, all the curls look so long and messy. I'm really dying for a shorter, more polished style.
I love children that age. They're so enthusiastic and brimming with possibilities. It's a pleasure to interact with them.
Our beautiful, intelligent, kind & compassionate Princess of Wales; such an asset to crown & country!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for the background info on what the UK is doing re Early Years. I am a substitute/supply teacher here and I can so easily tell in the primary grades which students have had some form of pre-school. Even in the third grade, by which time children have had kindergarten and grades 1 and 2, some students are still struggling with social skills, simple language and math skills. And unfortunately with the dearth of teachers and parents who lack the skills/time to help their children at home, these children are increasingly left behind. I am so looking forward to hearing what the Princess is unveiling for early childhood because anything that can give hope and help for children as they grow is absolutely critical.ReplyDelete
The problem, at least in the US, has very long been the care of young children. Innovative and affordable care is rare -- people who work at care facilities are often paid very low rates, and many parents struggle to pay even minimal amounts for care. Children also need food and housing security -- the real problem is HOW to assist as many children/families as possible, not necessarily figuring out what they need.ReplyDelete
I absolutely love her long hair and think it would be so unique to grow it even longer, it’s gorgeous.Delete
Kate is so at ease with children, she truly understands them. I like her approach, she had a very happy childhood, she wants every child to have the same.ReplyDelete
It is time to launch a new project. She does all of these visits, but I would like to know what is actually being done? She is having small conversation with teachers and parents, but what is the point of these conversations? We all know the early years are crucial. But what is the point of these visits that have been going on for years. This is not an attack, it is just me personally wanting to know :)ReplyDelete
One of the main jobs of modern royalty is public relations for worthy causes -- drawing attention to them. PR is what these visits are all about. The royals are drawing the attention of the public to projects and programs in which various other people are engaged. Sometimes, they do undertake initiatives of their own -- both the Prince and Princess of Wales have done that -- but largely they become patrons or honorary presidents of this or that charity or socially beneficial project and make visits to it in order to give it valuable publicity. This can attract donations and have other desirable results.Delete
Since the Princess is particularly interested in early childhood development, visiting a nursery school like this and publicizing its early childhood benefits is an engagement right up her alley. It is also likely to give her ideas for any projects of her own that she might be intending to undertake, though it's not necessary for a royal to be involved in such a project in order to make visits like this. This sort of thing is simply what royals do. It's their job.
Thanks for your comment and explaining to some people who may not understand the job the Royals do. The job of a patron is publicity and support. I also don’t think they need to spend every day running around the UK or Commonwealth attending 1000’s of charities as it will diminish the importance of what they are doing. Choosing core projects and expanding on these projects will have more impact. These are long term initiatives. Also like to add that they are not responsible for funding or making changes to Government rebates. I would also like to add this is the British Royal Family and they are not responsible for what is happening in America.Delete
One super important element is to offer children food (that they will eat). Many children go to school hungry. In my little Texas town, packs are made for some children to have meals over the weekend or during holidays, because food at school was the only food they could count on.ReplyDelete
In addition, Head Start is available (although it should be more widespread). This is what Head Start says about their program:
"Since 1965, Head Start programs have reached 40 million children and their families. Children who enrolled in Head Start programs are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college, have improved social, emotional, and behavioral development, and are better prepared to be parents themselves than similar children who did not attend the program. Children enrolled in Early Head Start programs have significantly fewer child welfare encounters related to sexual or physical abuse between the ages of 5 and 9 than those who don’t attend.
Research consistently shows a broad pattern of impacts for children at the end of their Head Start enrollment. While these benefits may appear to diminish in the early grades, economic benefits emerge as children become adults. The Head Start program’s two-generation design — coupled with research-based, high-quality comprehensive services — has the power to change the trajectory for children’s outcomes."
These goals sound like universal goals. Just need funds to do it all.
