The Princess of Wales revealed the reason why she focuses her time on early childhood as she delivered a passionate keynote speech on Wednesday.
Kate emphasised she cares "deeply about making a positive difference, in helping the most vulnerable and supporting those who are most in need" as she spoke at the Shaping Us National Symposium at The Design Museum in London, with Kate arriving at the event in a purple power suit.
She continued: "This is not just about the youngest children in our society, who are, by their very nature, vulnerable. It is also about the many young people and adults who are suffering.
"We must do more than simply meet the short term needs of these individuals. We must also look at creating long term, preventative change. And that takes us right back to the beginning."
Watch the moment Kate took to the stage in the clip below...
The event, hosted by the Princess and the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, brought together cross-disciplinary leaders, child and adult specialists, and global thinkers for the first time to consider how we grow, think, and behave throughout life, in order to build resilience for the future.
Kate launched The Shaping Us campaign in January, which aims to highlight the significance of the formative years of a child's life.
The long-term project has been described as the Princess' "life's work", which she hopes will influence attitudes towards children in the early years period of their lives.
In her speech, the Princess touched upon meeting different individuals and organisations through her engagements, saying: "When I have asked many individuals, whose lives have reached crisis point; in prison rehabilitation programmes, addiction recovery centres, or those affected by homelessness; what would make the biggest difference in preventing similar pathways for future generations, they often talk about providing safety, belonging and love in early childhood.
"It is human nature to strive for these things. We feel this innately and instinctively. But for too many of us, at too many times in our lives, these basic human needs go unanswered. There is a disconnect. Somehow these deep-rooted needs aren’t always met by the societies we are creating, and the effects are evident all around us – with poor mental health, anxiety, depression, abuse, and addiction all too common."
She called for action, adding: "It isn’t enough therefore to simply wish for a better world. We must acknowledge and address the root cause of some of today’s toughest social challenges and work together to find better answers. Because ultimately, we are all part of a delicate, interconnected ecosystem and just as we need to restore, protect and invest in our planet, so we must restore, protect, and invest in our societies, communities, relationships, and ourselves."
She added: "Nurturing skills that enable us to know ourselves, manage our emotions, focus our thoughts, communicate with others, foster positive relationships, and explore the world are just as valuable to our long-term success as reading, writing or arithmetic.
"These skills are the bedrock, not only for helping children to thrive, but also for restoring, protecting and investing in humankind.
"So, to rebalance and restore, calls for new thinking and action at every level. Because the future for our children is something we all build together; through the actions each of us takes every day."
Before delivering her keynote speech, Kate spoke to compere and TV star Fearne Cotton about the project and revealed how her five-year-old son Prince Louis and his classmates at Lambrook school have been helping with her royal work.
She said: “Louis’ class, they came back with a feelings wheel, it's really good…these are five or six-year-olds, and going with names or pictures of a colour that represents how they feel that day, so there is a real keenness in school particularly to get involved in conversations.”
Kensington Palace said the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood has conducted a global listening exercise, involving experts from 21 countries to unite the thinking and agree on the key foundational skills laid in early childhood, but continue to grow beyond it, that help establish happy, healthy adult lives.
These social and emotional skills are described as fundamental to our future mental and physical wellbeing, shaping everything from our ability to form positive relationships to our capacity for learning, working and coping with adversity.
The Shaping Us National Symposium will share the findings from this exercise and focus on the action needed to make social and emotional skills a greater priority.
In teaser clips, Kensington Palace also shared a video of Kate, clad in a maroon trouser suit, rehearsing for her speech at the Design Museum ahead of the event.
Kate's outing comes the day after she and husband, Prince William, attended a private party at Clarence House to mark King Charles's 75th birthday on Tuesday evening.
The Princess looked glamorous in a green sequined dress as she and the Prince were pictured leaving the bash.
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