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! :)

49 comments:

  1. I'm not gonna celebrate or analyse too hard before we see the actual plans in the future but if this is true I see great potential in the project and we've seen build up to this since she started taking on patronages so it fits very well in with her previous work!

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    1. I second this! I'll be watching how this is implemented but sounds promising, and is much needed. Interesting and exciting news. If this project is as comprehensive as it appears, the positive effects will be important and wide reaching.

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    2. I am also watching eagerly because if it happens it will be important. I am worried though, that sometimes there is no follow through on what Kate says. So I am not holding my breath about this. But I am still hopeful, somewhat.
      I would much prefer if actions spoke for themselves. Was quite impressed that the Duchess of Sussex launched her cookbook, planned events and then announced it. That has way more of an impact, in my opinion. Also gives the impression of sincerity.

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    3. See Rebecca-Sweden @ 15:16, Rosman.

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    4. I get what you way but this was not released by the palace and considering the amount of people that would have to be involved in an endeavor like Kates it was bound to get out before the palace formally announced it.

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    5. Hi Rosman, nice to see you here 😊

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    6. Thanks Erika ! I enjoyed my time off and was staying off blogs except interior decor ones. But today's news about the Grenfell victims was too good to miss commenting on. So I thought what the heck. I'm sure I will chased off MAM soon enough though LOL. Those ladies are some superfans.. :)

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    7. Lol completely understand. I stayed away for quite some time. It has calmed down somewhat over there but I'm by no means a regular. Like you, thought the cookbook news was comment worthy though. Glad you are back even if it will be sporadic.

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    8. Didn't Kate pen a forward as well for charity? For the book written by RAF wives whose proceeds went to the Royal Airforce Benevolent Fund? "An organization that is the Royal Air Force's leading welfare charity, providing financial, practical and emotional support to serving and former members of the RAF – regardless of rank – as well as their partners and dependents." Do not think her actions were any less sincere.

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  2. Thank you for this well-written piece. I appreciate your quotes from the past few years that show how steadily and thoughtfully Kate hha been building to the launch of this project. I am a school social worker in the US and loved the Cambridge's wedding - but started developing deep respect for three royals with the launch of the Royal Foundation, and especially Head's Together. And early intervention is my personal passion. I couldn't be happier that this is Kate's focus! Collaboration is key, and I look forward to what ALL 4 of the totals in the foundation achieve individually and together. Their work is going to impact not one, but many generations to come. Again, kudos to you on writing this piece. Thank you for keeping the fan base posted!!

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  3. Two points caught my eye especially: '...she has been working hard behind the scenes,' although seen in public "only a handful of times."

    The similarity between parts of the focus of the effort and "Project Headstart" in the USA. That program was successful until it was swept up into partisan politics. Interesting remark that she intends to avoid political aspects and concentrate on her "convening Powers." I think that answers those who wonder why she isn't at various charities posing for pictures of her ladling soup and stuffing care packages, which seem to be types of PR activities used by politicians and celebrities to represent their involvement. Anyone can roll bandages but it takes someone of her position to bring together experts and jumpstart initiatives.
    Thank-you for this, Charlotte.

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    1. Anonymous 21:17. Agree 100%! Kate has never been about photo ops, visit numbers and being a cover photo. She is a methodical individual with great depth. Her strength is in convening people, asking questions, looking for solutions. I work with an organization focus on ending generational poverty. Many of the children and young parents lack role models and basic skills. We learn from those around us. Our organization has a weekly dinner offering supervised youth & adult programs. It's amazing to see how games of Chutes & Ladders teach youngsters patience, self-control and the ability to lose. Kate had the benefit of family to provide these subtle lessons. She knows there value. It's so easy to judge those less fortunate; however, I've witnessed lasting change when young parents and youth are given time, unconditional love, repetitive support, purposeful guidance and a safe spot to grow. It takes us a minimum of 18-months with our families. This is definitely a journey!

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  4. I think this is great. It's clear Kate takes a long-term view and likes to see how things relate to each other. If I recall correctly, she has brought together some of her charities and helped merge them because they were doing similar work; and Heads Together was her idea. These (and other) things in the past and what was written in the Royal Foundation report mean I have no doubt this article is true. It's quite a skill to be able to zoom out like that and see the big picture - well done Kate!

