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The Princess of Wales has urged business leaders to prioritise wellbeing in the workplace to support family life as she launched a business taskforce on early childhood. 

Kate Middleton, 41, looked elegant as she arrived at NatWest’s headquarters in the City of London this morning.

The mother–of-three is hoping global firms who have joined her taskforce will be the catalyst for change and encourage firms across the country to train and help staff to maintain their social and emotional welfare, aiding their work and home life. 

The future Queen joined the inaugural meeting of the taskforce, whose members include Unilever, Ikea, NatWest and Lego, an initiative which follows the launch of her Shaping Us project, described as her ‘life’s work’ and aimed at raising the profile of youngsters’ early years development. 

She rewore a smart white £1,945 Alexander McQueen blazer for the occasion, which she paired with an chic pair of black trousers and stiletto heels. 

The Princess of Wales proved she is the queen of business chic today as she brought together some of the biggest firms in the UK to create a new ¿taskforce¿ to back her campaign to prioritise early childhood

The Princess of Wales proved she is the queen of business chic today as she brought together some of the biggest firms in the UK to create a new ‘taskforce’ to back her campaign to prioritise early childhood

The royal mother-of-three is determined to transform the way society views the importance of the early years from birth to five in shaping society and is now taking her initiative to the City

The royal mother-of-three is determined to transform the way society views the importance of the early years from birth to five in shaping society and is now taking her initiative to the City

The royal mother-of-three swept her brunette locks into a bouncy blow dry for the occasion, and opted for a neutral makeup look.

With a sweep of eyeliner and a touch of blusher, she appeared every inch the city professional during the engagement. 

She has worn Alexander McQueen – one of her favourite fashion brands – on numerous occasions, most notably choosing its creative director Sarah Burton to design her wedding dress.

Online, the blazer is described as ‘a testament to Alexander McQueen’s expert tailoring skills’ with ‘strong shoulders’.

The designer describes it as ‘perfect for a city hall wedding.’

She first wore the jacket in Jamaica, in March last year, during her and Prince William’s Caribbean tour, before again sporting the outfit to attend a series of engagements to mark Windrush Day in London. 

Proving she’s a Queen at colour co-ordination, the Duchess paired the ensemble with a white blouse.

Speaking to a group of chief executive officers in the boardroom at NatWest bank’s headquarters in the City of London, the princess told them she believed there were two things needed ‘to really transform society for generations to come’.

‘The first is to prioritise creating working environments that provide the support and training your workforce needs to cultivate and maintain its own social and emotional wellbeing.

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‘This will benefit them personally and professionally as well as creating a better working culture within your organisations.

‘Given most of your workforce have a role to play in raising the next generation at home, it will also transform the experience of the very youngest in society too.

Among those who the Princess joined in the meeting were Aviva chief executive officer Amanda Blanc and Lego UK & Ireland vice president Christian Pau

Among those who the Princess joined in the meeting were Aviva chief executive officer Amanda Blanc and Lego UK & Ireland vice president Christian Pau

The royal mother-of-three swept her brunette locks into a bouncy blow dry for the occasion, and opted for a neutral makeup look

The royal mother-of-three swept her brunette locks into a bouncy blow dry for the occasion, and opted for a neutral makeup look

Proving she's a Queen at colour co-ordination, the Duchess paired the ensemble with a white blouse.

Proving she's a Queen at colour co-ordination, the Duchess paired the ensemble with a white blouse.

Proving she’s a Queen at colour co-ordination, the Duchess paired the ensemble with a white blouse

During the meeting of her new business taskforce, the Princess gave a speech to the gathered leaders

During the meeting of her new business taskforce, the Princess gave a speech to the gathered leaders 

Meanwhile Alison Rose also delivered a speech during the meeting of business leaders earlier today

Meanwhile Alison Rose also delivered a speech during the meeting of business leaders earlier today 

‘The second is a more concentrated effort in supporting the social and emotional development of our youngest children. Because as with most human development, the key time to build these social and emotional skills in the first place is in the first five years.

‘I know businesses are feeling the pressure across the board. However, I truly believe that by investing in early childhood, with a specific focus on social and emotional development, businesses in turn will see in the future … better communication, better working relationships, improved resilience, employees finding better work-life balance, less stress, more patience and understanding and increased job satisfaction.’

She described how business had a role to play in ensuring the protection of what she described as ‘social ecosystems’, just as how many executives had embraced the net zero target.

It is hoped the taskforce will produce a set of broad principles that could be adopted by businesses wanting to help promote wellbeing in the workplace.

