Max Pemberton

Prince Harry could learn from Kate Middleton’s mental health work

Kate Middleton (Photo: Getty)

I wonder if the royal family realise how lucky they are to have Kate? She may have been born a commoner, but she is proving herself to be the best asset the Firm have. As naff as this sounds, she comes across as actually caring and wanting to use her position of power and influence to do some good which is quite refreshing in today’s self-obsessed, navel-gazing world where those in the public eye only seem to care if there’s a long-lens camera trained on them while they do their good deeds.

Along with William she has championed causes such as mental health which were profoundly uncool when they first adopted them and are now considered in vogue in no small part thanks to their involvement. Kate is showing herself to be a thoroughly modern royal. She is using her extraordinary reach and celebrity to champion the weakest, the dispossessed and the disenfranchised.

It would be easy to just rock up, cut a few ribbons and pop back to your palace. But one really gets a sense that Kate has spent the last decade actually listening to the people she has met and thinking about how she could help. Her answer is The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, which launched last month. Focusing on early childhood is actually a genius move if you want to address the problems she will have seen through her charity work. We know that the early years of childhood can make all the difference to what happens in adulthood. While we think of things like addiction, homelessness and mental illness as being things that afflict adults, more often than not they have their roots firmly in childhood. I’ve often thought that this is both scary, because of the responsibility it places on care givers, but also incredibly uplifting because it means that if we can just intervene at the right time, we aren’t slaves to our genetics.

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