Princess of Wales has promoted causes supporting children and mental health

Family is the focus for the Princess of Wales in both her private and public life and her cancer diagnosis will have brought those closest rallying round.

In her video statement announcing the state of her health, Kate highlighted the importance of giving her children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – time and space to come to terms with their mother’s illness.

The princess’ major public project is supporting the early years development of children,  and last year she launched her long-term campaign Shaping Us, described as her “life’s work” and aimed at highlighting the crucial first five years of a child’s life.

Prince and Princess of Wales 13th wedding anniversary
The Prince and Princess of Wales and their family at Kate’s Christmas Carol concert at Westminster Abbey (Aaron Chown/PA)

Kate has carefully carved out this public role focusing on the wellbeing of children and mental health since marrying the Prince of Wales  in 2011 and becoming an HRH.

She remains close to her parents Carole and Michael Middleton and siblings Pippa Matthews and James Middleton, and had a happy home life growing up.

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born to the Middletons at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on January 9 1982.

She was christened at the parish church of St Andrew’s Bradfield in Berkshire on June 20 the same year.

Amman in Jordan was home to Kate and her family for a few years in the mid-1980s, where she attended a nursery school from the age of three, before the family returned to Berkshire.

At 13, she went to the exclusive private Marlborough College in Wiltshire, where she part-boarded.

She graduated in 2005 with a 2:1 in history of art from St Andrews University, where she met and began dating William, whom she married at Westminster Abbey in 2011.

She was dubbed “Waity Katie” by the press for her patience during their long courtship, and was described by William in their engagement interview as having “a really naughty sense of humour”.

A keen photographer, the princess usually takes the publicly released photos of her children to mark their birthdays.

Kate is also known for being fit, sporty and competitive at team games and even enjoys the thrill of cold water swimming.

Royal Foundation Business Taskforce for Early Childhood report
Kate has a love of cold water swimming (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

In an interview last September with former rugby international Mike Tindall, who is married to her husband’s cousin Zara, she said her family were “always active”.

“I suppose as a family we were just very active,” she said “And I can always remember being physical, using our bodies, whether it’s walking, climbing the lake district in Scotland… swimming from a young age.”

Kate also spoke about the attraction of a chilly dip: “Cold swimming – the colder, the better. I absolutely love it. Slightly to the point where William’s (saying) ‘You’re crazy’ and it’s dark and it’s raining’.

“I will go and seek out cold water. I love it.”