Closing a week of events, video messages and the official launch of her new early years campaign, 'Shaping Us', Kensington Palace shared a short film of a conversation between the Princess of Wales and Capital FM presenter Roman Kemp. It was recorded last month in Hertfordshire, one of the Home Counties, located just a 45 minute drive from Windsor. You can see the seasonal foliage and gorgeous wintery countryside in the background.
The discussion spanned several important topics: early years, mental health, relationships and the importance of nurturing children so society can build a nation of thriving adults. Kate described meeting up as "really, really special", telling Roman, "It's great to see you again," and noting they have a "shared mission" through their work. The Princess kicked off the chat: "I know how passionate you are about mental health and you've gone on your own journey." Roman replied, "I kind of have got into this world in a way that no one really should do and I wish I wasn't associated with the word 'suicide'."
Roman Kemp is one of several well-known faces enlisted to support the awareness-raising campaign. There has been a core group of faces whose audience is very much made up of mothers (Giovanna Fletcher for example) and a specifically focused on younger people through the inclusion of Roman and Love Island's Zara McDermott. Now, if you're British, I suspect the Kemp name will ring familiar... Roman's dad Martin was a member of the 1980s band Spandau Ballet and later spent years acting in Eastenders. Just before the pandemic, Roman came to national attention during his stint on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! (An ITV reality show which sees a dozen famous faces decamp to a jungle experience in Australia. Mike Tindall (husband of Zara) participated in the most recent series.
After gaining a huge amount of media attention, Roman used the spotlight to open up about his mental health struggles and created a number of conversations specifically relating to men's mental health. After losing his best friend to suicide, he decided hiding one's challenges and not sharing with those close to us is not the best way to create an environment where someone in need can reach out. Roman spoke with great courage about the impact of the loss of his friend on Fearne Cotton's podcast Happy Place.
The 30-year-old presenter has said: "I’ve had a lot of troubles of my own. I’ve dealt with suicidal thoughts. I’ve been on anti-depressants for 15 years of my life." His journey led to a much-lauded book Are You Really OK?, which was released last October.
I came across one titbit which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face (and quite possibly a few blushes for Roman :)). At Her late Majesty's Platinum Jubilee Party last summer, Roman and other media figures were invited to a Buckingham Palace reception. Describing the evening as "really fantastic", he recalled speaking to Kate: "And as I was walking across the room, I kind of bumped in at this point and Princess Catherine was there, and all of a sudden, I've seen her and she's gone, 'Oh, hi. Roman, you look great.'" His immediate response... "Oh yeah, you look really fit." Roman was, in his own words, "mortified". Below, Roman sitting behind William at Monday's pre-launch event.
Kate first met Roman back in 2017 when she, William and Harry attended a Heads Together event at the Global Academy.
It took place just days before the Heads Together London Marathon. I do hope the fabulous Armani skirt suit Kate wore makes another appearance.
During their conversation Kate said: "This isn't just about raising kids. It's about shaping our futures and shaping not only the adults we become, but shaping our society, creating a happier, healthier, more nurturing world for us all to live in as well." Roman replied, "Wouldn't that be nice?" Kate added: "Yes, absolutely. That's the dream." On her belief, in the importance of early years, the Princess said: "For us, it’s from pregnancy to age five. It’s when our brain grows the fastest; it’s at its most malleable, so it’s really such a critical time to lay the foundations for their future adult selves. It’s like building a house and without strong foundations, without that solid start in life, then those building blocks are much harder to build later in life." On the campaign, Kate added: "What I’ve come away with is the importance of having healthy, strong relationships in a child’s life. Fundamentally, we are trying to raise the importance of early childhood and why it matters so much, for our future lives — it’s a fundamental part of who we are." Click here to view the full video.
'The princess, who was wearing a sheepskin coat, polo neck jumper and gloves, added: “Every family is different and the pressures we all face are different.
“Whilst raising the importance of early childhood, this isn’t about putting extra pressure on families, it’s actually saying they need the support and help re-prioritising family life... home life and all that it takes raising children today, because it is tough. It’s not about the number of toys they have, the number of trips you go on with them.
