Kate Middleton Brings a Special Accessory to Early Years Meeting — Which She Debuted at Harvard!
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Kate Middleton is keeping a handy accessory nearby as she learns more about one of her key causes.
The Princess of Wales, 41, hosted the newly formed Advisory Group for her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood at Windsor Castle on Wednesday, welcoming eight experts for a morning meeting. Kate looked sharp in a black suit with a white blouse, and she carried a black notebook. The pad seemed to be the same one she used for taking handwritten notes at Harvard University in December during a visit to the Ivy League school's Center on the Developing Child.
Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard, met with Princess Kate during the college stop and told PEOPLE that the royal was very engaged during a group discussion with researchers.
"She has obviously thought about this a lot, and she did take notes, and you could see she was very interested in the responses, but she was also very active in asking questions, and putting on the table some of the things she's been thinking about," Shonkoff told PEOPLE at the time. "It was a very productive and promising conversation."
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He added, "I see her as very motivated in having an impact on the world. She is personally an understated person, there was no sense of an ego in the room. You really get a sense that she understands the power of her platform and has a desire to do good and make a difference."
The Harvard Center — a stop during Kate's visit to the Boston area with Prince William surrounding the Earthshot Prize awards — has long been a friend of The Royal Foundation and more recently The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, supporting with past research on the importance of the early years of a person's life.
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Princess Kate is poised to take her early childhood work to a new level with the formation of the Advisory Group, which brings together eight professionals from academia, science and the early years sector. The group will offer strategic advice and oversee the work of the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, which Kate founded in June 2021.
Palace officials explain that the group — who have expertise in areas across neuroscience, psychology, perinatal psychiatry and policy development — will support Princess Kate and the Centre "as work is accelerated to promote the fundamental importance of the first five years of a child's life."
DANIEL LEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Kate Middleton
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Some members of the advisory group are familiar voices in the area and have worked alongside the royal mom for several years as she built up her experience and expertise and knowledge in the area. Prof. Peter Fonagy is, for example, the head of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, which Kate has supported for many years. Eamon McCrory, Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology, University College London, is someone Kate has encountered as she learned about the importance of brain development in youngsters.
The others are Dr. Alain Gregoire, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist and President and Founder of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance; Dr. Trudi Seneviratne, Registrar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists; Ed Vainker, OBE, co-founder of Reach Academy Feltham; Carey Oppenheim, Project Lead at the Nuffield Foundation; Imran Hussain, Director of Policy and Campaigns for Action for Children and Beverley Barnett-Jones MBE, Associate Director at Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and Trustee at What Works in Children's Social Care.
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As they met, the palace announced that the Centre will be headed by Christian Guy, who becomes the Centre Director.
Last week, the Princess of Wales went on a fact-finding trip to a nursery to highlight the work done there. She spoke with early childhood educators about the formative nature of the early years and heard from parents about how the nursery makes a difference in their children's lives.