    I think this shows that Kate must do an awful lot behind the scenes, reading papers and having meetings with all these experts - or at least long hours with Catherine Quinn discussing it all. While the royals going out and meeting people and being seen is very important to make the monarchy relevant, and to make different communities feel special and validated, I think these big projects are what will make a lasting impact (and Kate doesn't necessarily have to be out doing engagements all the time with an initiative she's started for it be effective). Prince Charles I think has managed to do both with great success, and I hope Kate will be able to emulate him

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    1. I agree with your comments Rebecca. IMO Kate appears to be a bit methodical about how she approaches her projects and charities. This is a very important one to address and meshes well with her role as a young mother, her mental health, and maternal-fetal well being initiatives. Not only can this project be a lasting legacy and have significant impact during her role as a royal, but it is something that she can involve her children in as they get older. Much like Diana did with William and Harry when she took them to visit hospitals with her. I don't think Kate's privilege is lost on her, but rather she has a much more quiet, behind the scenes approach to effect a change. I am excited to hear about this project and hope it meets with the success it definitely deserves. cc

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  5. Really interesting initiative. It is a very important area and an area of child development that has only recently started to get the attention it deserves.

    She's clearly been working on this for a while and it ties in with many of her Patronages. It's great she is working so closely with respected experts in this field to make a difference and is looking at helping and supporting the adults around the children too.

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  6. If this is true and I have a feeling it is to some degree then I say brava to Catherine. This meshes with many of her other interests. One thing I have always liked and admired about her is that while she grew up in a loving home and priviledged she has not let that blind the reality of how the other 99% of the world live. Many who grow up with the so called 'silver spoon' forget to be grateful. Many of the woes in the world are directly related to the early years, family dynamics, nutrition, and self worth and confidence. If we can make changes there so many children will have a better chance at life as a whole. I for one am thrilled that Catherine cares so deeply. This can be messy business. She is not afraid of the 'mess'.

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    1. Yes, and all of those problems that you mentioned do not discriminate. Children from affluent and/or happy homes can suffer from mental health problems as well. I have my own two younger children currently seeing behavioral therapists. My popular and pretty 16 year old suffers from anxiety and I got my 11 year old in therapy as soon as she started experiencing stress and bullying at school and and talking about how ugly she thinks she is. As a parent it breaks your heart, and I feel that they need professional help dealing with these feelings and issues. But I realize that I have the financial means to fund this help for my kids....even with health insurance that covers it, the copays add up quickly. Not everyone is as fortunate. That's why I'm so happy to see Kate getting so involved in this area.

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    2. Julia from Leominster17 September 2018 at 20:06

      I agree - I grew up in a privileged home and my parents couldn't have been more loving. That certainly was a huge benefit but I still experienced what I suppose one would call bullying today - back then we were expected to just get on with it. In my case, I was tall and very skinny but others were teased for being podgie, ugly or sometimes because for some undefined reason, they weren't as popular as others. It is heart-breaking.

      Someone was just commenting on OSS a few days ago about her daughter being teased and with social media the problem has become even worse. There was just a recent suicide of a young boy from a supportive family but who had been bullied because of his ADD. Children receive so much information now - and I don't think they always know how to process it or put it in perspective.

      I think it's a very positive thing that we talk about such issues openly now, and seek help and seek to help others get help. I can't give too much credence to an article in the DM that hasn't been supported yet elsewhere but I hope it is true and that Kate soon embraces this cause.

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  7. I do love these project hmm It would be great i love it if is true the project can help i hope the project is in process

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  8. Thanks you Charlotte for referring back to all that Kate has said over this year in connection with mental health of children and reminding us of her excellent speech in February. it would appear from the article in the DM that since that speech she has moved forward by convening this very high profile steering group of experts who may well be meeting already prior to the launch of the project early next year.
    I have always thought that although she suggested the Heads Together idea being a quieter person she has been slightly overshadowed by W & H as they are stronger speakers and more dominate characters and now with Meghan joining she will be even more overshadowed so it is the right time for her to branch out on her own with an extremely important long lasting project I really hope she succeeds in her declared aim.
    The DM editorial comment was very supportive and also said and I quote "she will have to tread carefully to avoid plunging too deeply into the political fray but she has shown she has a sensible head on her shoulders" and that I think is very true. The article then went on to wish her every success.
    I must admit I wonder who broke the news of this venture to Rebecca English I doubt if KP were involved.
    If I may I would just like to comment on Miguel Head's departure he has always behaved in such a professional manner when accompanying William & at times Kate throughout the 10 years of service he will be missed. Has he been awarded any recognition of his service as Rebecca Deacon received when she left.
    With William going to Africa for I expect the rest of Sept. as no engagements have been announced for him after 18th Sept. it will clearly be Oct. before Kate appears so I hope it will be early Oct. before the Royal wedding.

