Monday, 8 February 2016

"Every Child Deserves to be Supported Through Difficult Times" - Kate's Video Message for Children's Mental Health Week

The Duchess of Cambridge recorded a video message in support of Children's Mental Health Week in her role as patron of Place2Be. The video is available to view below or on YouTube.

In the video Kate says she and William want all children to get the support they need during difficult times to help them overcome challenges. The Duchess believes schools need to prioritize the mental wellbeing of their students in addition to academic success to allow every child to have a "firm foundation, for the happy, healthy future they deserve". The Duchess continued: "While we cannot always change a child's circumstances, we can give them tools to cope and thrive."

The highlight of the video for me was seeing Kate interact with a group of children from Salusbury Primary school in Queen's Park, London, who have benefited from Place2Be programmes. The Duchess asks the children: "Do you all talk to your friends about your feelings too? Sometimes there're things you probably don't feel like sharing with your friends but at least you've got an adult you can trust." A little boy asked Kate if she would have liked a Place2Be at school: "I would love to have had it. I think everyone would really benefit from having something like a Place2Be and being able to talk."

It is the third video message Kate has recorded since joining the Royal family. The first was released during Children's Hospice Week in support of East Anglia's Children's Hospices in 2013 and the second was also for Place2Be and released last year.

More from The Mirror's story:

'In the message released today, produced by BAFTA’s in-house production team, Kate says: "Every child deserves to grow up feeling confident that they won't fall at the first hurdle, that they cope with life's setbacks. This resilience - our ability to deal with stressful situations - is something we begin to learn in childhood, as we respond to each challenge and problem life presents.
Many of us are incredibly fortunate that the issues we face in childhood are ones we can cope with and learn from. But for some children, learning to cope with life's challenges can be a struggle," she continues. While we cannot always change a child's circumstances, we can give them the tools to cope, and to thrive. With early support they can learn to manage their emotions and feelings and know when to seek help. 
She adds: "Through my work in areas like addiction, I have seen time and again that the roots of poor mental health in adulthood frequently stem from unresolved childhood issues. This needs to change." Kate also highlights the vital role of schools in providing emotional support, saying: "Schools are uniquely placed to provide emotional support, working with children and their families - this is something that Place2Be understands.'

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be said "We are hugely grateful to The Duchess for helping to remove the stigma around children’s mental health and for shining a spotlight on the value of supporting children in school from an early age.”

More from Kensington Palace:

Children's Mental Health Week runs from 8-14 February this year and is focusing on the theme of "building resilience" and teaching children to bounce forward from life's challenges. Place2Be continues: "While we cannot always change children's circumstances, we can teach them the skills to cope with the difficulties life throws at them. Join us this week in helping children grow up with prospects not problems."


The statistics provide a wealth of evidence pointing to a significant need for early mental health support:

  • One in ten children aged between 5 and 16 years (three in every classroom) has a mental health problem, and many continue to have these problems into adulthood. Half of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14.
  • Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years.
  • One in five children have symptoms of depression and almost a third of 16 to 25-year-olds surveyed had thought about or attempted suicide.
  • Ten years ago, detailed estimates put the cost of mental health problems in England at £77 billion, including lost productivity and the wider impacts on wellbeing. More recent estimates suggest the costs may be closer to £105 billion.
  • Children are less likely to suffer from serious mental health difficulties in later life if they receive support at an early age, providing a cost saving to adult mental health services.
  • Growing evidence indicates that promoting positive mental health also improves a range of positive school outcomes, including enhanced academic progress, better attendance and lower exclusion rates. 

Kate became royal patron of Place2Be in April 2013 and since then has developed an increasing interest in young people's mental health and early intervention. I expect this is at least partly related to her involvement with the organisation through a number of engagements in which she has had the opportunity to meet those providing support and those benefiting from it.

In November, the Duchess attended the Place2Be headteacher conference where she gave a speech emphasising the need for early intervention: "Imagine if everyone was able to help just one child who needs to be listened to, needs to be respected, and needs to be loved – we could make such a huge difference for an entire generation." The focus on mental health will continue on 17 February when Kate welcomes a team from The Huffington Post to help raise awareness and launch a new initiative - Young Minds Matter.

If you're interested in supporting Children's Mental Health Week you can make a single donation or become a regular donor by clicking here. £7 could pay for a lunchtime drop in service while £95 could provide Place2Be's whole school services to a child for a year.


