The Duchess of Cambridge stopped off in Cardiff today for her second visit on a three-leg trip around Britain over 24 hours to launch a landmark survey on early childhood development.
Mother-of-three Kate, 38, visited the Welsh capital this morning to attend a baby sensory class at the Ely and Careau Children’s Centre where she will hear about the support that parents receive.
The centre provides support services to children and their families and helps youngsters with special needs in addition to offering adult education, parenting support and community education teams.
Open access play, breakfast, after-school activities and holiday clubs are also housed in the centre, as well as health visitors, speech and language therapists and partners such as Sure Start and Language and Play.
The centre also works with community partners such as the Salvation Army and Barnardo’s. Kate, who will also visit Surrey this afternoon, hopes her new initiative will trigger ‘lasting change for generations’.
Her visit comes as the Duchess of Sussex’s aides revealed in an Instagram post that she made a secret visit to The Mayhew animal welfare charity in Kensal Green, North West London, while in the capital two weeks ago.
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives in Cardiff to visit the Ely and Careau Children’s Centre during her 24-hour tour of Britain
Mother-of-three Kate visits the Welsh capital today to attend a baby sensory class at the Ely and Careau Children’s Centre
Kate speaks with Morfudd Meredith, Lord-Lieutenant of South Glamorgan as she arrives at the centre in Cardiff today
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a visit to Ely and Caerau Children’s Centre in Cardiff this morning
Kate, pictured in Cardiff today, has established a steering group of experts to look at the issue of early years development
Kate, pictured in Cardiff today, described early years development as life’s most ‘crucial’ moment for ‘future health’
The Duchess of Cambridge is in Cardiff today during her nationwide tour, which provides high quality early years education
Kate visits the centre in Cardiff today which houses open access play, breakfast, after-school activities and holiday clubs
She kicked off her solo tour in Birmingham yesterday, but there was a minor hiccup in a children’s play cafe when the door of a cupboard under a sink came off in her hands. Kate joked: ‘I think we’ve broken the cafe.’
Kate was raising awareness of the poll Five Big Questions on the Under Fives – thought to be the largest of its kind in the UK.
Speaking at Birmingham’s science museum, she said: ‘As a parent, I know how much we cherish the future health and happiness of our children. I want to hear the key issues affecting families and communities so I can focus my work on where it is needed most. My ambition is to provide lasting change for generations to come.’
Kate got a tour of an interactive, child-sized mini-city at the Thinktank museum by ‘mini mayor’ Poppy Jordan, eight. Children showed her their workshop before popping into the launderette, a shop and a mini-museum.
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Ely and Careau Children’s Centre in Cardiff today during her 24-hour tour of the country
Kate is on a 24-hour tour of the UK which is seeing her visit Cardiff today (pictured) following a trip to Birmingham yesterday
Adult education, play, breakfast and after-school clubs and holiday clubs are all housed in the centre in Cardiff
Kate visits the centre in Cardiff today which also works with community partners such as the Salvation Army and Barnardo’s
The Duchess of Cambridge visits Ely and Careau Children’s Centre in Cardiff today during her 24-hour UK tour
The centre in Cardiff provides support services to children and their families and helps youngsters with special needs
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Ely and Careau Childrens Centre in Cardiff today during her 24-hour UK tour
The centre in Cardiff being visited by Kate today has health visitors as well as speech and language therapists
The duchess said: ‘Parents, carers and families are at the heart of caring for children in the formative years, so that is why I really want to listen to them. The early years are more crucial for future health and happiness than any other moment in our lifetime.’
Five Big Questions on the Under Fives: Kate’s poll
Question 1: What do you believe is most important for children growing up in the UK today to be able to live a happy adult life?
- Good physical and mental health
- Good friendships and relationships
- Access to opportunities
- Access to a good education
- Question 2: Which of these statements is closest to your opinion?
- It is primarily the responsibility of parents to give children aged up to five the best chance of health and happiness
- It is primarily the responsibility of others in society
- It is the shared responsibility of parents and others in society
- Don’t know
Question 3: How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: The mental health and well-being of parents and carers has a great impact on the development of their child(ren)?
- Strongly agree
- Tend to agree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Tend to disagree
- Strongly disagree
Question 4: Which of the following is closest to your opinion of what influences how children develop from the start of pregnancy to age five?
- Mostly the traits a child is born with
- Mostly the experiences of a child in the early years
- Both nature and nurture equally
- Don’t know
Question 5: Which period of a child and young person’s life do you think is the most important for fostering health and happiness in adulthood?
- Start of pregnancy to five years
- 5-11 years
- 11-16 years
- 16-18 years
- 18-24 years
- Don’t know
- All equally important
Extra question: Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about your views on the early years of childhood?