“It’s just making sure they have the right emotional support around them and that comes from the adults in their lives.”
Roman said: “I always say the best part of my life is my family and it has shaped who I am but it’s so difficult.
“You only have to look around at the country and see people are not just struggling with raising kids but putting a roof above their head, to be able to heat their house — so all those things can come into play.”
If you're following Shaping Us, Kate's Royal Foundation Centre for Early Years has an Instagram Page here.
I did a double take when I saw the first image last night... If you're a long-time Kate fan, you'll remember the L.K. Bennett Darwin Jacket was a staple piece in Kate's wardrobe a decade ago.
Whether it was walks near Kensington Palace, shopping trips or cheering on William at football near Sandringham shortly after they married, the Darwin was Kate's go-to piece for quite some time. Below, the Princess photographed at the Burlington Arcade in November 2012. The then Duchess of Cambridge was joined by her sister Pippa and beloved pet Lupo at the truly timeless shopping arcade in the heart of Mayfair.
At the time the £745 dark chocolate jacket was described: "The Darwin is a super sexy shearling jacket and one of the most beautiful pieces of the season. The full collar and cuffs with exposed shearling combined with a nipped waist makes this a must have."
Underneath, Kate wore her warming Holland Cooper Fair Isle Knit Jumper.
If in the market for a Fair Isle sweater, John Lewis has a selection of styles here (many of which are on sale) at present.
The sold out piece is described: "Designed with a longer length and super high roll neck, the Fairisle Knit's relaxed look and feel is perfect for pairing with jeans for an elevated everyday outfit. Created from an extra soft yarn with a traditional 'Fairisle' design, this knit is a timeless piece for your wardrobe." Below, Kate wearing it for CBeebies Storytime this time last year.
Kate teamed the look with black jeans, gloves and her Blundstone Chelsea Boots. The 'antique brown' style are available in several sizes at Zappos.
We'll see the Princess on Wednesday for a visit to Landau Forte College Derby with Captain Preet Chandi MBE to celebrate her return from a solo expedition across Antarctica. Kate became patron of Preet's expedition last year. It's possible we'll see an engagement beforehand, but if I'm not mistaken this is the first "pre-announced" visit in a while.
On a fashion note, I do not remember the red Armani at all but do remember the brown jacket. It would be nice for viewers for Kate to rewear clothes from many years ago, such as from her first Canada tour or that beautiful Paris outfit.ReplyDelete
Although I am usually a huge Kate fan, I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the number of engagements she did to promote this new campaign. I would have thought we would have seen more of her this week. I do like this outfit though!ReplyDelete
Ii like her so much! Her gentleness, the way she interacts and she doesn't monopolize the discussion.That is the epitome of culture and good breading for me.( sorry for my language mistakes.I am Greek and live in Greece).ReplyDelete
I have been very active on this blog lately, I have never commented so much in my life anywhere. I have been deeply shocked by the negative comments. Asking myself the reason, I have come to the conclusion that to me, this isn't about Kate. I truly wish her to succeed because her cause is so important. There needs to be an huge societal shift we can't go on like that. I hope people begin to understand that we adults have a responsibility towards children and that they matter. When I read this is the same old story or she onlyReplyDelete
does it to seem busy, it's like people don't see that the problem is real?