I too was hoping that once the new year was here the Prince and Princess of Wales would begin having more than 1 or 2 engagements per week. I know it is early in the year but I agree seems like it is the same old same old with them. I was excited about them having a royal tour ahead of the coronation but sounds like that is not in the plans either.ReplyDelete
Me too Amy. And I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed. Maybe I'm wrong and they are working very hard "behind the scene", but I would expect to see them more often.Delete
Since Meghan and Harry stepped away from their royal roles, since the Queen’s death and since reading Harry’s book SPARE, I have found my interest in the British royal family to have diminished greatly. For that reason, although I will continue to check in regularly with Mad About Meghan, I doubt that I will be following Chronicling Kate with any regularity. Charlotte, I admire your work and hope you will continue to blog about Kate for her many fans.ReplyDelete
Thank you for reading and for your kind words. I am saddened to say goodbye to readers on both blogs and I'm working on a new blog which will be live by the end of January. Please check back if you can.Delete
Hi Charlotte, are you going to stop your work on this blog? S😄Delete
I will check back for information on the new blog.Delete
I can't wait to see what you're working on ! :)Delete
Does that mean that you will close the blogs about Kate and Meghan ? Or will you still continue publishing on them ? Thank you in advance for your answer.
Hello Anna, I have no plans to close any blogs. I feel where we are in this moment in royal watching an 'extra' space will be very welcome. Thank you for reaching out :)Delete
S, CK isn't going anywhere. This will be a historic year and one I'm excited to cover )Delete
Thanks Charlotte. That's great news. You won't be saying goodbye to me as a follower here. S.😄Delete
That’s good to hear. I’m excited to see what Kate’s plans are.Delete
I understand the wish to see an expansion of Kate’s causes now that she is Princess of Wales; however, I think it’s good that they both take the time to really evaluate causes and what will fit with their lives. We have to remember that becoming POW happened suddenly with the death of the Queen and happened at a time when the Cambridges were settling into a new life…new home, new school for the children etc. While I’m sure thought had gone into their future roles, the transition actually happened at not a very opportune time and I’ve always felt bad for Kate in that regard.ReplyDelete
Today’s visit shows that when Kate is passionate about a cause, she does so well and is totally engaging. I can’t wait to see what future causes she is passionate about.
I understand they were quickly thrown into POW roles but they have known for many years it was coming . They were lucky to have many years to prepare. I feel they need to broaden the scope of their patronages . Animal rescue is on its knees so many people surrendering animals they can no longer afford . Many people are struggling to heat their homes and feed their children . These are thinks they should be supporting instead of another visit to a school or nursery . The children are back at school for a few weeks before another holiday so they should be upping their workload.Delete
I totally agree with your comment. Kate seems to focus a lot on the same charities and it seems every month or two they disappear for their children's time off from school. That would be fine if we saw them both on more engagements when the children were in school but that is not the case. The rest of the working royals seem to be out and about a lot more than the Wales.Delete
Seems like it would be good form for each to have 4 or 5 visits a week. Kate's could be relatively close -- I'm thinking an hour to get ready, 2 hours transportation, and 1.5 hours for a visit. It could fit in between 10 am and 3 pm each day, maybe sub some zooms to make a longer weekend. Or they could separately squeeze 2 or 3 into a long day. Shorter visits so there is some PR at least.Delete
Maybe they will do so.
