Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The Duchess Convenes a Symposium on Early Intervention in Mint Green Jenny Packham!

Continuing her series of engagements focused on early years, the Duchess of Cambridge convened a symposium on the importance of early intervention to provide solid social and emotional platforms for children.

The Royal Foundation organised the symposium on Kate's behalf, inviting leading academics and charities that are championing the importance of early intervention to make children healthier and more resilient later in life, thus avoid serious problems which often emerge only in adolescence or in adult years.

The event was held at the Royal Society of Medicine.

Kensington Palace said: "Stemming originally from her interests in issues such as addiction and the effects of family breakdown, and her visits to charities and support organisations, Her Royal Highness has been struck time and time again by how so many of society's greatest social and health challenges often stem from problems that start to manifest themselves in the earliest years of life." During the Royal Foundation Forum, Kate said she hoped to continue focusing on mental health and early years; two areas she feels passionately about.

The Duchess has been exploring these issues on an individual basis through a number of engagements and roundtables in recent months. The Palace added: "The symposium draws these strands together enabling the gathered experts to explore the potential for an integrated strategy on early intervention."

The symposium, hosted by the Royal Foundation and chaired by President of the Royal Society for Medicine and Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King's College London, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, brought together academics, researchers, practitioners, educators and charities to explore issues such as perinatal, maternal and infant mental health; parenting support and advice; and resources for schools and educators.

More from the Mail Online:

'Professor Sir Simon Wessely thanked the Duchess for the work she and Prince William and Prince Harry had done on mental health. It had, he said, been 'fantastic in all sorts of ways, and in particular in engaging with ordinary people, with friends, families, relatives and indeed non-professionals for the work they can do, which is probably more important than the work any of us do… in improving the mental health and resilience of our nation.'

Experts discussing early intervention.

Professor Neil Humphrey spoke about Mentally Healthy Schools. He said "50% of lifetime mental health issues begin before the age of 14 and that children from deprived areas are 4.5 times more likely to develop a mental health issue".

Kate launched Mentally Healthy Schools in January during a visit to Roe Green school. 'Mentally Healthy Schools' is a free and easy to use website for schools, drawing together reliable and practical resources to improve awareness, knowledge and confidence in promoting and supporting pupils’ mental health. The website is now live and can be viewed here.

During a speech, Kate set out her ambition to support efforts to give every child the best possible start in life.

The full text:

'As I look around the room, I see friends from many different sectors: friends who have shared with me their knowledge, and who have answered my questions patiently whilst I’ve interrogated them in my endeavour to learn about this complex range of issues.
Academic colleagues who have shown me their ground-breaking research into the causes of perinatal and post-natal depression, and how they are addressing these in the clinic; Those who I have visited over the years who provide crucial links within the community, and whose services help families with essential parenting support and guidance; and other wonderful organisations which have done so much to improve support for the emotional wellbeing of children in schools.
I could name so many of you, but I'm utterly grateful to you all for giving your time and wisdom so freely. We all know how important childhood is; and how the early years shape us for life. We also know how negative the downstream impact can be, if problems emerging at the youngest age are overlooked, or ignored. It is therefore vital that we nurture children through this critical, early period.
But as we've heard, at what stage in a child’s development could we, or should we, intervene, to break the inter-generational cycle of disadvantage? The more I have heard, the more I am convinced that the answer has to be: 'early' and ' 'the earlier, the better'. In fact, it would seem that we cannot intervene early enough.
We do need mental health support in primary schools before the biological changes and academic pressures of adolescence kick in. We also need a focus on parenting and family support, so that parents feel able to get their children ‘school ready’, and are confident that they themselves can cope with the mental and emotional needs of their own children.
We need to highlight how important it is to support mothers too, potentially before they even give birth. They need to be aware how vulnerable they might be and, critically, know where they can find help for themselves, as well as for their babies and toddlers.
But potentially we could start to look even earlier, by teaching parenting and relationship skills to teenagers, to get the next generation of parents child-ready, well before they have to put these skills into practice. After listening to those working in this complex area, my own view is that children’s experiences in their early years are fundamental. They lay the foundations not only for healthy outcomes during the teenage years, but also for adulthood.
Addressing the issues only when they take root, later in life, results in huge detriment; detriment to the healthcare, education and social support systems in our country; but, perhaps more importantly, detriment to future generations over the long term.
In 2011, Graham Allen, who is with is here today, wrote a report for Government on the need for early intervention. I hope, Graham, you don’t mind me quoting from your report, in which you referred to the cycle of deprivation and dysfunction, from generation to generation. There, you said that, “If we intervene early enough, we can give children a vital social and emotional foundation, which will help to keep them happy, healthy and achieving throughout their lives and, above all, equip them to raise children of their own.”
 I could not agree more.
Because these are ‘lifetime’ issues, they require a very long term perspective. But the issues are also complex and multi-sided, so they need integrated, collective approaches to create real impact. This is what I am so keen to explore.
We are here today because we all believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life.
I have therefore entrusted the Royal Foundation, under the leadership of Aida Cable, to gather a group of experts to develop the thinking in this critical area: experts and partners to build upon existing work, and to look at developing sustainable solutions which will help deliver our shared ambitions.
Providing children in their earliest years with social and emotional security builds strong foundations which last a lifetime. I really do feel so passionately about the importance of early intervention, and that by working on new approaches together, we can make a real difference for generations to come.'