I agree with you Natacha, I have been dismayed and saddened with the depth of antagonism toward the Princess by people who have been long-time followers. As you say, what has changed? Catherine gives every appearance of being the same kind and caring person she was all those years ago when Charlotte first started this blog--always smiling, always engaged with the people she meets and someone who tries very hard to get the importance of those causes she is a patron of across. I can only think that it's the blog followers themselves who have changed; their needs, their interests, their opinions. And that's fine, God speed to them on their next ports of call :) (Said honestly and with all good wishes.) As someone once said to me when I was thinking of leaving an organization--if our cause doesn't suit you anymore that's fine but please be kind enough not to bad mouth it, if only for the sake of those of us who still enjoy it and who are your friends.Delete
Charlotte, thank you for the background on this young man. As someone who lives in the US and only knew Spandau Ballet in terms of listening to some of their music, I appreciate your filling us in on how he relates to the world with children and families that the Princess is doing. I've heard a rumor that there will be an event tomorrow (Saturday)--guess we'll wait and see :)
I wish her every success as well with her project. People are taking notice. The video has had over 131,000 view's on YouTube and the interview with Roman has nearly 300,000 likes on her Instagram. The interview was also covered on every UK news channel last night. S.🙂.Delete
I don’t see it as bad-mouthing anyone when they have had surveys done and experts called in and the only thing that came of it was not a step-by-step project but just another advert for awareness. And no, it’s not all on the shoulders of Princess.Delete
I am suffering awareness fatigue from the mess our world is in. If you want people to take a real interest , tell them steps to take. Anyone who has followed the Princess knows that early childhood is her life’s work. I wouldn’t care it was her sole focus.
In my opinion , when any group from charities to governments say they will launch something, after years of study, I want to see more info. I volunteer at least 30 hours a week to various causes in my community and really, our donors are results based or they take their time and money elsewhere. Donors in the US demand an impact within a few months time.
It’s honest to state I am disappointed with this campaign so far . It doesn’t mean I am upset at everything the Princess does. She is balancing her children with her very public role. As I have stated before on this blog, her role as a Mother comes first.
Thank you Natacha and Valerie for your comments and I completely agree with what you are saying, for I have noticed it too, and particularly Valerie for the last comment in the first paragraph, well said.Delete
@Valerie I don’t know if people really changed that much or if the criticism we see now is rather the end of a long build up. There have been voices for years that questioned their work approach. A lot of appeasement had been done and people were willing to cut them some slack for a long time. I guess the clock has just run out.Delete
On another note - I find it a bit patronising to wish people farewell because they express disappointment. If anything, a lot of the messes we see seem stem from being surrounded by too many yes men instead of some honest feedback. It’s more tough love because the criticism I read here in general wants to see her shine and succeed in her work.
Looking back at the red Armani ensemble- when she brought it out I thought it would be a classic staple. But I have to say it kind of screams 2000-2010. It’s still a beautiful piece and I am all for a repeat because only wearing things on trend is not just wasteful but screams of having no individual style.
In comparison- her outdoor/private style hasn’t changed at all over the years and always looks nice. I wish she would stop overhauling her work wardrobe every 5 years.
Valerie in Arizona - I agree and did comment on this last week but it was not published. There seems to be alot of negative critism on this page which is very sad to see. I know young mothers that are receiving more support from local charities and associations that have come from the work that she and others that she is working with. It is not her style to 'tweet' about her every donation made. Catherine has been heavily involved with children and mental welfare. The fact that more and more people are aware of the effects that a poor start to life and the knock on effects it can have. Through the work that the royal couple have been doing more than £20 million was raised and has been donated out. Alot of these charities that she is working with are benetiting from. Catherine has to walk a very thin line and not become political. She does an amazing job and she is in this to help those in need and not raise her own profile or looking for a pat on the back. I think she is doing an amazing in job and does so well in the light of the nasty critism she gets of 'is this it' or ' what else'.Delete
Dee has a request in an earlier post and it's something I have thought about and agree with. I think it would be very nice to include a name in your posts. It can be a false name (!) but I think it makes a difference in a community where the goal is to put forth your honest thoughts, not take anonymous potshots. I think all the negative comments about this campaign are based on frustration with the current situation or true concern about children or both. There's no reason to feel like you can't share an honest opinion. We run the gamut with opinions on her hair, her skirt lengths, her jewelry (I do not care for tiaras or crown jewelry so I often don't say good things about those!).ReplyDelete
We have to accept that opinions run from expecting her to simply be a wife/mother with a few state appearances (and that is a valid role) to expecting her to be out all week long making a difference (also valid). I don't think anyone should be afraid of identifying themselves.