My husband was very involved in helping organise visits by our Royal family to New Zealand and the way William and Kate now fulfill their Royal role is a big change from the traditional way of the Queen and most other older Royal family members. Our late Queen had hundreds of patronages and each year visited dozens of them to shake hands of board members, unveil plaques commemorating the visit and now and then make a short speech written by one of her staff. She definitely didn't sit down to talk seriously about the problems to the staff and didn't engage very much with those being helped. The atmosphere was much more deferential and she would always be wearing a hat and gloves. Those being introduced would be told how to greet her and instructed to curtsey or bow. Although the requirements relaxed slightly in recent years she never hugged anyone. Princess Anne has followed in her footsteps in this regard. The publicity the organisations got was helpful but they had to share it with hundreds of other organisations also doing worthwhile charitable work. In Kate's case we know that she has carefully chosen several areas of concern to explore in depth. Concentrating on fewer charities has enabled William and Kate to get involved at a much deeper level and give them more publicity. Incidentally Diana in her last years also drastically pruned her patronages and chose areas she felt needed more help eg organisations helping Aid's sufferers and those mutilated by landmines.Delete
Amy, It is not necessarily wrong that Kate focuses on similar charities. That is where her interests and passions are and where she wants to see action. Perhaps she feels she can do more good, by not spreading things too thinly. The UK has 168,000+ registered charities, so of course, the Royals patronages are only the tip of the iceberg. You seem resentful that Kate is not out every day doing engagements. Just because she is not at an event, does not mean that she is sitting at home watching TV and eating bon-bons. Every visits takes advance research to learn about the charity and on occasion a speech has to be prepared. Also, all these projects have to be documented and evaluated. So Kate could well be working behind the scenes where her work is not public knowledge. It is wonderful that William and Kate plan their time so as to be available to their children during school holidays. Raising well adjusted and productive children is an invaluable role.Delete
Animal rescue is supported by the queen consort. Focusing on the early years is also a way to fighten poverty. Also Kate's work on addiction, another issue at the root of many others. As for inflation and energy crisis, there is little she can do. When she dared to say more food banks were needed, she was hugely criticised.Delete
As much as it can be frustrating for people behind some other , very important, causes, I think it is rather good that Kate sticks to her guns and moves within her field (keeps her charities and patronages connected and focused). As a longtime royal watcher, I never understood what was the point of the type of royal patronages which saw a single royal having thousands of "randomly" focused patronages. It is entirely in line with HMTKs plan to streamline tho monarchy that Kate has a more specific area of unterest and support. For me personally, it just makes sense to focus and put one's effort into a few causes near and dear to one's heart. It is more personal, genuine, meaningful and useful than coming to cut ribbons everyday but without some relatively in-depth knowledge and background. Actually brava to Kate for somehow paving the way for this targeted and focused approach. I even think it is better to be remembered (known) as "the one who really helped children" than "the one with the most patronages". (I still think Kate should increase her workload but I don't think she should neccessarily broaden her charity focus, maybe just lean into her current more. Impatiently waiting for the big announcement.)Delete
I agree Ella. Also I don't think Kate wants to be remembered or known. I think she just wants to help.Delete
Natacha, agreed. My comment was not supposed to imply that Kate's motivation is to be known or remembered at all. It was just my own train of thoughts, something that IMHO supports the theory of specifically focused charities. :-) EllaDelete
Kate's hair looks glorious here! This color (orange) looks so good on her with her coloring! I like this outfit better than the outfit last year in January because of the addition of a strong color. I work in a preschool and understand the importance of helping kids during these years. And, whoever mentioned it above is right about the pay. It is barely above minimum wage. Taking care of children, our future, is not thought very highly of in terms of wages.ReplyDelete
I am willing to believe that it takes time to build up the number of engagements but definitely thinkvthey should be up to speed by the end of the year. I like this outfit for this event.ReplyDelete
Oh, and I'm very pleased that it's all repeats.Delete
+1 on the repeats, ABCD. EllaDelete
I've been reading your very interesting comments on early years. The Early Years Alliance, which Kate spent time with today, laid out the very tough reality of the situation last year. This article captures the gist of the core issues.ReplyDelete