Meanwhile, at St James’s Palace, her husband William called for help to end the ‘abhorrent’ illegal wildlife trade at a meeting of the United For Wildlife taskforces.
The Duke of Cambridge said it had been an ‘encouraging’ year of seizures and investigations. But he warned: ‘There are still too many criminals who know they can find a market and believe they can act with impunity.’
The Duchess described the early years development of children as life’s most ‘crucial’ moment for ‘future health and happiness’ as she launched the landmark national survey about the issue.
Kate has made the subject one of the main pillars of her public work and has travelled around Britain to highlight her ambitious project to ask ‘five big questions on the under fives’ which will guide her future work.
The online poll, conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Royal Foundation, is thought to be the biggest survey of its kind and aims to encourage a nationwide conversation on early childhood.
Kate has established a steering group of experts, which first met in May 2018, to look at early years – and they have been considering how the duchess and her Royal Foundation can help improve the outcomes for youngsters.
The duchess’s survey will run for a month, from January 21 to February 21, and will ask those taking the poll five questions to gauge their views about early years.
During the visit, Kate also met Giovanna Fletcher, behind the Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast, who has also written about being a mother to three children with husband Tom Fletcher, a member of the band McFly.
Jasmine Norris, assistant nursery manager at St Paul’s Nursery in the Balsall Heath area of Birmingham, brought eight of her children to the event and chatted to the duchess.
She said: ‘I think early years is vital, incredibly important. I think we help the children to move on into their future education, and their lives. We want them to be the best they can be – we want to prepare them for life.’
David Holmes, chief executive of Family Action, which helps families in need and has Kate as its royal patron, joined the duchess at her launch event.
He said: ‘Every parent, carer and family wants the best for their child, and raising the profile of the vital early years in a child’s life is work of national importance.
‘The insight from this survey will give the early years sector valuable direction in designing and delivering services and support which reflect what matters most to people.’
Kate’s brother-in-law Prince Harry joined Meghan and Archie in Canada on Monday night after arriving on a WestJet plane on Vancouver Island as they prepare to live a more private life.
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives in Cardiff today as she carries out a 24-hour tour of the country to launch her new survey
Kate, who is visiting the centre in Cardiff this morning, hopes her new initiative will trigger ‘lasting change for generations’
The Duchess of Cambridge stops off in Cardiff today for her second visit on a three-leg trip around Britain over 24 hours
The Duchess of Sussex’s aides revealed today that she visited The Mayhew centre in North West London two weeks ago
The Sussex Royal Instagram account posted two pictures of Meghan on a visit to the centre in Kensal Green two weeks ago
The post on @SussexRoyal today mentioned the ‘incredible progress made throughout the festive period’ at the centre
Meghan’s aides revealed today that she visited The Mayhew centre in Kensal Green, North West London, two weeks ago to hear about the ‘incredible progress made throughout the festive period’.
The Sussex Royal Instagram account posted two photographs this morning of her during a visit to the centre, where she has been a patron for a year.
The timing of the post was noted by several people commenting on the post, with Liyana Ali saying: ‘Someone is so insecure that every time the Cambridges or Kate is out for an important engagement they’ve posted on the exact same day. Coincidence?’
Another, @xmaurxx, said: ‘So you had these pictures for almost a month but released them during the release of Kate’s project? Interesting.’
And a third, @p_hello123, posted: ‘Hmm. The timing of this post, even though the visit has passed already, is very interesting.’
The Duchess of Cambridge launches a major UK-wide survey on early childhood at Birmingham Science Museum yesterday
Children from Henley Montessori and St Paul’s Nursery in Balsall Heath showed Kate their workshop in Birmingham yesterday
Prince Harry smiles after arriving on a WestJet plane at Victoria Airport on Vancouver Island in Canada on Monday night
Meghan took her eight-month-old son Archie and her two dogs Oz and Guy for a walk on Vancouver Island on Monday
Harry arrived in Canada hours after meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson and world leaders at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in South East London, in one of his few remaining official royal engagements.
The duke gave an emotional speech in London on Sunday night, saying he had ‘no other option’ but to give up his official royal duties and forge a new life in Canada.
In the speech in London, Harry told invited guests: ‘What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you. Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.’
The Sussexes had wanted to remain as working royals, although not prominent members, and drop their public funding to become financially independent. However, critics have accused the couple of turning their backs on the monarchy to enjoy the freedom of being able to take on commercial ventures.
Meanwhile in Switzerland today, Prince Charles will launch a project to help financial markets become more sustainable during a visit to the World Economic Forum.
Charles will highlight his Sustainable Markets Council during a brief visit to the Swiss resort town of Davos. He will then travel on to Israel and Palestine for an official trip.