I have been a faithful reader from the beginning but never commented until now. My appreciation of any comments would be enhanced by knowing what country you are living in rather than your (made up or not) name . For instance I am born in New Zealand ( a Commonwealth nation) and have lived in London England, Australia and other places and have been a resident of Virginia USA since 2000. Where you live does make a difference because of the media you have been exposed to and your subsequent understanding of the day to day life in the UK versus where you live. Thanks so much to Charlotte for her great patience and knowledge in gifting us this blog for so many years.Delete
Hi Dorry, you make a wonderful point - and I agree wholeheartedly. I often wonder where people are from, as it very definitely adds context to people’s views & opinions. For me, I would just love to be able to answer someone politely by their name or moniker. Like you, I have lived in 2 countries - I’m a born & bred South Australia, have lived in California and travelled the UK extensively. Our country of residence absolutely is relevant when commenting - as we are skewed & impacted by the various news reports that come into our feeds, that shape our views on a variety of topics. It’s a wonderful suggestion. For me, I always try to make my comments respectful & uplifting - and if I have a strong negative view, I won’t comment (or rarely). Life is too short to be a glass half empty person. I’d rather make lemonade out of lemons & see the best in people. I love your idea. If you don’t want to leave your name, I completely understand. But a sign off with … “P - Sacramento USA or Charli-girl from Spain” gives this wonderful commentary family a little context from where your thoughts are coming from. Sending love from Australia, Dee 😘Delete
I hope you are keeping well Dee. I always sign off with S.🙂. Nd have mentioned a few times I'm in Ireland. When I commented on anything here I see all UK media and newspaper's. Dorry, I have lived in Ireland all my life. I regularly watch American news, world news, middle East and of course European news. My thoughts on all the negative coming towards this, Unfortunately it's our New Normal. S.🙂.Delete
This is so very true, Dorry and Dee. I have always added "from Prague" to my name because I've felt that I can "introduce" myself a little bit in this way, to provide some context or background. E. g. with the ongoing war in Ukraine, it makes sense that while people are upset by it everywhere, those of us who live in Central Europe may feel its reality in a slightly more pressing way - simply because it's happening "round the corner". Also, it has always given me great pleasure to "meet" readers/commenters from various places in the world here - it feels like being a piece of a fascinating mosaic created by people who are different but who have one thing in common - we are fond of following Kate. 🥰 I've always enjoyed knowing that I have kindred spirits in the UK, Arizona, Florida, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. And I've been very grateful to Charlotte for making this possible. Zora from PragueDelete
@Dorrie ,funny enough- but I think somehow you can almost deduct where someone is from when you read the comments. The choice of words or grammar makes it really obvious in many cases.Delete
A fantastic week for The Princess of Wales. That jacket was a good choice looking at the frost on the grass. I'm glad that they touched on the cost of living crisis. It's going on all over the world because of the war. For some reason it's seems to be a lot worse in the UK. Roman is very popular, funny and well liked. His Mom Shirley is also very well known. She was one of the backing singers in Wham. The late great George Michael was Roman's Godfather. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next from The Princess of Wales. S.🙂.ReplyDelete
Thank you Charlotte for covering this important topic. I admire Kate for sticking to the important work she starts and sharing it with everyone. Good to see her carrying on.ReplyDelete
Love this sweater and jacket. Another great film. AliReplyDelete
The sweater seems to be a popular item. I almost purchased the cream Holland Cooper Kate is wearing, but gave it a second thought and it was too late (sold out). I purchased the same style in the grey and it is a pretty good second choice. It is lighter and prettier in person. On sale it was under $140. G.AllynDelete
Thanks G.Allyn. AliDelete
I really enjoyed watching the video. Wonderful that he’s using his platform to help others. Kate looks great and I always enjoy hearing her thoughts. Love the jacket and pretty much anything Holland Cooper. Thanks Charlotte! Sue :)ReplyDelete
Oh I absolutely loved seeing the video!! She is so warm and welcoming. I am not a mother yet, but all that I have seen in her work and the love and support I have received and encountered with my own family, she is absolutely right on having us provide a more nurturing and caring environment, that not only provides a solid foundation for the little ones. But will help shape them into the adults that will carry on the same traits to their children. And by then, hopefully, our world will be a more kinder and compassionate one. ♥️ReplyDelete
Isn’t Princess Kate so beautiful! 💗💗💗ReplyDelete
Lovely to watch her in action for a good cause.
