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Kate Middleton shares her thoughts during rare Q&A

The Duchess of Cambridge delivered a milestone speech on Friday

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Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The Duchess of Cambridge shared her thoughts with royal fans about one of her biggest passion projects in a rare Q&A on Saturday.

Kensington Palace shared a video of Kate answering questions from members of the public after insights from her '5 Big Questions on the Under Fives' survey were published on Friday.

READ: Kate Middleton's gorgeous Reiss dress has a very sentimental story behind it

When asked during the session what sparked her interest in the Early Years, the Duchess replied: "I actually get asked this question a lot. I think people assume because I am a parent, that's why I've taken an interest in the Early Years.

"I think this really is bigger than that. This isn't about – just about – happy healthy children, this is about the society I hope we could and can become. Right from the early days, meeting lots of people who are suffering with addiction or poor mental health, and hearing time and time again that their troubles now in adulthood stem right back from early childhood experience."

WATCH: Kate Middleton shares her thoughts with royal fans in a rare Q&A

The doting mum was then asked: "How do you manage toddler tantrums in your household – especially with multiple children?" and her response was priceless! 

"Yes, that's a hard one. I'd also like to ask the experts myself!"

The video then cut to Alice Haynes, who is Deputy Head of Early Years Programme.

Alice said: "As a mum of a two-year-old, tantrums are something I'm very familiar with. When my son has a tantrum, I try to put into words how I think he might be feeling, in a slow, and calm and gentle way."

The royal even opened up about her own childhood after being asked: "What did you like most in your childhood?"

"That's a very good question," started Kate. "I loved spending time outside and that has stuck with me for my whole life."

On Friday, the Duchess delivered her biggest keynote speech from her royal career to date.

Speaking during the Royal Foundation's early years online forum, Kate said: "People often ask why I care so passionately about the early years. Many mistakenly believe that my interest stems from having children of my own."

kate keynote speech© Kensington Palace

The Duchess during her keynote speech on Friday

The royal, who is mother to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, continued: "While of course I care hugely about their start in life, this ultimately sells the issue short.

"Parenthood isn't a prerequisite for understanding the importance of the early years.

"If we only expect people to take an interest in the early years when they have children, we are not only too late for them, we are underestimating the huge role others can play in shaping our most formative years too."

Throughout Friday, Kensington Palace posted clips of the Duchess sharing the five key insights from the landmark survey, including that only one in four people recognise the key importance of the first five years of a child's life.

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kate early years briefing© Kensington Palace

Kate at the early years survey briefing

Although 90 per cent see parental mental health and wellbeing as critical to a child's development, only ten per cent of parents took time to look after themselves when they prepared for the arrival of their baby, the research states.

The study – which has produced five key insights – also showed that the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically increased parental loneliness, with 38 per cent experiencing this before the crisis, and 63 per cent – almost two-thirds – after the first lockdown, a jump of 25 per cent. 

More than 500,000 people responded to the questionnaire at the start of 2020, making it the largest ever response to a public survey of its kind.

Kate promoted the survey between 22 January and 21 February, making visits to Cardiff, Birmingham, Woking, London, Belfast and Aberdeen.

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