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The Princess of Wales made a stylish splash in a red trouser suit as she launched the next stage of her campaign to shine a spotlight on the crucial ‘early years’ of childhood.

She kicked off her new ‘Shaping Us’ initiative tonight – which will see an ambitious advertising blitz in cinemas and on billboards the length and breadth of the country – with a glitzy reception at BAFTA in London.

It was attended by newly-appointed ‘champions’ from the world of music, science, sport, celebrity and academia including presenter Rochelle Humes, England women football captain Leah Williamson and broadcaster Fearne Cotton.

Kate, 41, who was accompanied by her proud husband, Prince William, looked effortlessly elegant in her Studio 54-inspired suit with flared trousers, vertiginous heels and chandelier -style earrings.

The Princess of Wales (pictured) looked confident as she made her way into the event at BAFTA tonight accompanied by her husband the Prince of Wales

The Princess of Wales (pictured) looked confident as she made her way into the event at BAFTA tonight accompanied by her husband the Prince of Wales 

Host Kate Silverton, the television presenter who has retrained as a child therapist, praised the Princess for her ‘ardent dedication’ and championing of the issue.

Presenter Rochelle Humes revealed that she had brought her daughter, Alaia, to the event ‘on a school night’.

‘There’s only one reason that she’s here,’ she teased, looking at the Princess, ‘and….it’s your hair. She has the best hair, mum!’  

Rochelle Humes, also spoke of being brought up by her mother, a single parent.

She said: ‘She [my mother] taught me, protected me, cuddled me when I was upset and – please believe me – in equal measure corrected me when I was wrong. She taught me that anything was possible and that if you don’t ask, you don’t get.’

As well as being spearheaded by the Princess (pictured) Shaping Us has support from a range of high-profile figures from the world of media, music, science and sports

As well as being spearheaded by the Princess (pictured) Shaping Us has support from a range of high-profile figures from the world of media, music, science and sports

Kate (pictured arriving at the event) explained why she believes it is as important to focus on children's’ social and emotional needs as much as their physical and cognitive ones during a speech

Kate (pictured arriving at the event) explained why she believes it is as important to focus on children’s’ social and emotional needs as much as their physical and cognitive ones during a speech 

In her own speech, Kate explained why she believes it is as important to focus on children’s’ social and emotional needs as much as their physical and cognitive ones, saying : ‘The campaign is fundamentally about shining a spotlight on the critical importance of early childhood and how it shapes the adults we become. 

‘During this time we lay the foundations and building blocks for life. And it is when we learn to understand ourselves, understand others and understand the world in which we live.

‘This is why it is essential, to not only understand the unique importance of our earliest years, but to know what we can all do to help raise future generations of happy, healthy adults.

‘Those involved in raising children today need the very best information and support in helping to achieve this mission – and this campaign aims to help do that too.

‘By building a supportive, nurturing world around children and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to generations to come. 

‘Because fundamentally healthy, happy children shape a healthy, happy future.’ 

As well as being spearheaded by the Princess, Shaping Us has support from a range of high-profile figures from the world of media, music, science and sports.

Among those attending the event were the rapper Professor Green, the DJ Jax Jones, the former rugby player Ugo Monye, the podcaster Giovanna Fletcher and the former Love Island contestant Zara McDermott. 

Footballer Leah Williamson also attended, saying she is ‘very passionate’ about the importance of the early years.

She added: ‘I’m very much of a belief that we always try to fix things but why not be preventative? If we don’t want people to experience hardship later on in their life, how can we help them when they need us? 

Prince William (pictured, left) appeared to be smiling at his wife as the couple attended the launch event in central London tonight

Prince William (pictured, left) appeared to be smiling at his wife as the couple attended the launch event in central London tonight

Rochelle Humes (pictured) was a presenter at tonight's event - and she revealed she had brought her daughter too, saying she did so 'despite it being a school night'

Rochelle Humes (pictured) was a presenter at tonight’s event – and she revealed she had brought her daughter too, saying she did so ‘despite it being a school night’

‘In those years they need us so I think it’s an amazing thing to start raising awareness. We won’t see the fruits of this tomorrow or next year, but in years to come. I hope that we are in a better position because of things like this.’

After speaking to Prince William, president of the FA, she said it was the first time she had seen him since winning the Euros.

Princess of Wales’ Shaping Us launch speech in full 

Good evening. Thank you, Amanda, and Lokki once again for that wonderful performance.

This week sees the launch of our new awareness raising campaign, Shaping Us.

The campaign is fundamentally about shining a spotlight on the critical importance of early childhood and how it shapes the adults we become.

During this time we lay the foundations and building blocks for life.

It is when we learn to understand ourselves, understand others and understand the world in which we live.

