Duchess of Cambridge addresses struggles of motherhood: 'I was very naive as a parent'

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent
The Duchess of Cambridge arriving at the Mental Health in Education conference in London [Photo: PA]

The Duchess of Cambridge addressed the struggles of motherhood at The Royal Foundation’s ‘Mental Health in Education’ conference at Mercers’ Hall in London.

Kate, 37, was at the event to learn more about the ways in which mental health modules are being integrated on teaching training programmes and the role of leaders in creating a culture of wellbeing in schools.

She joined a meeting with teachers and specialists from the sector to further discuss the potential impact of consistent mental health teacher training, as well as the challenges facing its implementation.

The Duchess shared her own experiences of motherhood during the discussion: “When I first started out and I’ve learnt a lot in a short period of time working with organisations, I was very naive myself as a parent, of really just how important particularly the early years are for children’s futures.

“And how critical it is, everyone looking after children at a critical time, teachers, parents, and everyone who’s caring for them, how important it is that we get it right.”

The event was hosted by BBC presenter Kate Silverton, who welcomed the Duchess: “As you will know [she] has been a great driving force behind the Royal Foundation’s work supporting children in their earliest years.

“And, Your Royal Highness, it’s an honour to have you here with us today.”

Kate wore a new boucle skirt suit for the event [Photo: PA]

The conference is part of Kate’s ongoing work in supporting and promoting the mental health of children and young people.

The Duchess formed a steering group last year consisting of health experts, academics and charity heads to research the correlation between early years and those who experience mental health problems in later life.

Their findings will reportedly be revealed later this year.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Kate Silverton at the Mental Health in Education conference [Photo: PA]

During an impromptu speech, Kate said: “The scientific and other evidence is clear the first few years of a child’s life are more pivotal for development and for future health and happiness than any other single moment in our life time.

“It is also clear that the positive development of our children is directly linked to those who care for them, teachers, carers and parents.

“And as we have heard today, it is therefore vital that we support teachers with their own wellbeing so that they can find the best level of care for all children, in their schools and communities in which they work.”

Kate looked smart in tweed skirt suit for the conference, believed to be by Dolce & Gabbana, teamed with her Tod’s suede pumps and her Mulberry Bayswater clutch bag.

On Wednesday night, the Duchess will attend the 100 Women in Finance Gala Dinner in support of ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ – one of the programmes from the Heads Together campaign.

Kate launched the initiative last year, which provides primary schools with information, advice and resources to help them understand and promote children’s mental health and wellbeing.

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