Kate Middleton is having a busy Commonwealth Day — in addition to a reunion with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, she’s playing host!
Just hours after attending the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey with the rest of the royal family — including Prince Harry and Meghan in their first public reunion since the couple relocated to Canada — the Duchess of Cambridge hosted a Buckingham Palace reception on Monday. The event was in celebration of Kate’s patronage Place2Be‘s 25th anniversary.
The royal mom changed from her red coat and matching headpiece into a glamorous blue gown with lace sleeves. She let her hair down for the reception after having it in an intricate updo for the daytime ceremony.
Kate met two school choirs performing at the event and Place2Be supporters.
She also gave a rare speech, talking about her history with the organization.
“Place2Be was one of the first charities I became patron of. I knew it was special then, but having spent many years since, learning about the importance of childhood development, I see even more the value in the work that you do and I am hugely grateful for all that you have taught me over the past seven years,” Kate said. “You taught me, right from the start, that the children in your schools are only as happy and emotionally strong as the adults in their care. That is why you take such great pride in the work you do with your teachers and your parents.”
She continued, “You taught me the importance of creating safe and nurturing environments within schools, embracing a holistic view of emotional well-being which permeates through the whole school system. You also taught me that it’s the simplest things that make a difference to children. It’s the quality time that is spent with them. It’s the time you take to listen to them. It is trusting relationships that have the most profound impact on the emotional and mental well-being of a child.”
Place2Be — which provides mental health counseling support and training to schools to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and staff — has been a key cause for Kate since she became their patron in 2013. It combines her passions of mental well-being and children’s development in the early years.
Over the past 25 years, more than 250,000 children and their families have been directly supported by Place2Be, which currently works with 639 schools across the UK.
Kate has met pupils, families and staff at Place2Be partner schools to see the vital work being done by the charity. Place2Be has also collaborated with The Royal Foundation on a number of projects: they are a charity partner for the Heads Together Campaign and Mentally Healthy Schools website, in addition to working with Shout — a free, 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis that launched last year.
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Kate has spent eight years immersing herself in the research and new thinking about the early years of childhood development. Recently, she launched a groundbreaking survey about early childhood. The U.K.-wide initiative, called the 5 Big Questions on the Under Fives, will collect valuable data to formulate a report for Princess Kate and the Royal Foundation. The findings are expected to help guide Kate in her public work in the area for many years ahead.
“I have listened to experts, academics, practitioners and service providers who work every day to make our families and communities stronger,” she said upon launching the survey. “I wanted to dig deeper to understand issues we face and how best to tackle them together.”
Earlier in the day, Kate joined Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family at Westminster Abbey for the annual Commonwealth Day service.
In their brief interaction, Harry and Meghan smiled and greeted William and Kate. William and Kate both offered brief hellos before taking their seats in front.
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