Monday, 6 February 2017

Kate Encourages 'The K Factor': " My parents taught me about the importance of kindness, respect, and honesty"

Following yesterday's training day with London Marathon runners, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended ‘The Big Assembly’ by Place2Be hosted at Mitchell Brook Primary School this morning, as part of the Heads Together campaign to start millions of conversations on mental health in 2017.

Ahead of the engagement Kensington Palace noted "The Duchess of Cambridge has been patron of Place2Be since 2013, reflecting her interest in child mental health and the importance of early intervention to provide children with in-school mental health services at the earliest stage possible." The charity is also a partner of the Heads Together initiative and has participated in a selection of events since it launched last year.

William and Kate received a very warm welcome from schoolchildren.

Rebecca English reported "Very sweet children shouting 'we made something for you'. William and Kate went over to get their pictures".

Kate was in her element chatting with the children.

Kate looks at one of the fantastic drawings she received. How adorable is this? :)

Place2Be is an extraordinary organisation providing emotional and therapeutic services in primary and secondary schools, building children's resilience through talking, creative work and play. Place2Be works with 282 primary and secondary schools, reaching a school population of 116,000 children, helping them to cope with wide-ranging and often complex social issues including bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, neglect and trauma.

Today's engagement marked the beginning of Children's Mental Health Week 2017. This year the focus is on kindness, and its benefits for wellbeing. "It can be difficult to know how to help someone going through a difficult time, but small acts of kindness can make all the difference. Throughout the week, Place2Be is encouraging children to ‘spread a little kindness’ in their schools and at home, for example by looking out for classmates who may be having a difficult time, listening to how they feel, and if they need it, asking an adult for help".

To mark Children's Mental Health Week, Place2Be brought a child's art to life. It's a lovely animation - encouraging us all to spread a little kindness. Reading about the theme of the week reminded me of the late Princess Diana's quote "Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you." It was a very apt choice of theme instiling the importance of kindness with young children.

The Duchess gave a speech speaking about how it's as important to be kind as it is to excel in maths and sport "I think that every child should have people around them to show them love and show them kindness, and that is what Place2Be is doing so amazingly here in your school".

Kate's speech in full:

'Thank you so much for your very warm welcome. It is great to be here to support Children's Mental Health week. People often ask me why I am so interested in the mental health of children and young people. The answer is quite simple - it is because I think that every child should have the best possible start in life. When I was growing up I was very lucky. My family was the most important thing to me. They provided me with somewhere safe to grow and learn, and I know I was fortunate not to have been confronted by serious adversity at a young age.
For some children, maybe there are some here today; I know that life can sometimes feel difficult and full of challenges. I think that every child should have people around them to show them love, and to show them kindness, and nurture them as they grow. This is what Place2Be is doing so amazingly here in your school.
Recently I met an 11 year-old girl who was helped by Place2Be. She told me that if you keep your feelings inside, you can feel as though you will blow up like a balloon. But, by talking to someone about them, it can make you feel so much better. I thought that was such a clever way of looking at it. If we are worried, upset, lonely or angry – the best thing to do is to talk to someone about it. Whether that is your mother or father, a teacher or a friend.
I know that in your school you have been working on a project to spread a little kindness and I think this is such an important thing to do. If you see someone who you think might need help, try and be kind to them. Keep a look out for them if they are on their own or seem sad or worried. Perhaps they just need a hug or someone to talk to. I know it is hard if you are feeling down yourself. But helping someone out will also make you feel so much better too.
My parents taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect, and honesty, and I realise how central, values like these have been to me throughout my life. That is why William and I want to teach our little children, George and Charlotte just how important these things are as they grow up. In my view it is just as important as excelling at maths or sport.
Now, I am very excited about presenting the Kindness cup and hearing your stories. Do remember that even if you don't win today, the fact that you are helping make your school such a supportive and friendly place is so important. You should all be very proud of yourselves and each other. Thank you so much for having me here with you all today.'

