Saturday, 15 September 2018

Duchess Kate to Launch "Lifelong Project" to Help Children in New Year!

In today's Daily Mail, royal correspondent Rebecca English exclusively reports the Duchess of Cambridge will launch a campaign to help children failed by "broken Britain" in the New Year.

The project will reportedly focus on helping disadvantaged children reach their potential. Kate will bring together experts from several fields including academia, education and health to help families cope with addiction and mental health. A source said the Duchess sees the issue as important as climate change. The project will be run under the umbrella of the Royal Foundation with findings set to be published next year. Kate plans to "steer clear of public policy, instead using her convening power".

Rebecca English reports it will be a lifelong project for the Duchess:

‘This is a lifelong project,’ said one royal source. ‘She is looking at what she can do over the next five, ten, 15, 20 years. She wants to be able to look back and see what difference has been made. That’s what her position in public life allows her to do.’
Researchers have highlighted the importance of early intervention and how children from disadvantaged backgrounds who do not receive the right help at school age can suffer lifelong problems. The duchess’s initiative, which will be launched in the new year, is a major solo move. Until now she has worked on campaigns alongside her husband William and brother-in-law Harry.
According to sources, Kate has acknowledged in private that her detractors are likely to question what she, as a privately-educated and extremely privileged young woman, could possibly know about poverty and lack of family cohesion. She has often spoken of how lucky she feels to be part of a close and loving family who have always supported her. But she maintains that it is her duty as a member of the Royal Family to use her position to look at fundamental issues affecting the nation on a long-term basis.'

During the inaugural Royal Foundation Forum in February, Kate spoke about the "long-lasting resonance" the work of the Foundation should have and discussed plans for the future. "Since our roles are lifetime roles, our commitment to the work we do through the Foundation is genuinely long term. The work we do can and should have a long-lasting resonance. For this reason we're able to support causes we're passionate about for decades into the future. Like the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales we feel strongly we have to take a long-term view that is measured in generations."

July's annual Royal Foundation report revealed plans to develop an overarching programme focused on several key areas:

'In 2016, the Centre for Mental Health published the report ‘Missed Opportunities: A review of recent evidence into children and young people’s mental health’, which suggested that mental health problems affect one in ten children and young people. It goes on to say that: “A range of interventions can help to protect mental health from pregnancy to age five. Most need to be targeted towards families who have the highest risks or children who are showing early signs of distress.”
The Duchess of Cambridge requested research into further interventions, alongside the programmes and platforms already in development, which could provide support for mothers-to-be and new mothers. As a result, towards the end of 2018 we will launch initiatives designed to reduce the stigma of maternal mental health difficulties and improve related knowledge and understanding. We will collaborate with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) to support new initiatives and work with other organisations within the MMHA for this purpose.
As a major part of her future work, The Duchess of Cambridge has been working with The Foundation to develop an overarching programme on early intervention, pulling together three key themes of support for mothers, parents and teachers to give children a better start in life.

Following the success of Heads Together, the royals have launched initiatives to further the impact in schools, the workforce and the military. The campaign succeeded in starting conversations all over the UK and further afield about the way we talk about mental health. A study of 14,000 people by YouGov noted a significant change in the public’s approach to mental health between February and May 2017, as publicity about the Heads Together campaign was reaching its height. The Duchess' solo project is the next step in bringing other key interests such as early intervention and addiction together.

In February, the Duchess convened a symposium on the importance of early intervention to provide solid social and emotional platforms for children. During a speech she noted: "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 all believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life."

Chief executive of Kate's patronage, the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families, Professor Peter Fonagy, is one of the advisers on the committee she convened. Speaking to The Daily Mail, he said: "She came with a very deep interest even then about childhood and the influence of childhood on later development and she was surprisingly well informed about it. She was clearly on a journey of learning but had a good understanding of the importance of early development on the rest of life. She could affect the future of an entire generation with her work."

Back to Rebecca English's story:

Among the issues Kate is exploring is how to support vulnerable families from the earliest possible stage in order to get their children ‘school-ready’ and able to cope with their mental and emotional needs. She and her expert advisers will also look at how to introduce better mental health support for primary school children, and at teaching parenting and relationship skills to teenagers before they even think of starting a family themselves.
‘She is getting to know her subject really well as she knows how difficult it can be for someone from the Royal Family to talk about issues like this. People will often accuse them of being “preachy” or judgemental,’ the source said. ‘But she has spent the past few years meeting hundreds of people struggling with mental health issues and addiction, and it all seems to come back to childhood.’ Kate has been seen only a handful of times since the birth of Prince Louis in April. ‘She has been working hard behind the scenes, nonetheless,’ one said.'

