During a private round table discussion at Wednesday's Mental Health in Education conference, Kate met with professionals to discuss the potential impact of consistent mental health training for teachers

By Simon Perry and Stephanie Petit
February 13, 2019 12:31 PM

Kate Middleton is opening up about her first few years of parenthood.

During a private round table discussion at Wednesday’s Mental Health in Education conference, Kate — in a tweed suit by Dolce and Gabbana — met with 11 professionals to discuss the potential impact of consistent mental health training for teachers as well as the challenges facing its implementation.

“When I first started out – and I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time working with organizations – I was very naive myself as a parent of really just how important particularly the early years are for children’s futures,” said the royal mom of three – Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and Prince Louis, 10 months.

“And how critical it is, everyone looking after children at a critical time, teachers, parents, and everyone who’s caring for them, how important it is that we get it right,” she continued. “I didn’t know what some of the issues that perhaps we take for granted here as experts know about, but it’s being able to translate it to those who don’t have the training in a way that the points come across clearly.”

Kate Middleton
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Kate, 37, was curious if monitoring children’s mental health and well-being was part of current training for teachers.

“I know from a parent’s perspective it’s certainly not discussed, the importance of childhood development, and I know that’s a different challenge,” she said. “But also the importance of relationship building, empathy and resilience can also be taught and monitored at home as well.”

Kate Middleton, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte, Prince William and Prince George
| Credit: Matt Porteous

Moments before she was due to leave, Princess Kate told her staff she had prepared an “impromptu speech” to give the gathered delegates. Kate had been taking notes throughout the discussions and roundtable discussions and told them, “I wasn’t planning on making a speech, but I wanted to say a few words on reflection.”

She outlined how her growing experience in the area had made her realize the importance of tackling problems in kids’ early years.

“Over the last 8 years, working with charities I’ve met some of our leading experts in mental health, addiction, family breakdown, homelessness and education,” she said. “They have taught me over and over again that the root cause of so many of today’s social problems can be traced right back to the very earliest years of a person’s life and often over generations.”

She added, “What we have all been discussing here today really brings to light the vital role teachers are playing in supporting our youngest children’s mental health.”

Kate Middleton
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Kate emphasized that scientific research has proven that the first few years of a child’s life are highly important in their development and thanked everyone for their work to champion the issue.

“No one of us, however, can make a difference alone,” she said. “I feel so passionately about working together and being here today has affirmed to me just how much already is being done, so thank you to all of you who are prioritizing the importance of mental health and the importance of childhood development as a whole.”

She concluded, “I look forward to hearing how your discussions will lead to proactive steps and to an evermore resounding commitment to mentally healthy schools, teachers and children.”

Kate Middleton
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock
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Later on Wednesday, Kate will attend the 100 Women in Finance Gala Dinner in support of her “Mentally Healthy Schools” initiative.