The Princess of Wales took to the stage at London’s Design Museum to deliver a passionate keynote speech at the Shaping Us National Symposium on Wednesday. “People often ask me why I focus my time on early childhood. The answer is because I care deeply about making a positive difference in helping the most vulnerable and supporting those who are most in need,” Catherine, who dressed in a purple Emilia Wickstead pantsuit, began her remarks. “This is not just about the youngest children in our society, who are, by their very nature, vulnerable. It is also about the many young people and adults who are suffering.”
The royal mom of three shared that she’s asked many individuals in prison rehabilitation programs, addiction recovery centers and individuals affected by homelessness “what would make the biggest difference in preventing similar pathways for future generations.” The Princess revealed that they often talk about providing safety, belonging and love in early childhood.
“There’s a disconnect. Somehow these deep-rooted needs aren’t always met by the societies we are creating, and the effects are evident all around us, with poor mental health, anxiety, depression, abuse and addiction all too common,” Catherine said. “It isn’t enough therefore to simply wish for a better world. We must acknowledge and address the root cause of some of today’s toughest social challenges and work together to find better answers.”
The Princess pointed out that we are all part of a “delicate, interconnected ecosystem and just as we need to restore, protect and invest in our planet, so we must restore, protect and invest in our societies, communities, relationships and ourselves.”
Catherine concluded her remarks on Wednesday saying that it is “time we understood that building a healthier world means nurturing the foundations that support our children. Everything from the systems that govern early care through to our attitudes to those raising the next generation, and the support they receive. Because if we can create a society which sees the child in every adult and the adult within every child,we will finally start to change it for the better.”
The symposium on Nov. 15 brought together cross-disciplinary leaders, child and adult specialists, as well as global thinkers. The Royal Foundation of the Prince and Princess of Wales noted that the event and the research that has been carried out by The Centre for Early Childhood is a key milestone for The Centre’s Shaping Us campaign. Catherine launched the Shaping Us campaign earlier this year to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood in shaping adults and future society. The launch of the long-term campaign followed over a decade of work by the Princess on early childhood and lifelong mental health and wellbeing.