The royals have a truly unique platform and the opportunity to effect lasting change, raise awareness, raise much-needed funds and create conversations in often largely ignored areas. I've said before, as enjoyable as seeing the red carpet events and jewels is, the true value of the monarchy comes from seeing royals out and about engaging in local communities and helping their chosen charities. I look forward to hearing more about how the project will work in the New Year. I imagine engagements related to the area will be a focus in addition to mental health, Heads Together and patronage visits.

In our last post, we discussed the likely possibility Kate would not return to engagements until October. Emily Andrews confirmed that via Twitter: "I’ve been asked when Kate will be back from maternity leave. I said she’d be back in October: we’d start to see a few engagements then and building up to Christmas. Mental health will be a focus."

Hope you're all having a great weekend! :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Kate's Autumn Return, Mental Health at Work & L.K. Bennett Autumn/Winter Looks!

Good evening!

September is firmly upon us and the autumn schedule has commenced for the Royal family with engagements in full swing once again. On the Cambridge front, Prince George returned to Thomas's Battersea for a new school year last week and Princess Charlotte has returned to Willcocks Nursery School. William resumed duties last Thursday (we'll be chatting more about that later on). There's been no news whatsoever on Kate's return. We often see engagements announced about two weeks in advance, so it's looking unlikely we'll see the Duchess this month. A surprise appearance is certainly possible, however, royal reporters Emily Andrews and Chris Ship both understand it will be October before we see her return.

Whilst nothing has been announced, there are several events over the course of the coming months I believe we'll see Kate attending. Once again, it's important to stress none of the following have been confirmed. This is merely a cursory overview of very strong possibilities. The first of these is the Global Summit on Mental Health Culture Change which will take place in London from 10-13 October. The London Summit gathers together key thought leaders, government officials, stakeholders, policy makers and change agents to focus exclusively on removing cultural biases that affect how we think about, talk about and address emotional well-being and mental health. The Royal Foundation is involved in the event, meaning we can expect to see the Cambridges participating. The event concludes on the 13 October with a special concert at the London Palladium.

The first day of the Summit, 10 October, coincides with World Mental Health Day - traditionally a day Kate has appearances.

On Friday, 12 October, Princess Eugenie will marry Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

One of the most glamorous events of the year will take place during a State visit to the UK by King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands from 23-24 October. We can expect to see senior members of the Royal family attending a white-tie State banquet in honour of the visit. As you will remember, we spent a good portion of August enjoying your fabulous submissions for Kate's gowns and jewels for the night.

Kate visited King Willem-Alexander during her first solo overseas visit to the Netherlands in the 2016.

The Royal British Legion hosts the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on 10 November to commemorate all those who have lost their lives in conflicts. The following day, 11 November, is Remembrance Sunday. We'll see Kate join royals at the Cenotaph.

That night, Koncert Sto Lat, a special concert at the Royal Albert Hall, will celebrate 100 years of Poland’s return to the Map of Europe – Poland’s Independence Day. The unique concert will celebrate the centenary with some of the most poignant and well-known Polish songs and music of the period. Poland’s finest artists will be singing not only their iconic contemporary songs but also songs from the 'Solidarity' era. Reader Marta kindly shared information that respected Polish media outlets have reported the Cambridges will be in attendance.

The Queen is to throw a party for hundreds of family members and friends to mark Prince Charles' 70th birthday on 14 November. Rebecca English confirms the bash will be private, however, we can expect to see arrival/departure snaps and hopefully a portrait of the family released afterwards.

In terms of Kate's solo work, the Royal Foundation's annual report revealed plans to collaborate with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance this year:

'Towards the end of 2018 we will launch initiatives designed to reduce the stigma of maternal mental health difficulties and improve related knowledge and understanding. We will collaborate with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) to support new initiatives and work with other organisations within the MMHA for this purpose.'

A tweet from Gert's Royals reminded me the Duchess became the first Royal Patron of the Victoria & Albert Museum in March. An engagement should almost certainly be in the planning before the end of the year.


