Kate Middleton Has a Poignant Reunion with Parents Who Have Galvanized Her Work to Shape Kids' Futures

The Duchess of Cambridge sat down with people she has met along the way in her decade-long journey that has culminated in the launch of the groundbreaking Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton on Friday . Photo: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Kate Middleton is celebrating the launch of her key new project.

The Duchess of Cambridge headed out on Friday to be reunited with parents she has met during her decade-long journey culminating in the launch of the groundbreaking Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

The parents took the opportunity to tell Princess Kate about their experiences, and she told them about the vital role that parents and caretakers will continue to play in shaping her work through the new initiative in the coming years. She also talked about her hopes for what it can do for future generations, her office at the palace said.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton on Friday. Pohle/WPA Pool/Shutterstock

Taking place in the café at Kensington Palace, the chat was a poignant reminder of the people she is trying to help: Parents and caretakers, and their young children. Some of those she met were those she has encountered in various engagements as she has crisscrossed the U.K. talking with people about some of the challenges they face.

During that time, palace aides say, she realized that many of society's difficulties can be rooted to challenges that parents and their children face in the first five years of life.

Earlier, Kate, 39, met with experts at the London School of Economics who have helped in the first round of research for the center. Published on Friday, Big Change Starts Small aims to put much of the thinking on the early years in one place.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton at the roundtable discussion at LSE today. Pohle/WPA Pool/Shutterstock

At a roundtable talk with leading academics and practitioners working across the early years sector, the report's recommendations were discussed as well as the group's hopes for what can be achieved to help the youngest children across society. Building collaborations and creative campaigns to drive awareness and action on the importance of early childhoods in creating a happier, healthier, more nurturing society are top of mind for the Duchess.

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

She sees the center as an opportunity to "raise awareness of why the first five years of life are just so important for our future life outcomes, and what we can do as a society to embrace this golden opportunity to create a happier, more mentally healthy, more nurturing society."

The center cements a decade of work in public life, during which she has seen that many of life's challenges, from mental health to addiction, can be rooted in difficulties faced by children and their families in the first five years.

Believed to be the first time a royal has set up a center like this, she follows in the footsteps of her father-in-law Prince Charles (who set up the Prince's Trust decades ago) in having a standalone organization focused on a key area of her public work.

Related Articles