Kate also told the executives gathered around the boardroom table: ‘I know many of you are already doing incredible work in this area, not only through supporting parents in the workplace but also prioritising diversity and inclusion, as well as the general wellbeing of your staff, customers and communities.

‘It is and will remain, important to find new ways of adapting to your workforces, especially given that many are parents, carers and extended family members, and we know that the wellbeing of the adults in a child’s life is the single most important factor in the healthy development of children.’

Run by business, for business, Kensington Palace said the business taskforce will play an ‘essential role’ in The Princess of Wales’ work to transform the way in which society prioritises and supports children in their earliest years.

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In a statement it said: ‘Early childhood is vital to the health of our economy and society, now and for generations to come. 

‘Given the key role of the business community in both the growth of our economy and in shaping our society, as well as the clear interest in developing a strong future workforce, this is an opportunity to come together to affect long-term change.’

The Taskforce will hold its inaugural meeting today at NatWest’s headquarters in the City of London, building on the recent launch of the princess’ Shaping Us initiative.

The campaign has been inspired by Kate’s public work in areas such as mental health, addiction , homelessness and violence and social exclusion.

She began to realise the huge impact early childhood experiences have on individuals in later life and has vowed to spend the rest of her own career working to better them through information and support for parents, educators and carers.

Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales said: ‘We all have a role to play in building a supportive and nurturing world around children and those who care for them, and it is fantastic to see business leaders placing the subject of early childhood at the heart of their organisations. 

The campaign has been inspired by Kate¿s public work in areas such as mental health, addiction , homelessness and violence and social exclusion

The campaign has been inspired by Kate’s public work in areas such as mental health, addiction , homelessness and violence and social exclusion

With a sweep of eyeliner and a touch of blusher, she appeared every inch the city professional during the engagement

With a sweep of eyeliner and a touch of blusher, she appeared every inch the city professional during the engagement

With a sweep of eyeliner and a touch of blusher, she appeared every inch the city professional during the engagement

The Taskforce will hold its inaugural meeting today at NatWest¿s headquarters in the City of London, building on the recent launch of the princess¿ Shaping Us initiative

The Taskforce will hold its inaugural meeting today at NatWest’s headquarters in the City of London, building on the recent launch of the princess’ Shaping Us initiative

The Princess, who opted to wear her favourite designer Alexander McQueen for the engagement today, was beaming with excitement as she arrived

The Princess, who opted to wear her favourite designer Alexander McQueen for the engagement today, was beaming with excitement as she arrived

The Princess, who opted to wear her favourite designer Alexander McQueen for the engagement today, was beaming with excitement as she arrived 

The royal mother-of-three was animated as she spoke with NatWest chief executive officer Alison Rose  upon her arrival at their headquarters

The royal mother-of-three was animated as she spoke with NatWest chief executive officer Alison Rose  upon her arrival at their headquarters

She rewore a smart white £1,945 Alexander McQueen blazer for the occasion, which she paired with an chic pair of black trousers and stiletto heels

She rewore a smart white £1,945 Alexander McQueen blazer for the occasion, which she paired with an chic pair of black trousers and stiletto heels

She rewore a smart white £1,945 Alexander McQueen blazer for the occasion, which she paired with an chic pair of black trousers and stiletto heels

‘Businesses play a key role within society and with their huge reach to their employees, consumer and the wider community, their involvement can have a transformative impact on the health and happiness of generations to come.’

NatWest Group Chief Executive, Dame Alison Rose, added: ‘I am delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales, and leaders from a wide range of sectors to our headquarters for the inaugural meeting of the Business Taskforce for Early Childhood. 

‘This is a critical issue for the future growth and success of our businesses, our economy and our society.

‘As business leaders, we have an important responsibility to the colleagues, customers and communities we serve. 

‘This Taskforce can deliver positive change by bringing together a wealth of experience across the private sector to help provide the support and resources that young children and their carers need to thrive.’

Since taking on her new title as Princess of Wales, Kate has made sure one thing has remained at the top of her priority list – the mental health of younger generations in the UK. 

Since assuming her new title following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, many of the Princess’s public engagements have been centred around mental wellbeing of children, young people and adults, from leading a news broadcast about teenage mental health on BBC Radio 1 to a visit to a neonatal unit in Surrey which looks after new mothers. 

The creation of the Business Taskforce for Early Childhood follows the launch of Shaping Us earlier this year.

The multi-media campaign was part of a major push by the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, set up by the princess 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 Mail on Sunday in January, 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 last night’s event at BAFTA.

Reports produced by the Early Childhood 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 this time then any other.

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.

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