I thought Kate's speech was one of her best. It was well written, personable and delivered eloquently. The speech opened with Kate revealing why she's so interested in mental health "The answer is quite simple - it is because I think that every child should have the best possible start in life."  I enjoyed hearing the Duchess refer to her own upbringing acknowledging how important her family has been and the lessons she learned growing up. Now as a mother herself, Kate wants to teach George and Charlotte how important kindness is. Public speaking is never easy, in fact it can be incredibly nerve-wracking. It's great to see HRH giving more speeches and becoming more comfortable with it.

Kate presented the first Place2Be 'Kindness Cup' to ten-year-old Nadia Dhicis who has shown exceptional kindness in their school community and beyond.

William and Kate congratulated Nadia.

 Pupils also acted out role plays about being kind, and the school choir performed.

Deputy Headmistress Nicola Harmer discussed 'The Big Assembly' and 'The K Factor':

'We've launched through a series of assemblies different people who have the K factor, the kindness factor, and then we've discussed with the children how they can have it.  Whether it's helping a friend out who feels a bit lonely on the day and supporting them, and we've also talked to the children about being kind to ourselves, that's around the negative talk we may have of putting ourselves down.'

Children at the assembly celebrate 'The K Factor'.

The Duke and Duchess joined a discussion with pupils on how kindness can help us through difficult times. A survey released by Place2Be - polling over 700 10-11 year olds, reveals that 63% of Year 6 pupils say they worry “all the time”.

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be spoke to Simon Perry about the positive effects of Kate's involvement with the organisation "We can see how this is becoming an issue that is being publicly discussed — which is a real sea change. Kate’s commitment and understanding is making a huge difference to the level of interest that this previously neglected area is now receiving.” Roche says that Kate “shares our passion and commitment for our cause,” and adds, “It is clear that she has a genuine passion for, and truly understands, the importance of providing early intervention mental health support to children and young people, and the positive impact this can have on a child’s personal development".

The Duchess brought back her much loved red Luisa Spagnoli suit today.

The suit has enjoyed several appearances since Kate first wore it in 2011 for a pre-wedding engagement at St Andrews University. Kate teamed the chic suit with her Aquatalia Rhumba boots for the occasion. Shortly after it emerged Kate purchased the suit for £495 at Hollie de Keyser (a boutique frequented by the late Princess Diana when it was known as Emma Somerset). Luisa Spagnoli, who founded the label in Perugia in 1928, was famous for introducing angora fibre – derived from Angora rabbits – into knitwear. It has been worn by a host of stars including Sophia Loren.

The Duchess next wore it in Christchurch during the 2014 tour of Australia and New Zealand where she played a spot of cricket in the garden city. Kate had the dress altered to a skirt for additional length, which elevated the look into a sophisticated skirt suit.

And Kate chose it for the Queen's pre-Christmas luncheon in 2015 when the Duke of Edinburgh passed his patronage of the RAF Air Cadets to her during an audience at Buckingham Palace.

Kate teamed the suit with her black suede Gianvito Rossi pumps. They retail for $675 at Net-A-Porter.

Kate carried her black suede Mulberry clutch.

The Duchess accessorised with her Mappin & Webb earrings and pendant.

Mappin & Webb

I may be mistaken, but I think Kate had an issue with one of her earrings. When she arrived, it appears she removed one and when leaving she was wearing it again, but  looked to be adjusting it.

And completed the look with her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch.

Place2Be posted a video of the full assembly including Kate's speech.

This evening, William and Kate will attend the Guild of Health Writers conference.


  1. What a wonderful event! Kate looked terrific and her speech was very sincere.

  2. Julia from Leominster6 February 2017 at 12:02

    the statements associated with yesterday's event were very moving. Kate's speech had more character today and she is speaking well. I've always liked this suit on her.

  3. I love this suit! Kate looks gorgeous today. I thought it was strange she wasn't wearing earrings in that photo, I don't think I've seen her sans earrings at an engagement before. Her speech was very good, lovely to see William by her side and supporting her, well done Nadia!

  4. A most meaningful event. Catherine is beautiful. Her hair is fantastic. Red is one of her best colors. I have always favored the Spagnoli. Personally, I prefer the original styling at the St Andrews appearance - and that is largely because I prefer the shorter length.

  5. Sarah from Calif.6 February 2017 at 12:19

    :))) Beautiful!

