The royal family typically maintains a bit of distance from the public, but Kate Middleton just opened up about a topic that clearly means a lot to her – early child development. The Princess of Wales wrote an op-ed for The Telegraph published on Friday, advocating for greater prioritization of education and mental health services for the next generation. She believes this will be key for a "healthier and happier society."
Middleton called on the people of the U.K. – and the world – to do "everything we can to nurture our children" in her new op-ed. She focused specifically on the first five years of life, saying that these are the "most preventative years" for the development of a high-functioning individual. Middleton explained how she arrived at these conclusions through her connections with experts in education and psychology, which sparked her interest and led her to research this topic further.
Middleton believes that investing heavily in the holistic development of children up to age five can greatly impact their physical and mental health in the years to come. She also believes that this kind of work could significantly impact the rates of homelessness, addiction, violent crime and domestic violence years down the line. She believes that simply taking advantage of these formative years now could have far-reaching ripple effects in a few decades.
Middleton also argued that research relevant to this undertaking is at a peak right now. She wrote: "We have an incredible opportunity. Armed with all we now know as a result of the work of dedicated scientists, researchers and practitioners, to make a huge difference to the mental and physical health of generations to come. That is why I am determined to continue to shine a light on this issue and to do everything I can to secure much greater focus on those first crucial few years for the youngest members of our society – they are, after all, our future."
Middleton champions several mental health causes herself, including her nonprofit Place2Be and her Heads Together campaign, which she worked on with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Middleton did not describe an action plan for this vision in her article, which was presumably aimed at parents and professionals in education and social work. It's not clear if she intends to support social programs with this aim or to reach parents who may not realize the neurological and psychological opportunities their children are open to. She also did not cite any specific research or offer any links to further reading.However, she promised "to continue to shine a light on this issue and to do everything I can to secure much greater focus on those first crucial few years for the youngest members of our society – they are, after all, our future."