For those in the UK it's worth noting Place2Be are seeking volunteers for a range of roles including volunteer counsellors and administrative support. For those considering it, I volunteer whenever time permits with a fantastic organisation and have found it thoroughly rewarding and enriching. Seeing the level of dedication and commitment that simply goes into keeping the lights on through fundraising efforts and initiatives to provide the best service possible has been a real eye-opener concerning the struggles charities face. It's also been very inspiring and heartening to see first-hand the difference volunteering can make. It's a great way to give back to your community and hopefully helps make a difference.


I thought the video message was really very good; both interesting and engaging. It was also very professionally done and Kate appeared very confident, assured and very much at ease when talking to the children. I think it will be immensely helpful in terms of raising awareness for Children's Mental Health Week.

Readers will recognise Kate's Rebecca Taylor suit in the video. Kate first wore the jacket and skirt in April 2012 for the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole and more recently in New Zealand in 2014. The suit is from the designer's Pre-Fall 2012/2013 Collection. Both pieces are crafted in heavily textured melange weft. The jacket features frayed trim and sequin floral embellishment at the neck.

Kate accessorised with her sapphire and diamond earrings.

If you're just joining us today, a reminder the Duchess carried out her first engagement of the year with a service and reception for the RAF Air Cadets. Click here to view the post! After the engagement, Kate was seen by several onlookers boarding a helicopter from Kensington Palace to Anmer Hall.

Ashley quickly identified Kate's coat as the Mulberry Paddington Coat. The £990 coat is described as ""Mulberry's 'Paddington' coat is designed in a fresh sky-blue hue for fall. Classically tailored, this slightly loose style has been cut in Italy from a luxurious wool-blend with a tactile touch of mohair." The coat is from the A/W 2015 Collection and sold out. Kate appears to be carrying her Tusting Explorer Bag.

We've updated our George & Charlotte and Repli-Kate pages in recent days for those interested :)

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Duchess of Cambridge Carries Out First Engagement of 2016 with RAF Air Cadets

The Duchess of Cambridge carried out her first official appearance of 2016 this morning - marking the 75th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets with a service at St Clement Danes Church in London.

Since Christmas the Cambridges have been enjoying time at their country home Anmer Hall, with George settling into Montessori school and William reportedly eager to put in additional shifts with the East Anglian Air Ambulance. In a change from what has become something of a tradition, they didn't join the Middletons for their annual getaway to Mustique this year.

Richard Palmer reported a small crowd of about fifty people gathered in The Strand ahead of Kate's arrival.

The event marked Kate's first engagement as Honorary Air Commandant of the organisation. In December, the Duke of Edinburgh passed his patronage of the RAF Air Cadets to Kate, after 63 years serving as Air Commodore-in-Chief. It is understood today is the first of a series of appearances on behalf of the cadets the Duchess will attend throughout the year.

A photo from inside the service.

The Duchess was all smiles as she joined in singing a hymn.

The RAF Air Cadets, which is made up of the Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force promotes a practical interest in aviation among young men and women, providing training while encouraging the development of life skills including leadership and teamwork.

The organisation currently comprises 42,000 air cadets aged 12-19, and 15,000 adult volunteers across the UK and abroad. It was first established in 1941 during the Second World War, with the aim to train young men in aviation skills before they joined the RAF.

The history of St Clement Danes Church is a rather fascinating one. Although It was reputedly founded in the 9th century by the Danes, the current building was completed in 1682 by the highly acclaimed English architect Sir Christopher Wren. The building was gutted during the blitz in 1941. Following an appeal for funds by the Royal Air Force, the church was completely restored. It was re-consecrated on 19 October 1958 to become the Central Church of the Royal Air Force.

As part of the rebuilding a Latin inscription was added under the Royal Coat of Arms. It translates as "Built by Christopher Wren 1682. Destroyed by the thunderbolts of air warfare 1941. Restored by the Royal Air Force 1958".

Outside the church stand statues of two of the RAF's wartime leaders Hugh Dowding and Arthur "Bomber" Harris. Indeed the latter is controversially steeped in history. The erection of the statue of Harris due to his responsibility for the bombing of Dresden and other German cities led to protests.

When the late Queen Mother unveiled the statue in 1992 she looked surprised when she was jeered by protesters. The statue had to be guarded round the clock for some time after that as it was frequently sprayed with grafitti. The inscription on the statue reads: "The Nation owes them all an immense debt."

A look inside the Church.

A message from Kate was included in the programme for the service.

Betony Kelly Instagram

Afterwards, Kate attended a reception held nearby at the Royal Courts of Justice.

It offered an opportunity for the Air Cadets to introduce their new patron, and for the Duchess to learn more about their numerous programmes and activities by meeting a selection of current cadets, veterans and adult volunteers.