The Duchess's longer term aim is to create a partnership between experts and organisations in order to build strong collaboration, and to raise awareness of issues like perinatal, maternal and infant mental health, and the need for parenting support and advice, as well as resources for schools and educators. Kate is establishing a steering group to explore how best to support academics, practitioners and charities in their work to provide all children with the best possible start in life.The steering group will work in the months ahead and report back to the Duchess on options for long-term collaboration. The questions include

  • How can we highlight the importance of early intervention, as evidenced by academic research, for the benefit of all children, parents and schools?
  • What is the best model to encourage further collaboration between academics, charities and funders working in these areas?
  •  How can mind-sets be changed so that parents and caregivers prioritise their own mental health and that of their children as much as they do their physical health? What is the role for awareness raising activities?
  • How can existing initiatives be scaled to provide long-term and multi-generational support to children, their parents and educators?

The steering group will report back to the Duchess later this year and it is expected that the Royal Foundation's strategy for collaborative action on these issues will be announced in late autumn 2018 / early 2019.

I thought the speech was very well-rounded, drawing on Kate's research in the area and outlining her hopes for the future. It's wonderful to hear news of the plan. Kate has been deeply interested and passionate about early intervention for years. Bringing the Royal Foundation into the mix to research collaborative opportunities is a terrific idea. I'm looking forward to hearing more later this year.

Kate looked radiant in a bespoke mint green Jenny Packham coatdress with bow detail at the collar and a matching dress. It's a great look for Spring!

A closer look at the details of the coatdress.

Kate wore her lower heeled praline Gianvito Rossi 85 pumps.

Kate carried her $275 Loeffler Randall 'Tab' clutch. The bag is handcrafted from lizard-effect leather in a soft blush hue. "Perfect for day or night, this design opens to a surprisingly spacious twill-lined interior complete with a zipped pocket for smaller items." It's available in several colours at ShopBop.

Loeffler Randall

Kate accessorised with her Kiki McDonough green amethyst and diamond cushion cut earrings.

Kiki McDonough

As several of you noted, Kate's hair was a darker shade of brown today.

We'll see you tomorrow when William and Kate undertake engagements celebrating the Commonwealth. They will meet athletes supported by SportsAid, some of whom aim to compete in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and help to prepare a Commonwealth Big Lunch at St Luke's Trust.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

UPDATED: Elegant Kate in Green Catherine Walker for St Patrick's Day!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the 1st Battalion Irish Guards for the St Patrick's Day Parade at Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow this morning.

St Patrick's Day is very much a favourite royal event among readers and always one which produces great photos.

Prince William is colonel of the regiment, which he was made in May 2011; it was his first honorary position in the army. Her Majesty the Queen is Colonel in Chief of the regiment. As you all remember, the Prince opted to wear the Irish Guards tunic for the royal wedding.

The Duchess was festive in green.

Three hundred and fifty soldiers marched onto the Parade Square at Cavalry Barracks.

They were accompanied by their mascot Domhnall.

Kate presented shamrock to officers and warrant officers, who in turn issued it along the ranks.

The Duchess chatted to officers.

The Duchess enjoys a laugh with the Commanding Officer Irish Guards Lt Col Jonathan Palmer.

Kate presented shamrock to mascot Domhnall.

Photos of Kate and Domhnall have become a staple over the years, and remain my favourite from the day!

A video from KP.

1st Battalion Irish Guards trooped its colour at the Queen’s Birthday Parade in June 2016 before returning to their primary role of light infantry. Exercises in Otterburn and Sennybridge followed in the autumn, in preparation for two overseas deployments.

