Between launching her highly-anticipated Hold Still photography book, hitting the courts with US Open champ Emma Raducanu, and walking the red carpet with the cast of the new James Bond film, we can hardly keep up with the Duchess of Cambridge since Zoom events were officially ousted in favour of IRL royal duties.
Today, the duchess embarked on yet another surprise royal visit – this time to raise awareness for a cause she’s long been passionate about.
Taking the next steps in her long-running early years development project, Kate visited University College London’s (UCL) Centre for Longitudinal Studies on Tuesday to meet the academics who launched “landmark” study, The Children of the 2020s.
Kate has made the first five years of childrens’ lives a key part of her public work over the past number of years, today saying of her ongoing passion for the topic, “Our early childhoods shape our adult lives and knowing more about what impacts this critical time is fundamental to understanding what we as a society can do to improve our future health and happiness.”
The study will track the holistic development of children from the age of nine months to five years old across England, examining the many factors that affect a child’s development and education – from their home environment, to the early years services they have access to.
Kate, who established her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in June, after a decade spent championing the wellbeing of early years aged children, said she was “committed to supporting” the study.
“The landmark Children of the 2020s study will illustrate the importance of the first five years and provide insights into the most critical aspects of early childhood, as well as the factors which support or hinder positive lifelong outcomes,” the duchess said prior to her arrival.
“I am committed to supporting greater in-depth research in this vital area and I’m delighted to be meeting all those behind the study at this early stage.”
Recycling a grey houndstooth dress from Zara for the event, the duchess viewed some of the historic research into early childhood dating back to the 1940s, and listened to a roundtable discussion on the issue.
And it would seem that the duchess asked all the right questions, as Alissa Goodman, Professor of Economics and Director of the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies, told reporters after the visit that Kate “asks the most pertinent questions. … It really shows that she is really interested in the subject because she is extremely knowledgeable. It’s like speaking to a colleague really.”
UCL’s research is the latest in a long line of birth cohort studies here in the UK, and will begin recruiting up to 8,000 families in January 2022 for babies born in April, May and June 2021, according to the duchess’s office at Kensington Palace.
Tell all your friends with babies, stat!