Brings joy that warms my heart on this rainy day here.
Lovely post Charlotte 🙏🌸
I love Kate and her causes and have followed this blog from its early days. This campaign was quite hyped and I confess to being underwhelmed, though I understand and appreciate the arguments about why it must be the way it is and how it can bear fruit in the future. I certainly hope it will. I would love to see a parent crisis line, similar to our suicide prevention lines. I know that parents many times need nonjudgmental urgent advice during a crisis. Sometimes we go to our natural support groups of family and friends, but sometimes we can't, won't (embarrassment), or want more informed advice than they can give. Sadly, we can't just jump on the phone to a therapist or a similar child/family professional when confronted with something we don't know how to handle or that we want to make sure we handle in a positive way. There is no manual that can deal with very individual circumstances and people, hence a crisis line. This is just an example of something that could come out of Shaping Us that I think would be impactful.ReplyDelete
To follow up, now I see how woefully uninformed I am about crisis lines. There are quite a few parenting lines in the States run by various organizations. I've never seen them promoted, so I guess that's a great illustration of why awareness campaigns are so crucial. :-) Happy weekend, everyone!ReplyDelete
Sabrina, I was going to second your idea for a support line, because I think that’s a great, practical help. And probably somewhat(maybe) feasible to accomplish. After all, they did it with SHOUT. But then I saw your second comment and am in the US and also had no idea we had support lines. Granted, I don’t have kids, but everyone else in my life does and I have never heard anyone mention this. Good to know!Delete
I think there is a difference between negativity and valid critiquing. To me, negativity would be “this campaign is stupid and Kate is wasting everyone’s time.” But that is not what I am hearing, and definitely not on this blog. I do hear a lot of “this is important and good but what is the actual goal?” To me, that is valid. After all, in a professional environment, if we have a really great idea, we do have to present it with goals and steps and measurable action items.Delete
Kate has been involved in “awareness campaigns” before - think 5/6 years ago with mental health awareness. They did a lot of talking and awareness but also had some very tangible outcomes. I think people would just like to see some of that periodically. Obviously this is a long term process, but even if they had highlighted some previous achievements (ie, fundraising supplies for Baby Basic boxes and the Mentally Healthy Schools website), I think would have been very helpful. Plus, those projects were done several years apart, which would help highlight that this is a long term initiative of Kate’s.
Katie C.H. There is a difference but for some of us what we expect from Catherine in her position for this type of work is what we are seeing. The truth is for the Royals, and almost all well know individuals, they can be mouthpieces and help to drive funds and awareness about organizations and also raise the level of knowledge about an area. She is doing that and much of the same message will be repeated for the next 50 years.Delete
the fashion is given but i love the podcast the importance of being present parent is be with child toys and material things don't matter kids we as parents should guide them better life forming the adfolk life as mother i feel the what princess of wales sayingReplyDelete
Have the fur cuffs been removed??ReplyDelete
This jacket has not fur cuffs. In the picture of the item, the sleeves are "rolled up" once. Kate is wearing the sleeves as they are. I hope this makes sense ;-)Delete
The video conversation with Rowan was fantastic. So much better than a traditional speech to impart information. The detail and depth that Catherine went into was great. Particularly appreciated her comment that they don't take the fatalistic point of view and children with trauma in early childhood can grow into mentally well adults with support and intervention. Catherine often referred to a 'they' rather than 'I' so she is obviously aware of, and gives credit to, the experts around her.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed that each of them questioned the other and gave each other the space to answer. Wonderful format.
And that Armani suit! Catherine, if you're reading this, PLEASE bring it back for another outing!