Several of you have been in touch asking about Heads Together and the direction the campaign will take next. Yesterday, Prince William travelled to Bristol to launch a new initiative, Mental Health at Work, a free portal filled with information for employers and employees in the UK.

Curated by mental health charity Mind, and funded by the Royal Foundation as part of their Heads Together campaign, the website offers valuable information, toolkits, podcasts and other resources to improve mental health in the workplace. "Whether you work with 10 people, 10,000 people or just yourself, paying attention to mental health in the workplace has never been more important. Mental Health at Work is here to help you find the information and resources you need."

Half of us have experienced a mental health problem in our current job and 1 in 4 of us are struggling with these problems in silence.

'Former air ambulance pilot Prince William spoke candidly on Tuesday about absorbing the pain and suffering he witnessed on the job. "I took a lot home without realizing it," he said at a mental health event in Bristol. "You see [so] many sad things every day that you think life is like that." Speaking about his time in the emergency services, he added, "You’re always dealing with despair and sadness and injury. The attrition builds up and you never really have the opportunity to offload anything if you’re not careful."
Sitting around a table in Yurt Lush cafĂ© 120 miles west of London, William noted the particular toll on first responders. "You’re human and a lot of people forget the battles, you have shut it off to do the job — but ultimately something pierces the armor." He noted that he was "stunned" that just 2 percent of people feel comfortable talking to their workplace human resources department about mental health.'

During his speech William said: "By taking mental health seriously, you can build a better team. You can be a better boss, and you can be a better colleague. And my hope is that Mental Health At Work can help you do it."

The ITV video below also shared a brief interview with Kirk. When Kirk's daughter was diagnosed with an eating disorder, his world fell apart. Support from his team at work helped him navigate through this difficult time and he's now committed to empowering his colleagues to talk about mental health and ask for help if they need it.

Speaking about meeting Kirk, William said: "He's exactly the sort of person we should be looking up to."

Just 2% of people feel comfortable talking to workplace HR about mental health. If you would like to find out more about Mental Health at Work please click here.

In other news, William attended his first event as patron of the Royal African Society earlier this evening. During a speech he revealed he will make a working visit to Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya later this month. "Like so many others, I am deeply saddened by the numbers of elephant, rhino and pangolin who have been illegally slaughtered for their tusks, horns and scales. But the illegal wildlife trade also has a devastating human impact. Too many brave rangers are tragically killed each year by poachers. Communities see their tourist livelihoods threatened. And the proceeds of the illegal wildlife trade fund broader criminal networks and threaten security. This is why I am committed to doing what I can to help end this terrible, global crime. This will be a particular focus of my upcoming visit to Africa, and of course the conference on the illegal wildlife trade taking place here in London in October."


For the final portion of today's post, we're taking a look at the latest autumn/winter arrivals from one of Kate's favourite retailers, L.K. Bennett. Elegant skirt suits, floral midi dresses, fitted sheaths and stylish accessories offer an abundance of possibilities for the Duchess. The forest-green Effie dress with a tuxedo neckline and the elegant red Hollie dress are chic options for the coming season.

The marble red, floral-print Julisa dress, the abstract blossom print Yadira dress and the midnight blue star print Filia dress.

The Elspeth patterned dress is crafted in stylish jacquard and cinches in at the waist for a flattering silhouette.

The soft wool Audry Green Coat and the French blue Verlee Coat.

The Charl Navy Cream Tweed coat is described: "Transition the seasons in style with the Charl multi-navy-cream coat. Crafted from breathable cotton-blend, it features raw-hem details and navy contrast pockets and hemline, while the heritage-inspired tweed works perfectly with tailored separates."

The effortlessly chic Cesilia Tweed Jacket and Skirt.

The Sonya blue silk blouse and the Estra jersey top.


UPDATE: William and Kate received Mr Miguel Head at Kensington Palace upon relinquishing his appointment as Private Secretary to William earlier this afternoon. Miguel had been a member of the Royal Household for a decade. The Palace said: "His Royal Highness feels incredibly lucky to have benefited from Miguel’s advice and support over the last decade. He has been an outstanding Press Secretary and has been central to the decisions that have guided the establishment of The Duke's office. He has also been a valued advisor during an important period in His Royal Highness's life. He wishes Miguel all the very best for the future." Below, Mr Head with Kate's former private secretary Rebecca Deacon.

And that's a wrap! Hope you're all having a great week!

Kate's Favourites