Kate Middleton Continues Early Childhood Mission with Back-to-Back Engagements in London

The Princess of Wales is spending time with young people who have experienced the care system and the kinship carers who step up

Catherine Princess of Wales visits the Foundling Museum

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Kate Middleton is out and about to elevate her early childhood work.

On Thursday morning, the Princess of Wales, 41, stepped out in London to highlight the importance of relationships in early childhood. Early childhood development has long been a keystone of Princess Kate’s royal world, and her back-to-back engagements shed light on the importance of loving relationships for children who have experienced adversity, trauma, or bereavement. The outings focus on the experiences of those in the care system and the experience of carers who foster, adopt or care for extended family and friends, known as “kinship carers.” 

Kate’s first stop was the Foundling Museum, which tells the story of the 18th-century Foundling Hospital, the U.K.'s first children's charity. It was initially established in 1739 as a home for children at risk of abandonment, and Princess Kate has served as patron of the modern museum since 2019. 

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Kate Middleton at the Foundling Museum

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The hub today offers programs to support vulnerable young people, from training and mentorship opportunities to creative projects guided by artists, writers and musicians. Kate met some participants of the award-winning Tracing Our Tales program for creative writing, joining the group and Professor Green to discuss the positive positive outlet. 

“Being able to communicate and express how you feel — it's amazing to be able to do this,” Kate said during the sit-down. “And I feel so honored to meet all of you, to hear your journeys and also your passions and aspirations.”

 Catherine, Princess of Wales visits the Foundling Museum on May 25, 2023 in London, England
Kate Middleton.

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An 18-year-old named Indika became emotional while opening up about how she acted as the parent to her siblings for years before being taken into care in her late teens.

“I can see how hard it is for all of you to talk about it and the experiences you have gone through,” the Princess sympathized.

Kate also heard from Bez, who emigrated from Iran as a teenager and was placed in care in the U.K. Today, the father of two works at the Foundling Museum as an artist’s assistant, and said it meant much to have the princess visit.

Catherine Princess of Wales visits the Foundling Museum on May 25, 2023 in London, England
Kate Middleton.

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“To have her actually come and support this is amazing. She’s a very nice person, she’s very humble and down to earth and it feels quite natural and comfortable to talk to her,” he said. On what the royal visit meant to young people in care, he continued, “It means quite a lot because you kind of feel pushed aside to the curbs of society. Not many care leavers have had experiences in even normal social settings so to meet royalty is big.”

The Princess of Wales then met with adoptive and foster parents to learn more about their experiences with young people and the care system. The small group spoke about the importance of love and support for all children, and how positive relationships have a lifelong impact. Kate has voiced her support for the Foundling Museum’s “Securing the Future” fundraiser, which has set a goal of $5.7 million to secure the museum’s home and custodianship of the Foundling Hospital Collection for the next 999 years. 

 Catherine, Princess of Wales visits the Foundling Museum on May 25, 2023 in London, England
Kate Middleton.

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“Their ground-breaking work to support each care-experienced young person to fundamentally change the future direction of their lives is one that means the world to me. Importantly, it shows that it is never too late to make a difference, and that by providing the right support, we can enable those who have faced real difficulties to overcome their challenges and achieve their goals,” she said in a statement Wednesday. 

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Artist Grayson Perry got to meet the Princess of Wales at the Foundling Museum and told reporters why her visit to the hub felt like a natural fit.

"This place represents what I know of her interests… it’s art, museum, young people, creativity and the difficulties that kids face, this place has all of that, that's why it's a good fit,” he said.

The royal mom then moved to a support group session for kinship carers in London to hear about how they’re raising the next generation. Kate met with carers involved with the charity Kinship, some of whom are aunts, uncles and grandparents to the kids in their care. 

The group discussed challenges faced, and how charities like Kinship make a difference. The organization works with over 10,000 kinship carers in England and Wales each year, offering free training, support both one-on-one and in peer groups, a resource hub and more.

Catherine Princess of Wales visits the Foundling Museum

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According to a statement from Kensington Palace, there are over 162,000 children in England and Wales growing up in kinship care. Many of the youth have faced trauma, and benefit from the loving care of family or friends who welcome them into their lives.

To further raise awareness of the critical importance of the early childhood years, Princess Kate launched the landmark “Shaping Us” campaign in January. The effort comes from The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, which she launched in June 2021.

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The long-term initiative is defined on the Royal Foundation's website as "a major new awareness-raising campaign to increase public understanding of the crucial importance of the first five years of a child's life." Shaping Us hopes to transform "the issue from one of scientific interest to one of the most strategically important topics of our time," a statement says.

Catherine Princess of Wales visits the Foundling Museum

Neil Mockford/GC Images

A mom of three, Princess Kate shares Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, with husband Prince William. In a kickoff speech for Shaping Us over the winter, she touched on how childhoods shape the rest of our lives. 

"The campaign is fundamentally about shining a spotlight on the critical importance of early childhood and how it shapes the adults we become," she said in January. "This is why it is essential, to not only understand the unique importance of our earliest years, but to know what we can all do to help raise future generations of happy, healthy adults."

"Those involved in raising children today need the very best information and support in helping to achieve this mission — and this campaign aims to help do that too.”

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