Catherine is getting really good at this. She was comfortable and natural when she was chatting with Roman. She has grown so nicely into her role as Princess of Wales - a wonderful representative for the Royal Family.ReplyDelete
After reading the comments lately and being a long-time follower I thought I would add my two cents, for what they’re worth. I graduated law school and became a lawyer in DC, and what I saw around me on a day-to-day basis turned my stomach. The greed was overwhelming and hard to watch and it was at the expense of the average American. Then, my mom became sick and fought cancer for two years. In those two years she gave me mom advice that she knew she would not be able to give me later. She really pressed home the importance of doing a job you loved and that made a difference in the world. She herself had worked for a greedy corporation and realized too late what a toll it had taken. After she passed I gave up the law and became a teacher. I have been doing it for the past eight years and it was the worst decision I have ever made. I have loved most of my students but I have been stabbed, stalked, bullied, had my life threatened, subjected to verbal abuse the likes of which I had never known before, and made to feel guilty and weak for asking for help from those in charge. In the US our education system is in shambles (and from my understanding the same goes for the UK too) but part of that reason is the parents themselves. Yes our politicians and states own some of that blame but a good deal has to be laid at the feet of the parents. A lot just don’t want to parent. I think Kate’s campaign is excellent but I think as American’s we’re just not sure if it will do any good. I’m not sure what will. I’m on my way out of teaching but I can tell you kids come to us at the age of 5 and they are not potty trained, have never been read to, can’t feed themselves, and some don’t even know their own names! This is an important topic but is it enough? I think she’s doing all she can in the confines of her role.ReplyDelete
You are very smart to care about your safety. Good for you to recognize you are in a serious situation. I had concerns in my profession and paid a big price. Best of luck to you. G.AllynDelete
I've been reading everyone's comments, from the last few of Charlotte's posts.... regarding the level of disappointment. It's my opinion that you all have stumbled on a truth, having to do with the roles & hierarchy of the Royal Family (addressed in a certain recently published book).ReplyDelete
I don't think Kate is just limited by the apolitical nature of her role, but for her & William.... I think they are severely hampered by what they are "allowed" to do. It was referenced in the book & I think we have seen years/decades of this playing out, all the way back to Diana (for better or for worse). One is only allowed to do, or have the impact, that the more senior Royal lets you have! As in, not outshining the more Senior Royals, with productivity & popularity!
We saw this all too clearly with Meagan expecting "to hit the ground running", based on her American sensibilities & expectations of productivity. Imagine how hard it must be for Will & Kate to still be made to "hold back", so that Charles & Camilla can establish themselves in their roles & popularity, (understandably) during this Coronation Year!!
What was shared as difficult for Will & Kate, was untenable for M&H (despite all the additional press issues etc). Imagine having your wings clipped at every turn!?
Until Will & Kate begin their reign..... I don't think we can be sure we are seeing the fullness of their work ethic, ideas, goals & intended results. Until then, they will always be limited by what they can do, because they are not to tread into the political..... but I think they would love nothing more than to be able to cut loose & really deliver the best results they can. It's my opinion that's what drove H&M away (despite all the rest) is something that's a very real challenge for W&K. Imagine how frustrating it would have been for H&M, especially Meagan, to be expected to sit on her hands, in order to let those "ahead" of them shine!?...... Just my 2 cents.
Becca in US put my thoughts into words so well. In addition, Kate had years to realize the reality of being with William. Meghan had years of coming up with ideas on her own, which seemed to kinda explode into ventures such as the cookbook, clothes for women returning to the workforce, editing the magazine edition. I agree that "the" book makes this much clearer, and I like the clarity. I read that Kate has hired a new person who will shake things up a bit, and that should be interesting.Delete
Lisa from USA— thank you for sharing your experiences. I think a lot of people who do spend time with/teach their children have a hard time understanding or accepting that some other children are mostly ignored and have huge social, hygiene educational deficiencies. There is a looming crisis. Catherine has gathered experts, learned and continues to learn from them and successful programs like in Leeds. She is giving this issue attention and publicity. Her funding one program would not have the same longterm effect as this longterm campaign.ReplyDelete
Our exquisite Princess of Wales - refined, eloquent, and humble; a true asset to crown & country!ReplyDelete