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    1. Miguel was made an Lieutenant of the Victorian Order in 2016.

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  9. I look forward to seeing how this project turns out. It sounds like a great idea. Kate seems to be a very caring person, from what I can tell.

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  10. This is the action of woman who knows that her position in life can and should have a positive impact on people. I am so pleased that she is doing this because Mental Health is still a stigma . It’s great to see leadership on the issues from childhood onward. It’s wonderful to see the Duchess chose this as her work. I do hope the issues stay right out of politics, as an Anonymous person said. For a little background , it got SO ugly in the US for the “Head Start” project , the program has been underused and underfunded. It is supposed to help 3-5 year olds and their families.

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  11. "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."

    Whether someone is/was at-risk, privileged, or anywhere in between, that person can help a cause. Kate can bring media attention to an issue, and she has the connections and clout to get the attention of experts and donors. Every charity needs publicity, expert advisors, and donors. How much does Kate study her chosen causes and know the fine details of the issues? I don't know. But the fact is, she gets involved and uses her strengths to help.

    You don't need to be a cancer survivor to knit caps for women who are going through chemo.
    You don't need to be formerly homeless to help the homeless find community resources.
    You don't need to have experienced hunger to donate money to a food pantry.

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    1. Well said, Heather!
      Thank you for the post, Charlotte. Kate can do such a lot of good! And I really believe she wants to. Her desire to get well informed and educated and to talk to experts adds to the bonus that she has shown repeatedly - her quality of being a good listener, a warm, communicative, approachable, interested person.

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  12. If this is the cause that she feels strongly about bravo. This is a new monarchy one that is reaching, genuinely out to the people. I with her the best and I would love to see this become s part of her living legacy.

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  13. Intrigued By Royals17 September 2018 at 00:07

    This sounds great! What a wonderful way for Kate to use her platform! How wonderful to see her thinking this through, involving the experts, and making a plan. I am sure she will execute the plan well. Just like Prince Charles's Princes Trust I think in 20 years we will say, "Well done!"

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  14. Royal πŸ‘‘ Watcher17 September 2018 at 03:20

    Whilst I obviously find this to be wonderful news, I wonder why it came from The Daily Mail, and not from Kensington Palace? I will wait and see and believe it when it happens.

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    1. I suspect that Rebecca English read what was in the Royal Foundation report and then tapped her sources until she had more information. It would be very surprising if Kensington Palace leaked it straight to the Daily Mail. I think it must be true in essence because it's not that dissimilar from what is in the Royal Foundation report.

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    2. Because it's not "a thing" yet. They are probably working on it and stuff like this take time before it's made official. A reported managed to get a scoop, but when KP will announce it it will be finished and not in a prior stage.

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    3. Royal πŸ‘‘ Watcher17 September 2018 at 21:39

      Exactly that. We would not expect KP to leak anything πŸ˜‚and I believe in the scoop theory.

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    4. KP and all the royals leak stuff regularly, as do most prominent people. Sometimes they leak an idea they're having to gauge the public reaction and take that into consideration when planning in the future or other reasons like that. But some stuff is genuine scoops. And it's often hard to know what is what. Either way, this is not an official confirmation with full details and should be treated like that weather you are seeking to praise her or shame her :P

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    5. Ha ha Royal Watcher - I'm with you. The timing of the "leak" and the "scoop" is only coincidental, of course.

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    6. Royal πŸ‘‘ Watcher18 September 2018 at 07:01

      Agree ladies. There is probably so much behind the scenes we don’t know of. I’ll just come along for the ride!

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  15. Thanks Charlotte for the update on the ongoing project for the Duchess of Cambridge. Parenting, Supporting Mothers and Teachers are very needed initiatives. I look forward to following this blog for further developments. Charlotte, well said re the Royals greatest impact should be “out and about engaging local communities and supporting their charities”.

