Princess of Wales pledges she will champion a better future for children
The Princess of Wales has warned that too much “time and energy” is spent on later life and that she is “determined” to shift the focus to the early years.
On Saturday, she published an open letter as she prepares to launch a major new campaign called Shaping Us marking the next phase of her lifelong early years project.
In the letter, the Princess writes that she is “absolutely determined” to “highlight the critical importance” of a child’s first five years in shaping their adult life.
The campaign, which will be launched by the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood next week, is the next step of her pledge to do everything she can to change the fortunes of generations to come.
The details are set to be released on Tuesday and she is expected to be highly visible with a series of engagements throughout the week to raise the public’s awareness of the cause.
In the letter released on Saturday evening, she urged people to think about how they make the world a “more supportive and loving place” for children.
The Princess wrote: “During our very early childhood, our brains develop at an amazing rate - faster than any other time of our lives. Our experiences, relationships, and surroundings at that young age shape the rest of our lives.
“It is a time where we lay the foundations and building blocks for life. It is when we learn to understand ourselves, understand others and understand the world in which we live.
“But as a society, we currently spend much more of our time and energy on later life. I am absolutely determined that this long-term campaign is going to change that.”
She added: “It will start by highlighting how we develop during early childhood and why these years matter so much in terms of shaping who we become”.
The Princess has spent over a decade in the Royal family and during that time has consolidated evidence of what needs to be done to assist the early years sector.
Her Centre for Early Childhood, launched in 2021, aims to transform it.
In its “Big Change Starts Small” report, staff distilled studies from the Department for Education and the Children’s Commissioner to pinpoint the need for holistic care starting in the womb.
The report shed light on the mental health of mothers having an impact on the brain activity of their babies, as well as highlighting the idea that an individual’s future outcomes are largely shaped by the first five years of their lives.
She wrote in The Telegraph last year that “not enough is being done” to nurture Britain’s youngest children and she pledged to use her role to do “everything she can” to protect the next generation.
The Princess has set out her early years campaigning as her mission for the next stage of her life in the Royal family, akin to the Prince of Wales’s mission to incentivise change and protect the environment with the Earthshot Prize.
Her passionate commitment to the “youngest members of society” is reflected in this new awareness-raising campaign, which has the support of science and research experts, as well as notable faces from music, sport and television.
It is hoped these public figures and experts will help to find ways to give generations of under-fives the best start in life.
In her open letter, the Princess said: “We all need to know the critical importance of our early childhood. They really are years like no other in our lives.
“I urge everyone reading this, to take the opportunity to learn more about this incredible time of life, to think back to your own childhood and how it shaped you, and most importantly, to ask yourselves what you can do to make the world a more supportive and loving place for our children.”
“Because healthy, happy children shape a healthy, happy future,” she concluded.