Princess of Wales aims to 'shine a spotlight' on the importance of early childhood in new campaign

The Princess of Wales is calling on the whole of society to play a part in helping children to have the best start in life and grow into "happy, healthy adults".

This week, Kate will front the new awareness drive called Shaping Us, with the hope it'll revolutionise the way the UK thinks about supporting families and young children.

It's the next major step in her ongoing work to draw attention to the importance of a child's social and emotional development up to the age of five.

The princess was joined by the Prince of Wales at a pre-campaign launch event at BAFTA headquarters in central London.

Speaking at the event, she highlighted how a child's mental development "rarely" gets as much focus as our physical health.

She said: "The campaign is fundamentally about shining a spotlight on the critical importance of early childhood and how it shapes the adults we become.

"During this time we lay the foundations and building blocks for life. And it is when we learn to understand ourselves, understand others and understand the world in which we live.

"This is why it is essential, to not only understand the unique importance of our earliest years, but to know what we can all do to help raise future generations of happy, healthy adults."

During the launch, a short film was shown highlighting how babies and children develop in response to their earliest experiences.

For over a decade Kate has developed an interest in this area of work after hearing how issues in early childhood can often be a contributing factor to difficulties in later life including addiction and mental health.

It led to the Royal Foundation, the charitable arm of the Prince and Princess of Wales's work, setting up the Centre for Early Childhood.

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Through the Shaping Us campaign, which will be a long term project, they're aiming to transform the issue from one of scientific interest to a topic that gets people talking, just as Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry worked to break down the stigma around mental health through their Heads Together campaign.

They're hoping a range of high-profile figures from the world of media, music, science and sports will help to spread the word of the campaign and reach a diverse audience.

The princess will be involved in a series of events and social media campaigns this week to try and push home the message that a child's development in those early years shouldn't just be a concern for parents but the whole of society can play a part in making sure they get the upbringing they deserve.

This campaign marks another new role for Kate after she took over as patron of the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union from Prince Harry when he stood down as a working royal.

The princess is also now Colonel of the Irish Guards, a position previously held by Prince William since 2011.

The Shaping Us campaign also shows Kate continuing with work that is important to her after the recent controversy around the Royal Family sparked by the release of Prince Harry's memoir Spare.

In the book, Harry claims he was assaulted by Kate's husband, and the heir to the throne, Prince William.