  6. Terrific post Charlotte, thank you so much!

  7. Kate's speech was one of her best so far. More personal. And the delivery seemed better. She's definitely addressing some of the criticisms her speech making has received. I truly believe her team has read suggestions made here regarding improving her speech making. :) Kate will just get better and better at speeches I am sure. Her heart is definitely in it. ❤

  8. p.s. love the suit. one of my favorites. Kate looks so good in red.

  9. Rebecca - Sweden6 February 2017 at 13:20

    Great seeing them mark this important week. And it is always important to encouraage kindness! It can be such a simple and hard thing at the same thing, but such an important thing!

    Great that she is continuing to make frequent speeches :) Her speeches are getting much better. Today she read it very well and it had personal touches and was on the kids levels without being "too simple". Well done.
    And I totally agree. Every child should have love and support around them! Sadly that isn't the case.. but Place2Be is makeing a great effort in doing that for many kids!

    I always like when William is the "tag along" at Kates events. They really are a good team!

    Another thing I always like is events with kids. You can never go wrong with cute kids!

    I loooove this suit. So happy to see it again. And as I said yasterday, she always look great in red!

    1. I agree, Rebecca, red really does suit her :) I love the idea of the 'Kindness Cup'...such a good way to reinforce this quality in children.

    2. Very nice post, Rebecca. You are someone who usually finds the good in things even when others don't. That's kindness too.

  10. Her speaking has really improved! She sounded warm and comfortable. So prefer this suit without the turtleneck underneath- she looks fantastic and it's a testament to her taste that such an "old" outfit looks so great today. Her hair has really been on point lately, too!

  11. Well, today was full of royal news, Sapphire Jubilee, Meghan and her ring, and Kate and her speech. I think we can officially forget the topic of "not having parallel royal engagements on the same day" because as we see it can be done.

    I liked Kate's speech, it always helps to come up with some personal remark. She has already mentioned twice "this loving family theme", but I am pretty sure mental health problems tend to happen in loving families as well.

    Lovely suit for sure!

    1. Rebecca - Sweden6 February 2017 at 15:57

      Mental health problems obviously happen in loving families (mine is an example!). But having a loving family and support DOES help in coping and preventing issues. Last time I think she made a small mistake in how she mentioned it in her speech, but this time it felt very fitting. It's a hard balance. But a supportive enviroment can and do prevent certain issues and can ease some issues as well. It doesn't mean the issues doesn't happen, just that they might get cushioned. And sometimes it doesn't help at all, but it never hurts!

    2. Mental health problems do happen in loving families. There are organic brain issues that have nothing to do with being nurtured properly. Perhaps their focus is on depression and recognizing the signs in children. In that instance I think having support from family and friends is everything. I do think that getting more bang for your buck/pound is the best approach; hitting something that affects a lot of people can get more press and support than focusing on something that affects a relatively small subset of people.

    3. Mental health problems absolutely happen in "normal" loving families, but I think it's important for Kate to recognize her privilege in this regard and I'm glad she did.

    4. Mental health problems do happen in loving families, but it helps and makes it easier if the family is loving. Imagine what it would be like if the child was not surrounded by nurturing family members. That can only serve to exacerbate the problem.

    5. Kate said her family was important to her and that she had a safe place. She said she had been lucky not to have faced" serious adversity." No where does she say a loving home rules out mental illness.(she actually does not say "loving") There were no sapphire anniversary engagements today. Check the CC for Meghan activities. Nope.

    6. Childhood depression is obviously an area of concern. They have also spoken with children who are victims of bullying as well as children dealing with grief and young adults dealing with drug addiction and homelessness. The efforts to overcome poverty as a causative force hasn't been successful. I think they are saying, ok, you had this unfortunate start in life-let's start there and see how we can help you get help for the consequences. The assumption is not that middle and upper class children don't experience depression and drug addiction; I think they had to start somewhere and the areas and neighborhoods they and the organizations have been targeting have seemed to be mostly working-class neighborhoods. I think the ironic aspect is that the higher the economic status, the greater the income available for professional help but also the greater the stigma and tendency to hide such problems and the possibility that, despite the financial where-withal, children may not get help. Remember "Ordinary people?" Hopefully, the encouragement of conversation about mental illness may eventually reach these children. Certainly William and Catherine's promoting the campaign will also make a difference in that group.

  12. Nicole from France6 February 2017 at 18:33

    to me, that's the best speech Kate has delivered so far, with personnal thoughts said in a much more pragmatic way than before , she seems to have realized she was always repeating the same little speech which did not really seemed underlined by action, to day she has been brilliant and I am quite happy for her she took this step ! and this red suit is so smart on her, a big succes to my eyes !!

  13. The jacket is not fitting properly in the chest either due to its stretching a bit with cleanings or Kates changing size. She either needs to have it taken in a bit, wear a different undergarment with it, or wear a sweater under it. She looks great and the cause is fantastic.

  14. Zora from Prague6 February 2017 at 19:30

    Thank you for another great post, Charlotte! I must tell you I use your posts when teaching English... :) and today I enjoyed the new post with a 13-year old girl who is also a Kate fan already. We both loved the idea of the Kindness Cup - wish we had something similar here.
    I was so thrilled today to see the new photo of HM released for the Sapphire Jubilee!! I have to admit I forgot the date was coming so it came as a surprise and really made my day. I think it's a wonderful picture and the sapphires are just exquisite! And the dress! oh my... I can't believe this lady has been on the throne for 65 years. She looks fantastic! My favourite quote of HM is "Kindness, sympathy, resolution and courteous behaviour are infectious." There, kindness again...
    It feels like there are always royal milestones to celebrate... the Diamond Jubilee, HM becoming the longest reigning monarch, her 90th birthday, now the Sapphire Jubilee... and, God willing, the Platinum Wedding of HM and Prince Philip in November this year! How fortunate to be a royal fan! :)

  15. The ear thing-maybe she's wearing an earpiece that had to be adjusted. Camilla is secretly whispering in her ear. Ha! Maybe she's doing that Carol Burnett thing and it is her way of saying Hi to Granny.

    1. Thanks for the laugh!! ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. Sometimes all this discussion makes me a little crazy.

  16. I have always adored this look. She looks chic and comfortable, her hair looks glossy and she really looks in her element with children. I love the idea of the Kindness Bench and it always means a lot to see them shining a light on this area. Lastly, I agree with Penny that while of course mental health problems can happen in any family, that it is important that the Duchess recognises her privilege in this regard and emphasizes how important having family support can be.

  17. This was a great event! It's important to raise awareness and end stigmas but celebrating a successes is just as important. It is quite discouraging to think of these kids as working so hard to persevere through the tough and dark times and have no acknowledgement, no recognition, no celebration. It's so fun that Kate was able to help celebrate and cheer on positive steps. I liked that although they were both there, this was clearly Kate's event and William was just her plus 1.

    The suit is a good choice. I also like it so much better without the turtleneck. I am a fan of a good turtleneck sweater but with a great pair of jeans and boots, not under a suit.

  18. I don't even have to see the video to see how engaged Kate is with the children. I love that about her, her compassion, empathy, and dedication to improving their just shines. Where Diana was the People's Princess, HRH Catherine is surely forever going to be known as the Children's Princess.

  19. great look nice too see William and Kate supporting each other.

  20. Kate's hair has been looking fabulous lately. New hairdresser, perhaps? The color and styling with the deeper side part........simply lovely.

  21. She looks fresh and lovely thanks for posting Charlotte

  22. oh I love the coat she wearing the and superb speech is she itself speak as personally and she speak by the heart and she and William are good in kids

  23. As much as I enjoy fashion...and I do love this suit... the message here far outweighs what Kate wore. Kudos to her.

  24. Zora from Prague7 February 2017 at 16:16

    Agreed, royalfan!

  25. A little kindness goes a long way. I love seeing W&K interact with the kids. Always great, you can see they really relate to them. This suit has always been a favorite,the color and timeless style. She was beautiful. They work so well together.

  26. I agree, Tedi. No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. :)

  27. Kate's suit mirrors the one Theresa May wore to visit Donald Trump. Deliberate? If so, what does that say?

    1. I sincerely doubt that there is any connection or significance here. It's just another one of Kate's "recycles" in my book.

  28. Hasn't Kate had that suit for a while though? It is part of the 2015 collection.


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