This is why it is essential, to not only understand the unique importance of our earliest years, but to know what we can all do to help raise future generations of happy, healthy adults.

Shaping Us is a long-term campaign, and we’re starting by highlighting how we develop during early childhood and why these years matter so much in terms of shaping who we become.

As the campaign progresses, we will explore in more depth the importance of a child’s social and emotional world, the significance of relationships, and the impact of the surroundings and experiences a child is exposed to during these formative years.

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Together these play a key role in shaping our future lives. Yet they rarely get as much focus as our physical health and cognitive development.

And of course, by understanding our own childhoods – what has shaped our own beliefs, relationships, behaviours and feelings – we, as adults, are better placed to play our part in positively shaping future generations.

Those involved in raising children today need the very best of information and support in helping to achieve this mission – and this campaign aims to help do that too.

I want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to so many of you in this room, for your ongoing work in this area.

Thank you for the years of dedication and your unfailing determination to advocate for and improve the lives of the very youngest members of our society.

And thank you also to many of you in this room this evening, for your personal support to me in helping me develop my thinking and work on this issue over the years.

As you all know, by building a supportive, nurturing world around children and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to generations to come.

Because fundamentally healthy, happy children shape a healthy, happy future.

Thank you.

 

‘We both just said that we were both very, very near to tears. I think everybody in the stadium was at that point before we lifted the trophy.’

During the evening, a short film was screened to launch the campaign, highlighting how babies and children develop in response to their earliest experiences. 

The multi-media campaign is part of a major push by the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood – set up by the princess, then Duchess of Cambridge, in June 2021 – to raise awareness of how our early years mould our lives. 

It is set to run for at least five years, and has been described by a Kensington Palace spokesman as the princess’s ‘life’s work’. 

The Princess spoke passionately about the campaign in an open letter published in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday, in which she set out her plan for ‘Shaping Us’.

She wrote the impassioned plea on her laptop as she was preparing for the campaign launch, which starts with a week-long publicity blitz, including tonight’s event at BAFTA.  

Kate gave a sneak preview of the Shaping Us campaign – which a spokesperson for described as ‘her life’s work’ – with a short video on social media.

In the 50-second film, her hands are seen opening a photograph album with a blank cover. 

Inside, next to a picture of an adult man she writes the question: ‘What shapes us?’ 

On other pages we see photos of families, an ultrasound scan and a pregnant woman. 

When Kate removes a picture of a little girl from the album, it reveals the words: ‘Our early childhood shapes the adults we become.’

It is the start of what Kensington Palace is hoping will be a huge multi-media push to raise awareness of how our early years mould our lives.

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The campaign is a bold, more public direction for the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, set up by the Princess, then Duchess of Cambridge, in June 2021.

Reports produced by the centre have revealed that the first five years shape future wellbeing more than any other stage of development, with our brains growing faster than at any other time. 

However, many people remain unaware of this fact. 

Now the centre is taking its work to the wider public. 

It also hopes to ‘break the cycle’ for parents who experienced difficult childhoods themselves.

Palace aides say the idea for the project began even before Kate became a mother.

The Princess explains in today’s letter that ‘as a society, we currently spend much more of our time and energy on later life.

She wrote: ‘I am delighted to reveal that the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood will launch a major new awareness-raising campaign, highlighting the critical importance the first five years of our lives have on shaping the adults we become.

‘During our very early childhood, our brains develop at an amazing rate – faster than at any other time. 

‘Our experiences, relationships, and surroundings at that young age, shape the rest of our lives. It is a time where we lay the foundations and building blocks for life. 

‘It is when we learn to understand ourselves, understand others and understand the world in which we live. But as a society, we currently spend much more of our time and energy on later life. I am absolutely determined that this long-term campaign is going to change that.

In an open letter published by the Mail On Sunday announcing the campaign, Kate (pictured) wrote that 'we all need to know the critical importance of our early childhood'

In an open letter published by the Mail On Sunday announcing the campaign, Kate (pictured) wrote that ‘we all need to know the critical importance of our early childhood’

‘It will start by highlighting how we develop during early childhood and why these years matter so much in terms of shaping who we become. 

‘I will be joined by a remarkable group of experts spanning science, research, policy making and front-line practice as well as an exciting group of well-known faces from music, sport and television, to show all of us, why it is in all of our interests to care about this.

‘We all need to know the critical importance of our early childhood. They really are years like no other in our lives. 

‘I urge everyone reading this, to take the opportunity to learn more about this incredible time of life, to think back to your own childhood and how it shaped you, and most importantly, to ask yourselves what you can do to make the world a more supportive and loving place for our children.

‘Because healthy, happy children shape a healthy, happy future.’

 

 

 

 

 

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