Thank you Charlotte for sharing this article, it is sadly enlightening. Kate's initiative goes beyond just showing up, this a very real issue that warrants attention and meaningful action. I don't think Kate always gets the credit or acknowledgement she deserves for bringing some depth to her role. In a thread up above, Anon 01:08 makes a very good point and sheds some light about how William and Kate's focus is at a deeper level and about making impactful and significant change over time, than what the royal family has historically done. Our children suffered drastically during Covid, and any alliance for the benefit of early years is critical and I am interested in seeing advancement in that area. Perhaps William saw the benefit of Princess Diana's focus on specific charities, or maybe not, but William and Kate are evolving their roles and that type of significant change doesn't take place overnight; to be effective there needs to be a strong foundation and basis, one I believe W&K are trying to build. Long before it was cool or popular to be eco-friendly or conservation forward, King Charles was already practicing and laying the groundwork for his initiative in that area, he was ahead in his thinking and now it is at the forefront of global initiatives. This is a historic year which much change already afoot, time will tell how it all plays out, but I believe the foundation being laid now and the manner in which it is being approached is how to make effective change towards building a future world for new generations. (I think I remember the Queen and Kate both referencing 'small steps'...) Charlotte, I appreciate your 'big picture' approach and the balanced narrative you present in your blogs, and I for one am here for it.Delete
Even people with well-paying jobs have trouble finding good daycare. People who barely make it remain in poverty because of a lack of any childcare, let alone care that benefits the child. In the long run, spending on children enriches a society.ReplyDelete
Catherine looked in her element with the children, lovely to see her affinity with them. She looks elegant in this orange outfit, the length of the skirt combined with the boots works well. Love the coat.ReplyDelete
She looks beautiful today. I love the orange with that coat. I think she wears the colour orange very well,it suits her. Great to see her back at work for this very important cause. In regard to bringing Royal attention to other charities, didn't she make it clear that this is something she would focus on and it would be a life time commitment. I would also think when they are not out in public, they are doing private engagements and working in their office. They have both said after becoming The Prince and Princess of Wales they would like to focus more on Wales. It's going to be a busy few months for all the family in the build up to the coronation. S. 😄ReplyDelete
In the beginning I noticed she always kept her coat on and finally someone explained she couldn’t take it off in public. So of course now all I see is that she is taking it off in public when inside which seems much more comfortable.ReplyDelete
So many interesting comments! I love this blog and love that it doesn't get into the gossip or family relations - just the fashion and the causes. As a child advocate in Philadelphia, PA, USA, I wish we had someone high profile like the Princess of Wales in America that is raising early childhood issues.ReplyDelete
On a fashion note, love the outfit, love that she takes her coat off these days and agree with comments either on this event or the other this week that I like her hair better shorter. Perhaps there's an upcoming event that requires a striking updo so she needs more hair to work with?
Keep up the excellent work Charlotte!
I am excited for the initiative but disappointed on the lack of stepping up from both Will and Kate since they are now the Prince and Princess of WalesReplyDelete
This outfit is fine. The color is a little out of place seasonally, but the outfit is better than what she had been doing for a while...the frumpy weird Victorian buttoned up style was not my favorite era, so this is a step in the right direction. With that said....Kate seems sartorially lost. I know, she's in her 40s, a mom of three, the POW, but her mid 30s style with cute skirts, dresses, coats was the best. I also agree with the hair length, it needs to be a bit past her shoulders, and darker...like her Prince Louis Pregnancy cut. It was absolutely lovely then.ReplyDelete
As for the engagement...I'm sorry but this seems hollow. Take a step back and look at these events and they are performative. I'm happy that they are bringing awareness to causes, but a truly deep connection to the cause isn't coming through. I think they should throw out their playbook and start again. Be true to themselves and it will come across better.
A solid outfit and nice to see repeats. Looking forward to seeing what their next step in Early Years will be. I was early childhood as an undergrad and have been an elementary school teacher for 27 years.thanks Charlotte! SueReplyDelete
What a great organization to highlight. Catherine looks fabulous. Really great outfit for the day. I liked the whole look.AliReplyDelete
I recall about a year ago there was an article saying that Kate intended to focus on raising the children for the next 15 years or so and was unlikely to markedly increase her workload. Granted, it was prior to the passing of QE, but her eventual passing would have been considered.ReplyDelete
I'm fine to watch Kate do what she does best - prioritize her home life but being as lovely and stylish as ever when we do see her. I'm certain she does tons of stuff behind the scenes anyhow :)
Another color that she looks beautiful in! I'm so envious. This does seem maybe a bit more autumnal but still - it's warm and cheerful, so that works for January too.ReplyDelete
hmm i love the princess of wakes focusing on her workReplyDelete
Kate often does things behind the scenes until she is ready to properly unveil them. I've been reading this blog for a decade now and I'm sure their are many, many examples of her doing this. The most immediate thing that comes to mind is her baby bank work during the height of the pandemic. We didn't know until she went to review the items being dropped off. I just wanted to throw that out there as I feel sometimes Kate gets accused of being lazy (with 3 kids! -nah just nah) when in reality she's just going about her day and isn't someone who needs to attention seek in this regard.ReplyDelete