Kate cuts the cake with the youngest cadet.

During the reception, Kate revealed George wants to be an RAF Air Cadet. More from the Express story:

'She told cadet Lucinda Conder, 19, that she had shown George, who is two and a half, pictures of Spitfires after a royal engagement. He is now obsessed with the air cadets and wants to join," said Ms Conder, a medical student from Hammersmith in west London, who was the top female cadet of 2015. "We are going to have to push that one when he gets to age 12.'

The Duchess brought back her popular cornflower blue Alexander McQueen coat for the engagement.

Today's outing marks the third time Kate has publicly worn it. She debuted it in Blenheim, New Zealand during the royal tour 2014 and chose it two months later for 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in Normandy. The bespoke belted piece with large pockets looks great on Kate.

Kate selected a stylish hat by Lock & Co. The Duchess first wore the piece at Richard Meade's memorial last March, and it's interesting to see it in its entirety today. On another note, how many of you are pleased to see the return of Kate's longer hair? I must admit I am. :)

Initially it was thought Kate debuted another new pair of Gianvito Rossi pumps 


On closer inspection, it appears they are the Rupert Sanderson Malory Heels (with thanks to Farzana and What Kate Wore). The $675 pumps are described as "A perennial classic, Malory returns for the new season in opulent navy suede. Loved for a sultry 100mm heel and forever-chic pointed toe, this signature court will complement on-duty tailoring and occasion dresses alike.".

Rupert Sanderson

Very appropriately the Duchess accessorised the Air Cadets Dacre Brooch. The brooch is considered the highest award any female Air Cadet can achieve and is awarded annually. I expect Kate will wear the brooch many times in the future in her role as patron. It's a beautiful, colourful piece.

Below we see Bridget Donaldson receiving her brooch in 2014. Chosen in her role as a Morpeth Air Cadet she said: "I really feel that achieving the award is more of a credit to the staff of the Squadron as I could not have achieved it without all the help I've received from so many people along the way. I really hope now I can give something back to our cadets, to help them realize that there’s so much more they can all achieve."

The Duchess carried her navy suede Russell & Bromley clutch and matching gloves.

Kate completed the look with her unidentified diamond and aquamarine drop earrings.

You can watch a video from the engagement on You Tube.

It was lovely to see Kate out and about today!


In other news, with the royal tour roughly just two months away, we're beginning to hear details and possible dates trickle in. British Royals shared an article from Daily Excelsior claiming William and Kate will tour India from April 10 - 17. That sounds about right from everything I've heard. I understand it will be a shorter tour than previous ones lasting about a week. More from the article:

'Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton are expected to visit Taj Mahal in April this year. This would be the first visit to the monument by a member of the British Royal family after 24 years. Princess Diana, mother of Prince William, visited the monument in 1992. An advance team from the British high commission held a meeting with Agra officials here on Thursday to review the security system and other arrangements for the couple.'

We know the Cambridges will also visit Bhutan during their tour, which is why it was lovely to see Kensington Palace congratulating the king and queen on the birth of their son. The Palace said: "The Duke and Duchess are very much looking forward to congratulating Their Majesties in person when they visit Bhutan." It's wonderful news for the couple and no doubt a joyous time.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

As you've probably heard Kensington Palace released a date for Kate's engagement with The Huffington Post - Wednesday, 17 February. More details were shared in this article including plans to launch a new initiative - Young Minds Matter:

'On 17 February, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge, will join editors at HuffPost UK as guest editor to specifically help raise awareness of this issue and help us launch Young Minds Matter. Using the hashtag #youngmindsmatter we will discuss the problems, causes and also most importantly the solutions to the stigma surrounding the UK's mental health crisis among children.
 Finding solutions is a core value of The Huffington Post globally, which we express through our What's Working approach to news. As Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, says: "What's Working is about consistently telling the stories of people and communities doing amazing things, overcoming great odds and coming up with solutions to the very real challenges they face. And by shining a light on these stories, we hope that we can scale up these solutions and create a positive contagion." That's our aim with #youngmindsmatter.
Under guidance from Kensington Palace, my team has been working on a series of original articles, blogs and videos commissioned by the Duchess. They all aim to inspire families and teachers to lead the conversation with children about mental health, so youngsters feel loved, valued and listened to.'

Finally, it was disappointing to hear King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia's state visit to the UK has been cancelled due to political uncertainty in Spain. While nothing was confirmed, it was very much understood the Cambridges would be involved in some capacity. Hopefully the king and queen will be able to reschedule at a later date this year.

We should see Kate's video message for Children's Mental Health Week later today.