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  16. i found this announcement to be a bit odd (but your post about it is fantastic). it seemed like they were trying to make a point of expressing that it is overarching and not super specific, which seemed strange to me... until the cookbook announcement today. the politics of this are so interesting. they released Kate's overarching "first solo project" a few days before Meghan's super-visible grassroots project. It's almost like they were making it a point to say Kate has been working, too.
    just to be clear, i'm not criticizing her because her role is different and having children was a huge priority. she has also done so much behind he scenes in support of william (and harry). both women are doing their jobs so well. it's only the PR and and politics that i find interesting- like this announcement was a preemptive gesture about the fact that Kate does actually work... what a life to live.

    Annie,
    NY, USA

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    1. I have to admit that I had exactly the same thoughts... it would be a too strange coincidence.

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    2. I agree Annie - the timing was hard to miss. I knew something was up when they released this bit of news because why would they out of the blue, especially when nothing has actually happened - these are just *plans* for what they claim are *going* to happen. Another "Kate is keen to - ... fill in the blank" kind of news. But it made sense today, why they would do that. Just heading off the usual criticism.

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    3. Annette New Zealand17 September 2018 at 23:30

      It does seem to be a bit of a coincidence that we are hearing about both initiatives at this time, but I do sympathise with Kate. She seems to have largely disappeared since Louis was born and has attracted criticism for it. It will be harder for her to be involved in grass roots activities now that she has three children and obviously doesn't want them brought up mostly by a nanny. The queen's four children were often separated from their parents who put their royal duties first and it must have affected them to some degree. I assume that Kate will want to do more when she can, as early on in their marriage she did join a local scout group. So maybe once all her children are at school she will have more time for activities like Meghan is doing with the Grenfell group. As far as the others go, Harry has his Botswana connections and has been working closely with incapacitated veterans etc. William will find it harder to work at the grass roots as he seems to be taking on more royal ceremonial duties lately, but his wildlife interests may be a way to do something similar. I hope all four of them can find a particular interest to develop as it will show that the Royal Family can come down to earth now and again and meet with people in everyday life. It is a way of bringing them closer to the rest of us.

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  17. I think there is definite PR consideration being shown as a few of you have pointed out. But I do believe that under the masterful guidance of Catherine Quinn, Kate will be involved in the initiatives being talked about in this piece and she has a very compelling reason to be. This is the generation George will be "leading". As a mother, she has a great incentive to see that this population is well cared for mentally and emotionally. She herself, may not know how to do it, but that is the point of convening folks that do and encouraging a generational approach to how society prepares it's youth for the world.

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    1. Royal πŸ‘‘ Watcher18 September 2018 at 12:51

      You make some really good points, Florida Moxie.

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    2. You make an excellent point about George. Kate has always enjoyed kids, even in the early days before she had them, and now it does seem very wide to focus her energy there. So often young ones are ignored or it’s sort of left for overworked teachers to sort out. I’m glad for her initiatives.

      Annie
      NY, USA

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  18. Previous comments are well received: An interesting article has surfaced from Harper’s Bazarre AFTER they had submitted the article on the Duchess of Sussex. The second article is on the Duchess of Cambridge and says the Duchess of Sussex is following the lead of the Duchess of Cambridge in working behind the scenes as well as solo. This “kind” of stuff is so disheartening. Why is a back up article, trying to support the Duchess of Cambridge, important or necessary? These two ladies are on the SAME TEAM and it is well publicized that the Duchess of Cambridge is on maternity leave.

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  19. Very well done Duchess ! This sounds great after 7 years of experience as a royal member in the realm of charity.

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  20. I am having Duchess Kate withdrawals! Do we know if there will be any commonwealth tours scheduled for the Cambridges planned? Any idea when we may get a glimpse of Prince Louis?

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  21. To Mary @ 17:49, I have not read any additional tours for the Duchess of Cambridge, but the Duke of Cambridge is scheduled for a solo trip to Africa this month. I’m sure Charlotte will confirm if this is true or not.

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  22. Well done! I am so proud! Love,XOXXOXO

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  23. Hello,

    The Cambridges attended the Norfolk wedding of Sophie Carter today, with George and Charlotte as page boy and bridesmaid. If photos were taken, I expect we'll see them for the Sunday Papers in a few hours.

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