The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton has opened up about her happy and healthy childhood, saying that she was "lucky" to grow up with such supportive parents. Kate was speaking at the Head Teacher School Conference run by Place2Be, a charity she supports, when she gave an insight into her early life.
The conference – entitled "My Head Is Too Full" – was being held to discuss what schools can do to support children's mental health.
Kate said she was lucky to have teachers and parents who gave her a "wonderful" childhood
"I often get asked why I decided to spend time highlighting the mental health of children," said Kate. "My answer might be similar to many of yours."
"I was lucky," she said. "My parents and teachers provided me with a wonderful and secure childhood where I always knew I was loved, valued and listened to.
"But of course many children are not so lucky. Since beginning my work in areas like addiction, for example, I have seen time and time again that the roots of poor mental health in adulthood are almost always present in unresolved childhood challenges."
The 33-year-old mum was attending a conference to promote children's mental health
Kate added that even children from safe, stable homes are finding that "their heads are just too full".
"Children deserve time, attention and love from the adults in their lives," said the Duchess. "It is our duty, as parents and as teachers, to give all children the space to build their emotional strength and provide a strong foundation for their future."
"Of course, not all children have the anchor of a strong family. Many will arrive through your school gates feeling a real lack of love and devotion in their lives. This often leaves them feeling insecure and without confidence and trust in the world around them."
Kate has been a royal patron of Place2Be since 2013
Kate ended her speech by outlining that early intervention prevents problems later in life. "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," she said.
Kate, who was wearing a grey Matthew Williamson shift dress, was greeted on Wednesday by scores of children waving at her and holding up Place2Be flags. The Duchess has been a royal patron of the charity since 2013, reflecting her interest in child mental health and early intervention.
As she arrived the 33-year-old royal spoke to students from The Crescent Primary School and asked them what year they were in. She later headed into the conference where head teachers from England, Scotland and Wales had gathered to discuss the role that schools can play in promoting good mental health in children.
The conference – the second held by Place2Be – featured presentations from head teachers working in some of the UK's most disadvantaged areas, child psychology experts and students from Stewards Academy in Harlow.
Youngsters from The Crescent Primary School then performed a drama on leadership for their royal guest of honour.