In November, Number 1 Company travelled to the Falkland Islands for three months, conducting training and patrolling across the islands. Number 2 Company flew to Thailand for a month, where they took part in a jungle exercise with the Royal Thai Army – the first UK-Thai joint exercise for over 20 years.

In the New Year, the battalion returned to public duties, notably conducting the Changing of the Guard in the heavy snow of Storm Emma.

I remember seeing this photo during the worst of the 'Beast from the East'; Domhnall did his bit to keep the show going despite the weather.

The Duke and Duchess watching the parade.

A great shot of William and Kate.

The parade concluded with a march-past.

Prince William took the salute.

More on the tradition inaugurated by Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, in 1901 when a decree stated:

'Her Majesty the Queen is pleased to order that in future, upon St. Patrick's Day, all ranks of her Irish regiments shall wear, as a distinction, a sprig of shamrock in their head dress to commemorate the gallantry of her Irish soldiers during the recent battles in South Africa.'

The tradition has become synonymous with a number of royals since, most notably the Queen Mother, who had a long affiliation and love for the Irish Guards after attending the annual military parade for the first time in 1927. It wasn't until 1964 she started to present the Royal Shamrock to the Battalion, describing it as a "great pleasure which has enabled me to forge a link with the regiment I greatly cherish". The regiment supplied the pallbearers for her funeral in 2002.

In recent years the tradition has been continued by Kate.

Kate was given a lovely posy by two little girls.

The Duke and Duchess met members of the regiment before sitting for official officers' and sergeants’ mess photographs.

 There was snowfall throughout the morning which appears to have reemerged during the official photos.

The Irish Guards’ described the event as "a happy family day for all participants".

Afterwards they met soldiers and their families.

William and Kate chatting with officers.

Finally, the Duke and Duchess visited the Guardsmen's Lunch where the longest-serving guardsman in the battalion proposed a toast to the royals.

More from the Mail Online:

'The longest-serving guardsman of the battalion, Stephen Williams declared a toast to the Duke and Duchess for a second year in a row at the mess hall and thanked the Duchess for the shamrocks.
The 30-year-old revealed the Royal couple 'felt sorry' for him and his colleagues out in the elements.
He said: 'I thought it went well, I was very proud to do it on behalf on the battalion. They said they recognised me from last year which is a good thing. I've been here for 10 years so the most senior person does it every year. It's the first time we've had snow on the parade, usually it's a warm day - what was it, -3C outside? 'They said they felt the cold and felt sorry for us.'

A video from the toast.

A refresher of Kate's St Patrick's Day looks over the years.

The Duchess was perfectly attired for the occasion in the green Catherine Walker coat she debuted in Sweden in January. Kate looked effortlessly elegant at the parade; it's a beautifully crafted coat, which was likely designed with St Patrick's Day in mind.

The Duchess wore her Gina Foster Meribel hat. The milliner describes the hat as "a hard shell beret with a large bow".

Kate also sported the hat for St Patrick's Day in 2014.

Kate wore her black Tod's suede pumps.

Kate completed the look with her Kiki McDonough "Special Edition Green Tourmaline, Green Amethyst and Diamond Earrings". It is thought they were speically made to the celebrate the birth of Princess Charlotte.

Once again, the Duchess wore the Irish Guards gold shamrock brooch this year. The three-leaf brooch which has been worn by the Queen Mother and Princess Anne, belongs to the regiment and they determine to whom it be loaned. Kate also wore a sprig of shamrock on her lapel.

And a closer look at Kate's updo.

The Irish Guards sent their greetings for the day (with a little reference to the England v Ireland rugby match taking place this afternoon).

Kate was glowing at the event, it's always a fun one of the calendar. A very Happy St Patrick's Day to all celebrating!


Also today, we have news of several interesting engagements announced on Wednesday and Thursday. I thought Kate might wrap up appearances after today, but that is not the case. Emily Andrews recently reported Kate is due around 23rd of April; that date is beginning to make sense as time presses on. The events celebrating the Commonwealth will coincide with appearances leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next month.

21 March - The Duchess of Cambridge will convene a symposium on the importance of early intervention to provide solid social and emotional platforms for children in their early years, helping them to become healthier and more resilient later in life.
22 March - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake engagements celebrating the Commonwealth. They will meet athletes supported by SportsAid, some of whom aim to compete in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and help to prepare a Commonwealth Big Lunch at St Luke's Trust.

We'll see you on Wednesday!

Kate's Favourites