Kate speaks of her mission to help the next generation of adults

Ever since she joined the Royal Family after her marriage to Prince William in 2011, the Duchess of Cambridge has been campaigning for, and supporting the work of, those who work in the field of Early Years.

The stage of a child's life from pregnancy to age five is, most scientists agree, the most important for the development of a child and will affect the kind of adult they grow up to be.

  • Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, explains why the early years are vital to a child's development:

In her keynote speech today, as Kate brought together the biggest study of its kind into early years, she spoke of how we should consider this subject in terms of bringing up "the next generations of adults" and shaping "the society we will become".

Today, she is revealing the "Five Big Insights" after launching the "Five Big Questions on the Under Fives" early this year when she travelled to all four nations of the UK to spread the word about her work.

In her speech today, the Duchess spoke about how the concerns about parenthood and loneliness have been made worse during the lockdowns when we have "experienced isolation, loss, and uncertainty."

It is not an issue, she said, that she cares about simply as a result of her own motherhood but it's a subject we should all care about, no matter what our status as parents.

"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", Kate said in her speech today.

The survey into early years has been called the biggest of its kind, ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship explains

She spoke of her concern hat as many as 2 in 5 children "arrive at school with below the expected levels of development" and she promised that the insights she has gained from this survey of more than half a million people will shape her work in the years to come.

If parents are struggling with their own well-being, she said, how can we expect children to grow up to be mentally and physically healthy.

She asked why so many parents feel like they are being judged.

And she wants to spread the word to the 75% of people who don't know how important those first five years are for our children and future adults.

She also wants to address the issue of parental loneliness - which is particularly acute in more deprived areas and something that has become an even bigger problem because of coronavirus.

"I believe", Kate said, "the early years should be on a par with the other great social challenges and opportunities of our time."

We will have to wait until next year to hear from the Duchess about her "ambitious plans" to support her objectives.

But given Kate's mission is backed by the Royal Foundation, which also had huge success with the mental health campaign, Heads Together, and with the Invictus Games, Prince Harry's sporting tournament for the military community, we should expect the Duchess to succeed in raising the profile of this often-overlooked issue.

For help and advice on the challenges of parenting in lockdown, visit: