Kate ‘was very lucky’ her family ‘provided somewhere safe to grow and learn’

Kate ‘was very lucky’ her family ‘provided somewhere safe to grow and learn’

Kate Middleton and Prince William kicked off Children’s Mental Health Week 2017 by visiting a Place2Be school today, February 6. The event was in association with Heads Together.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at Mitchell Brook Primary School for Place2Be’s The Big Assembly, which kicked off this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week. The theme of this year’s CMHW is “spread a little kindness”.

Place2Be did a survey of 705 children aged 10-12 (99% were aged 10-11) from 20 primary schools who work with Place2Be in England, Scotland, and Wales and found that almost two thirds (63%) worry “all the time” about at least one thing to do with their school life, home life, or themselves. The children’s top concerns were their family, friends being okay, and not doing well at school.

When asked what adults should do to help, over 80% of the children surveyed said that “being kind” and “listening” are very important. The students also believed that it is very important that children are kind to each other. If a classmate was worried about something, they said they would ask them how they are, try to cheer them up, and listen to them.

You can read more of the survey’s findings here (Note: the link downloads a PDF). For all the talk about bullying and body image being big problems for children, I’m surprised that “Being Bullied” and “The way I look” were so low on the list of “Issues that cause children to worry ‘all the time’ or ‘a lot'”.

William and Kate arrived at the school and were greeted outside by lots of children. The couple then moved inside to the assembly where Kate gave a speech.

    “Thank you so much for your very warm welcome. It is great to be here to support Children’s Mental Health week. People often ask me why I am so interested in the mental health of children and young people. The answer is quite simple – it is because I think that every child should have the best possible start in life.
    “When I was growing up I was very lucky. My family was the most important thing to me. They provided me with somewhere safe to grow and learn, and I know I was fortunate not to have been confronted by serious adversity at a young age.
    “For some children, maybe there are some here today; I know that life can sometimes feel difficult and full of challenges. I think that every child should have people around them to show them love, and to show them kindness, and nurture them as they grow. This is what Place2Be is doing so amazingly here in your school.
    “Recently I met an 11 year-old girl who was helped by Place2Be. She told me that if you keep your feelings inside, you can feel as though you will blow up like a balloon. But, by talking to someone about them, it can make you feel so much better. I thought that was such a clever way of looking at it. If we are worried, upset, lonely or angry – the best thing to do is to talk to someone about it. Whether that is your mother or father, a teacher or a friend.
    “I know that in your school you have been working on a project to spread a little kindness and I think this is such an important thing to do. If you see someone who you think might need help, try and be kind to them. Keep a look out for them if they are on their own or seem sad or worried. Perhaps they just need a hug or someone to talk to. I know it is hard if you are feeling down yourself. But helping someone out will also make you feel so much better too.
    “My parents taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect, and honesty, and I realise how central, values like these have been to me throughout my life. That is why William and I want to teach our little children, George and Charlotte just how important these things are as they grow up. In my view it is just as important as excelling at maths or sport.
    “Now, I am very excited about presenting the Kindness cup and hearing your stories. Do remember that even if you don’t win today, the fact that you are helping make your school such a supportive and friendly place is so important. You should all be very proud of yourselves and each other. Thank you so much for having me here with you all today”


Kate gives speech at Place2Be Big Assembly Feb 2017 s
[Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal]

First things first, I want to say that I am super happy that Kate gave a speech. I love it whenever she gives a speech, but especially when doing a joint engagement with William, because usually when doing joint engagements with William she takes a backseat and doesn’t say anything even when it’s for her Patronage. So I’m just happy that she was the one to give a speech today.

I’m also glad that the speech was a good length and not only a few sentences. And I like that she brought up people she has met previously.

However, I still don’t like the way Kate equates having a good family life to not suffering from mental health issues. It shows a lack of understanding of mental health issues, and is dated and dangerous. Unfortunately, that line of thinking does still exist with some people (I knew a young guy about five years ago who thought refrigerator mothers were the cause of autism even though that theory was debunked ages ago) – it is part of the stigma around mental health issues that the royal trio and Heads Together are supposedly trying to change. Kate is actually perpetuating part of the stigma here.

Kate presents kindness cup at Place2Be Big Assembly Feb 2017 s
[Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal]

After Kate gave her speech, some of the children from Mitchell Brook Primary got on stage and shared their stories. Then Kate presented the “Kindness Cup” to Nadia Dhicis, 10, for showing exceptional kindness in her community.

Kate and William talk to students at Place2Be Big Assembly Feb 2017 s
[Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal]

Finally, William and Kate joined a group discussion with children from the school about how kindness can help people through difficult times. The couple stayed at the event for about 1 hour before leaving.

Kate went Full Repeat today, opting for her much-worn Luisa Spagnoli red suit, her Mulberry Bayswater Clutch in black suede, her Gianvito Rossi pumps in black suede, her Mappin and Webb Empress White Gold and Diamond Drop earrings, and her Cartier watch.

I’ve never really been a fan of this suit, but Kate must love it because she’s worn it four times now: in 2011 to a visit to St. Andrews; in 2014 in Christchurch, New Zealand; in 2015 for Christmas lunch at BP; and today.

Here is a video of the event with part of Kate’s speech. They don’t show the whole speech, annoyingly, they only show a couple paragraphs of it. From the little bits shown, it is clear that Kate still struggles at times but she does seem to be making small improvements. Seriously, though, she needs a proper speech coach.

This article is just about the Place2Be visit. William and Kate did another event today which I will cover in a separate article. Also, today is a two post day, be sure to check out my article on William, Kate, and Harry’s attendance at Heads Together’s training day.

78 thoughts on “Kate ‘was very lucky’ her family ‘provided somewhere safe to grow and learn’

  1. Well done Kate. I think this event was a win for Kate. She was more engaged with those around her. She gave a speech (yes she still isn’t great at the delivery of them and needs a coach, but a least she gave a lengthier one and didn’t just regurgitate the same old things). She was dressed appropriately and didn’t buy something new and expensive. This engagement is exactly what we have been wanting from her. She just needs to start doing this all the time :). Plus it was nice to see William supporting her for once and being in the background.

    Also, I love that at the start of the speech Kate said “Hello Everyone” and one of the kids responded with a “Hello”. I thought that was a cute moment. (it is on a different video)

      1. It just bugs me that we see Kate so many times barely making an effort. I start to think that maybe she’s just not up to the job and they should let her retire to Anmer and live out the rest of her life there. And then she does an engagement like this, gives speech and all, so why isn’t she doing this all the time?

  2. “When I was growing up I was very lucky. My family was the most important thing to me. They provided me with somewhere safe to grow and learn, and I know I was fortunate not to have been confronted by serious adversity at a young age.
    I hate this narrative. People of all age, race and class can have MH issues. Long story short.
    I had a roomie who’s brother was just starting college. She asked me to have dinner with them as he was having “issues adjusting to college life” in the course of the get together I realize he’s having audial and visual hallucinations. I realized she didn’t quite know what to do so I asked her if she wanted me to talk to her mother, she said yes. I told the mom that I thought he was exhibiting the 1st signs of schizophrenia. She told me no he was just “stressed” and dealing with the loss of his grandmother. She brought him home with her. I occasionally followed up with the roomie by asking if he was getting help and what not. She always said yes. He later killed the mom and was arrested/found on his way over to our place.
    This was by all means an upper middle class family who was supportive and fits into Kate’s narrative. What they don’t address is part of the stigma is that a lot of MH issues are hereditary and people don’t want to acknowledge that it runs in their family. If the mom had seeked a different kind of help and didn’t want to ignore what I told her or even if I pressed more on the issue, this story could have had a different ending. So she needs to change that script

    1. I totally agree, though I’m so sorry for your horrific personal experience. Just like cancer , diabetes, broken bones etc mental health can affect anyone at anytime. Yes rich spoiled kids from happy supportive homes with one full time parent at home can suffer mental health problems. I just don’t think Kate gets it.

      1. I agree with you 100% Birdy, Kate just does not get it and what I am afraid of is that young people and kids who listen to Kate and who have a stable home life and people around them who love them, will not ask for help if they need it because they believe that they could not have that mental health issues because of the home life that they have had.

        Someone needs to step in and advise Kate that what she is saying could be dangerous down the line.

        1. “Someone needs to step in and advise Kate that what she is saying could be dangerous down the line.”

          I agree with you Tanya. From personal experience I know that what you are going through personally can be discounted because you are not from a broken home, or a low socio economic group. I had it said to me that “it doesn’t happen to people like us”.

          Oh really?

          I was told that bullying doesn’t happen to “people like us” when I tried to approach a teacher at school.

          1. @Sun travel wine

            I know! I know!

            And, personally, I always thought that teacher was a cold fish, so maybe she was talking about other cold fish?

          2. Sun Travel Wine… have I died and gone to heaven, three of my very favourite things, and such a lovely name to choose.

          3. +100

            she is causing more harm than good. she seem to has done NOo research and continue this useless speech over again.

            as to her insincere hard work this is the norm early months of the year – and of course there is Prince Harry’sMeghan – working traveling for duties and charities all over .

    2. I find the content of that speech so utterly useless and offensive that I don’t care whether or not she was slightly less bad at speaking than in the past.

      A lot of mental illness is genetic and has zero to do with how parents raised their kids. Bi polar disorder for one example.

      Speaking of which, her parents had money but clearly didn’t do a great job with their kids. Kate in particular is a 35 year old adult woman with massive issues with her personality. She is not normal. Not by any standard.

      She really needs to stop speaking on this issue. Stick with sports where spouting hypocritical nonsense doesn’t cause actual harm. The content of this speech is garbage.

      1. Terrible content. She has no clue how to speak on the subject or how to talk with children.

        I think the whole I came from a loving family narrative causes more harm than good. Children need to know that support comes from all kinds of places and who are the safe adults they should approach for support.

        Besides, if Kate came from such a great family why is she a low level functioning adult?

      2. She likes to pour on the smug, how above it all and perfect she and her family are, whether it’s at home (bow down to me slaves) or in public. After all, she is a princess! No one points out her and her siblings’ failure to launch.

  3. I’m glad she gave a speech. It’s clearly not her thing and it’s great she’s working on it. As for the content… Well, one thing that makes a great communicator is reliability. And one thing that makes a person relatable is vulnerability. She’s got none of that. There’s a lot of false pride when it comes to the Middletons. And I say this without judgement. It exists in my family as well. All she’s left to talk about is how lucky she is to have such a great family. Let’s be honest, we’d like her a lot more if she’d admit to taking a year off so that she and Wills could be in the same class. Or, if she’d occasionally get tired of the family pressure (read mother’s pressure) when dating a royal. For me, her engagement in such a hard and intimate topic is just never believable since she won’t participate herself. Maybe I’m wrong and the pressure to remain perfect comes from the royal family? If that’s the case, none of them should take on the hard stuff. Still to things like physical fitness and racing in yachts. You know, things you can do without the expectation of opening up.

    One the brighter side, I’m always happy when she doesn’t need a new $4K outfit. She looks great.

    1. I think Kate prefers to present herself as unblemished by life’s problems, unreal as that is. I can’t imagine how a child sitting in that school hall, perhaps from a one-parent family, or one where they are struggling, could connect to Kate’s little patter about her childhood. I think you’ve made an insightful comment in that Kate feels more comfortable in circumstances that do not require personal disclosure or an empathetic response.

      The speech seemed to straddle being directed to the press and to young children. But at least Kate gave a more substantial speech than previously so that’s good. Getting a speech coach and prepping thoroughly would improve her game over time.

      1. It’s odd, didn’t she leave Downe House under the cloud of bullying? Walk the talk, if it’s true. Makes you a whole lot more relatable when you can share your experiences. Or is that all swept under the rug because “Never speak of it again or social death, darling” and all that? It doesn’t matter who you are now, if it happened to you and hurt you, if you share it(especially with impressionable children) you will have so much more credibility. We may even stop talking about your clothes(though you did look fab today), but that’s ok!

        1. Yes, yes, yes! How much more kids could relate to someone who had been bullied, if it is true. Also, you can have the most supportive people in your life, but if you are prone to depression or anxiety, or if you have any type of mental illness, it’s a whole different ball game. People, need to support each other. Very true. They need to be caring to one another, too.

          I hesitate saying what I am about to say before saying that Kate did speak and it was a longer speech that offered info about people she previously met and I liked that. Still think the speech was written for her, but how much can one expect from her? I wish that she would seek coaching with her public speaking. It’s time for her to grow up and accept her role in life. Doing so, means that she would want to do the best job she could whenever and wherever she goes. So, please some coaching.

          A kind and supportive family she may have had at a very young age, but I do think her mother pushed and pushed and pushed her to achieve what Mom wanted in life. I hate to say that, but I think it is true.

          Kate looked happy and engaged and I am happy about that. More such appearances can make a difference in so many lives. I think owning up to one’s own challenges would, as well. But, perhaps that won’t happen and maybe I am expecting too much.

          Bravo, anyway, Kate. A good start. Truly. Keep growing and going, please.

      2. If I were a kid it would just inspire me to envy a princess’s life, just like in the fairy tales. I would be feeling pretty inadequate and perhaps ashamed that my life was not so perfect. It’s like all those ‘winners’ out there who smugly project a life of almost divine success and they never let you forget.

  4. I know that it is not easy to hold a speech. But I think when you practise it then you will get better. In her case I can’t believe that she practised this speech beforehand because she had to look at her notices nearly for every word. She should do herself and her audiance a favor and look for a speech coach. I find it painful to watch her perform and I feel a little bit sorry for her because you can see how uncomfortable she is. But after 5 years in this job and how many years as girlfriend she should really know how to do this in a professional manner. It’s really distracting when you have to listen to her. And another point is I agree with you that growing up in a happy family do not prevent you from having mental problems. Why does she always talk about her own happy upbringing? I think she should focus on the real people and their struggles like she did when talking about the 11 year old girl and not always talk about herself. That does not help anybody I think. Do they not have people who have experience in mental health and can give them advise? I hope my reply to this is critical and constructive at least it is meant in this way.

  5. As a very cynical person, I’m wondering if she’s trying to rehab the Middleton image from grasping social climbers to perfect nuclear family. Carole is so involved in Kate’s life. How involved is she with these speeches?

  6. I think Kate did a great job today. She seemed more happy and engaged with those around her. Her speech was a step up from usual regarding content. It wasn’t just regurgitating old speeches. I also liked that William took a back seat and let Kate take the lead. Lastly, I like that she wore all repeats instead of buying a new several thousand pound outfit. I think today was a win.

    I do have to say though that I disagree somewhat with giving Kate criticism regarding how she mentions having a stable, loving family life and mental health. Obviously coming from a stable loving family does not mean you will never suffer from a mental health problem. There are plenty of people who fit this category and suffer. However, it is well studied that children who experience traumatic events in childhood, also called Adverse Childhood Experiences and include physical and sexual abuse and neglect, are more likely to suffer from mental health problems in adolescence and adulthood. This may be what she is trying to get at, though I admit I may be giving Kate too much credit here. I doubt she has read any of those papers.

    1. Agreed. There’s plenty of research that links poor mental health with adversity (poverty, domestic violence).

      But I honestly thought that line about growing up in a safe, adversity-free environment was meant to personalize her address and acknowledge that, while she didn’t struggle as a child, she understands that other children do. And her speech was for a younger audience, so keeping the language simple and not digging too deeply into the complex determinants of mental illness was the right move, imo.

      1. I have a friend who by all accounts had a happy stable middle-class home life growing up complete with two loving parents and siblings, yet she still suffers from bi-polar disorder.

        I myself have in the past thought about people “how dare you claim to suffer from depression when you’ve had it so easy”. But that type of thinking is also part of the problem. I too have had to change my thought processes to be more accepting. It’s easy to sit there and say someone’s mental health problems don’t count because they’ve not experienced any sort of adversity, but their thoughts are just as valid as the next person’s.

        So while it’s true that people who suffer adversity or trauma are more likely to suffer certain types of mental health problems, when one is talking about “changing the conversation” and “ending the stigma” I think it’s wrong to generalize with the idea that people with a happy home life don’t suffer from mental health issues.

        1. Cancer can affect anyone…so can mental health issues. Some forms/types of MH issues may relate to difficult circumstances but others not. BiPolar for eg has nothing to do with background.

          Equally stress related depression can affect very high achievers.

          Kate needs to do some more research if this is the passion she is so keen on.

        2. I just don’t agree that’s happened in this speech. Again, I thought that line about growing up in a safe, adversity-free environment was meant to personalize her address and acknowledge that, while she didn’t struggle as a child, she understands that other children do – and that children in this particular audience most certainly do.

          A quick look at the demographics of KM’s audience puts her words in proper perspective. Well over half the students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The school is in Brent, where 1 out of 3 children live below the poverty line. So I think acknowledging that this community has unique challenges that might heighten the risk of mental illness makes perfect sense.

          Now obviously, mental illness affects people of all social classes, but the whole “but what about the wealthy and middle class” criticism of KM’s remarks in this particular case doesn’t fit but ymmv.

    2. If that was her intent then she should have said that. She could have started with the anecdote about her family and then quoted a study. That would have been much better (yes, I realize she was talking to kids, but she could have still talked about statistics and made it kid-friendly).

      I may be being cynical but I think you’re giving her too much credit since she said essentially the same thing back in 2015 about a happy family life meaning no mental health problems. So that talking point hasn’t changed in over a year of working with mental health engagements.

  7. “My parents taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect, and honesty” – HAHAHAHAHA. What. I have so many examples of these two acting quite opposite those values she touts. And also, growing up in a happy, healthy home does not equate someone who will be free of mental health issues. Which is something we say here again, and again, but Kate and Co don’t seem to get it or if they do, who cares, it doesn’t fit the narrative of Kate growing up in the perfect middle class home with those values. I know it doesn’t help to have a troubled background, I did myself in a sense, but to just say this over and over when it isn’t true bothers me. You can have mental health issues as a child for any number of reasons, one of them being an unstable home life. Kate’s words seem dangerous at worst, as they always do. Your child is struggling with mental health issues, it’s your fault, that mentality.

    I too wish she’d get a speech coach, but I don’t think she cares enough; I think she and William and to an extent all royals believe that as long as they show up and smile, it’s all good, they don’t need to be prepared. They can just swan up for the photo op and leave. They probably think they are doing a GREAT job, high fives all around.

    The rest is good. I’m glad she gave a speech, and seemed more engaged despite seeming closed off when sitting there with the kids, angled away from them, and like she actually cared about being there instead of rushing off straightaway. Baby steps.

  8. OMG…her accent is just too much, every word is exaggerated, like a caricature of a posh British accent. I do feel for her because you can really tell how nervous she is when she makes a speech, you can hear her voice quaver a bit. At least she is trying and it does get easier with time and because I think this is all part of a BRF directive for W & K to step up their game, I am sure she will have more opportunities to speak and feel more at ease doing it. At the end of the speech when she sat down and looked at William her expression was like she was saying”Phew, I did it”. I do agree that Kate’s happy story about her charmed family life is not a good way to start a discussion on mental health, especially when you have no idea what anyone in the audience is currently experiencing. To me it shows lack of empathy and a bit of self-righteousness. She could have skipped that whole part of the speech and after the welcome spiel just jumped in by saying “ I know that life can sometimes feel difficult and full of challenges. I think that every child should have people around them to show them love, and to show them kindness, and nurture them as they grow. This is what Place2Be is doing so amazingly here in your school””…… By cutting out the reference to herself she makes it more about the subject and that will engage the audience. Overall, in the Cambridge universe, this was a success.

  9. I really like this suit and think it looks good on her.

    That KM keeps whipping out a story of childhood bliss as a testament to her superb mental health (subtext: I’m not like you), reeks of hyperbole. She never gives specific details of how her family helped her with a difficult moment and let’s be realistic everyone–if they are out in the world–will be confronted with some challenge that forges their character.

    It seems that KM’s definition of her happy family is one that dictates how she will live her life (OK), swoops in whenever there is a problem thereby never allowing the child to develop problem solving skills or a sense of accomplishment (hmm), and now the mother has assumed the adult child’s life by telling tabloids how the mother is indispensable to that child’s life (yikes). It doesn’t sound all that healthy to me.

    Also, regarding her refusal/reluctance/difficulty in public speaking: KM starred as a young teen in the lead singing role of Eliza in the play “My Fair Lady” and wasn’t too bad as seen on Youtube. That takes a lot of confidence. Why has it taken her years to give a five minute speech? What happened to that confidence?

    There are too many discrepancies and inconsistencies in the story she tells about her family and herself. That’s why I don’t find her credible.

    1. I used to be just fine being in plays and performing in front of people when I was a young child, then the depression hit and I became so terrified of public speaking. Plus, when performing in a play one is a character, but when giving a speech one is oneself. So I could see a situation where Kate was once perfectly fine performing a character when she was a child, but is terrified of public speaking as herself now she’s an adult.

      1. KMR, you are fearless in your honesty, which I deeply respect because I’m sure it has helped and validated many people who read your blog and struggle with mental health problems. But as you said, there was a medical reason for why you changed. So why is KM no longer able to approach an audience without great difficulty? Wouldn’t that be a great talking point for this audience?

        1. I’m just pointing out that there may be a reason why Kate is struggling with public speaking now when she didn’t as a child which we may not know about. She may also have a medical reason for why she changed – we don’t really know that much about her. Or it could just be that she doesn’t bother to read the speech before she gets up to give it and that’s why she has such a hard time.

        2. I could identify with Kate’s nervousness – it was her breathing that tipped it off for me (I’ve been there). But I just wanted to add that – in my experience – playing a role in front of an audience can feel quite different from speaking to a group as oneself. In my teaching days, in my role as Prof. So-and so, I was always confident and relaxed in front of a class, but speaking as myself in front of a group, even in the most innocuous circumstances, has always unnerved me (panic beforehand, shaking throughout). I agree with commenters above that ironclad preparation helps. As can a moment of shared laughter as at the beginning of the video here (of course, there will be occasions where laughter wouldn’t be appropriate).

          1. Poor woman, she sounded terrified of speaking there; the uneven breathing, and the pitch and timbre of her voice. But I’m sure there’s help and coaching available if she wants it.

          2. Constance, I agree. I acted in many productions as a child and in early adulthood. It was easier playing a role than it was giving a speech, or just being me entering a new situation. Public speaking is the one thing that most people fear. It’s a very frightening experience, no matter how many speeches one gives. There is for most people a sense of “oh, no, I can’t do this” right before speaking. Constance, I agree that preparation helps and a shared sense of humor, too. Speaking with kids is not as easy as some might think. They know if someone really cares about them and show it as audience members.

            I do think that Kate’s “real” smile helped her in this situation. I also wish that she had related a bit of her own problems in childhood,. Come on, she had them. We all did.

            Having a good and caring family supports someone who suffers. It does not inoculate anyone from having any type of mental illness, however.

    2. The fake, mangled accent would add considerable stress to any engagement; she clearly struggles with it and this affects delivery. If she is going to persist with appearing grander than the grandest, she needs to take a few more lessons. But even the Queen does not effect that accent so why bother?

      With commitment, anyone can improve, but time and time again, excuses are made for Kate. The speech, with its reference to her wonderful childhood, could very well cause some of her young audience to reflect that their childhood is less than ‘perfect’, that it is lesser then. It’s insensitive because Kate has no idea of the background of the kids in front of her. She’s mugging for cameras for self-serving purposes.

      1. Oh, snap, I just said something similar up above about the effect on the children. She is pushing a saccharine fairy tale and does not acknowledge the struggles of others which is all that matters in this case. Kids can relate to a princess that struggles, not to the idealised life. Instead, she offers them perfection as a worthy goal, confusion, shame and invalidation.

  10. I wonder if she thinks that by including her “happy family” reference she’s apologizing in advance of any potential criticism. Maybe she thinks that if she doesn’t reference herself people would ask why they should bother listening to her… what does she know about mental health issues? Or if she worries that people would wonder how awful her childhood was that she’s interested in children’s mental health now. It’s probably all she could come up with that wouldn’t reveal anything about herself (per hubby’s privacy obsession) and underscore just how happy the Middletons are and how lucky William is to be connected to them (as the pre-wedding hype proclaimed).

    1. I agree that she doesn’t want to reveal anything of substance about herself which I really don’t have a problem with. But talking about her own family story in a generic way demonstrates that she doesn’t have a clue about mental health diagnoses and the resulting lifelong devastation if not addressed in a therapeutic way.

      She could be a better advocate if she worked with and was advised by mental health care experts, which she doesn’t bother to do based on her shallow speeches.

      1. I don’t get the impression that the trio preps for these engagements as things seem very much in the same gear as when they started: the same recycled talking points. Prep makes all the difference as when nerves set in, everything falls away except your preparation. It’s just practice when all is said and done.

          1. If someone genuinely engages and prepares, you can excuse their nerves and delivery because they have respected their audience enough to put in the effort.

            But the audience is never going to tell the trio they suck, so they don’t improve.

    2. Maybe she has a version of Stockholm syndrome in regards to her upbringing or a version of the Manchurian candidate but instead of becoming brainwashed to become unwitting assain it’s to stalk a prince =)
      Either way I don’t think her upbringing was as idealistic as she would have us believe
      Indiana, I think they’re both recalcitrant in giving forth any real personal information from the name of their dog down to gifts for the kids

      1. A family that preys on the wealthy and titled with such steely resolve doesn’t sound all that mentally healthy to me. That all three adult children can’t work in stable jobs, despite all kinds of educational advantages, or function without a rabid social-climbing mother directing their lives doesn’t sound great either. Pippa especially was known at uni for zeroing in on people who could be useful to her, and with great persistence on her part. Being kind and generous for the sake of it was not part of the Middleton character.

        I think W+K reveal little about themselves, dog etc is that they simply don’t think it’s anyone’s business.

        1. I agree absolutely. But even if her childhhood was truly idyllic, and her family were caring people who wanted to do what they could to help others and be productive citizens, this is a big insult to her audience, and everyone else who is facing problems through no fault of their own. It’s like visiting a hospital ward and announcing to the patients how lucky she is to be healthy.

          1. Omg Fifi if someone had come to me and said that to me whenever I was hospitalized, I’d want to punch them or at least throw something at them.

            I didn’t like this speech at all because the opening sentence was so condescending IMO. It reeked of “My family is puuuuurfect but here is why yours isn’t blah blah….”

            I’m sorry but that kind of statement makes my blood boil. I wish Kate would focus on the mental health of mothers since this is something she’d actually have in common with someone. Sigh…..

        2. I actually believe that they don’t reveal anything about themselves because there is nothing there. What would they say? It’s not like humanity, their own and others’, matters to them given their value system.

          1. They like relaxing and holidaying, shopping and colouring in (her), playing games (him). Work is a chore and a bore. They have kids and nannies. And a dog.That’s about it.

  11. This event is definitely a win for Kate. I’m so happy that she delivered a speech. I think her public speaking skills are really improving. As someone that did competitive speech in high school and college, that is nice for me to see. I’m also happy that her speech feels more “fleshed out” that ones she has given in the past. It’s certainly longer and has a more personal feel.
    However I would like it if Kate clarified where her passion for mental health comes from. She has used this “My upbringing was so great and I want everyone to have a childhood like mine” sort of line before. It comes across as both patronizing and uninformed, at least to me. It also rings false. I imagine that this passion arose after having her own children. Being a mom changes you, it makes you look at things differently. It’s also incredibly challenging. Many moms struggle with post-partum depression or anxiety. I wish she would dig a little deeper and explain WHY this matters to her. For me that would make this focus seem less like the flavor of the month and more like a true passion of hers.
    To end on a positive note, I’m very pleased to see her at 2 events today, especially considering it is early February. I’m glad that she is starting off the year by being visible and working.

  12. This is a comment on the good family life and impact on mental health…and i imagine it will be controversial. There is a lot of data that has been published in the last 10-15 years on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and the link to adult health (mental or physical). The trend across these multiple and well designed studies are clear. ACE and poor (physical and mental) health go hand in hand. Intrigingly, most studies have showed that a subset of children with an ACE in their life who did not develop poor (physical and mental) health in later life had an overwhelming abundance of excellent extended family support. The idea that having a supportive family life guarantees ‘good’ health (mental or physical) is not exactly absolute, but it is associated with better coping skills and a more productive and more content adult life, regardless of the particular ACE or health issue. (For those not familiar, an Adverse Childhood Experience is a chronic traumatic experience in early childhood that could be anything from having divorced parents to being beaten and molested. Anyone can Google this data if you want, most of it’s in physician-speak and may not be easy to read.)

    To be clear….since I don’t want to be misinterpreted.
    Does this mean that every adult with poor mental health had ‘unsupportive’ parents? No. Does this mean that every adult with good mental health had ‘supportive’ parents? No. Are there examples of adults with ‘good’ mental health with poor family support? Yes. Are there examples of adults with ‘poor’ mental health who had good family support? Yes. Again, having good family support doesn’t guarantee good mental health, however, it does impact (in positive way) coping skills which positively impacts mental and physical health as an adult.

    For years, the concept of ‘bad’ family life causes poor mental health and ‘good’ family life cause good mental health has been criticised, but with the recent data both the NHS and the CDC (for US peeps) started a push to recognise that supportive families/schools/clubs/friends/etc. do make a difference in long term health. However, the caveat is that those ‘traumatised’ children who did well in later life had supportive people who encouraged them to talk about their experiences, the grief it gave them, and then encouraged and taught them good coping skills.

    That said, do I think Kate could (and should) have phrased it better (and in all likelihood try to understand it better)? Yes.

    For those wondering, no, I am not a psychiatrist, but I do work in the medical field as a physician with the majority of my time going to treat adults. I am also heavily involved with medical charities dealing with adults who have complicated health issues (be it physical or mental, usually both) and we talk a lot about this.

    1. Linds, I absolutely agree with the trends you mention. And I believe that a child can be successful and complete as an adult if that child has had just one person who has completely loved and supported them in a positive way.

      Do I believe that a family that appears cohesive and supportive to the outside world can in reality do harmful and damaging things to children? Yes.

      Add in other factors such as heredity and it can be a crap shoot.

    2. I agree with what you have to say but it’s the fact that it’s coming from Kate espousing her supportive childhood when I don’t believe she is a well balanced individual herself that I take issue with.
      I also think in the US you can have a support system but access to care plays a factor. And that’s a whole other issue talking about socioeconomic issues in regards to MH.

    3. Thank you for your insight, Linds. I think one important thing to remember is that Kate is not an expert on mental health. She doesn’t pretend to be and shouldn’t be expected to present herself as such. What she does do, is lend her name to Place2Be and other groups that speak to children’s mental health and gives them a voice. Would we have heard of Place2Be if she had not chosen them as one of her patronages? In my opinion today was a big win for her. She is getting much better at public speaking. As anyone who has tried to learn how to play a musical instrument knows, “practice makes perfect”. The art of public speaking is not learned over-night. And she looked perfect!

      1. Babs, she DOES pretend to be. She talks grandly of “her work’ with addiction, mental health issues, and KP tries to present an image of Kate the expert who reads scientific articles and is greatly admired by communities of people like the real experts as if she is one of them.

  13. I understand where she is coming from and do believe that she chose this cause among many others out of good will. But she’s not the best spokesperson for this cause. Does she read those scientific papers? Perhaps I am being too nit picky but I would much rather the speech be about ‘The Diversity of Mental Illness Backgrounds’. We already knew why she picked this cause because of the speech she gave at that Head teachers Conference. But at the other hand this is such a vast area, she won’t be able to cover it properly. For me she actually supports Stress Management which is related to mental health but comes under the umbrella of Mental Health.
    Lastly and unrelated to whatever I typed above, she looks beautiful here.

  14. Mental health is very vast and a significant portion of mental illness or its severity does have an environmental component. I don’t have a problem with Kate’s message as I see it as her trying to convey to parents that providing a safe and healthy environment for their children is a very beneficial. No it’s not going to prevent a schizophrenic from becoming schizophrenic but I don’t think that the Cambridges and Harry are remiss, especially since they are not mental health professionals, for focusing on tactics that can bring about improvements to certain sub-groups.

    I think that getting the message out to parents about the environment in which they raise their children is very important, and no that is not an absolute guarantee that their child will not encounter adversity that will impact their mental health, but if they influence parents, even a small number to make even modest changes, then they have accomplished something very good. They will have also accomplish something very great if they can influence children, teenagers and young adults to be communicative and also kind.

    Furthermore the Cambridges and Harry are also trying to de-stigmatize mental illness and I actually think that the message about open communication and providing a safe environment can even be beneficial to mental illnesses that are due more to “nature” on the nature versus nurture continuum, if those with mental illness or family members are not ashamed to communicate or seek help when symptoms start to appear or escalate.

    1. “Kate’s message as I see it as her trying to convey to parents that providing a safe and healthy environment for their children is a very beneficial.”

      Isn’t this what all loving parents try to do? How is this news or even helpful? And I wouldn’t call her growing up particularly healthy.

  15. I was always neutral on the Middleton family. I thought good for them for being successful, nice they seem a stable family. As for the inclusion in Royal events I thought well given how badly so many other Royal marriages have gone clearly the BRF are trying to change how they do things cos it wasn’t working before. As an Australian I couldn’t get on board with the British snobbery towards them.

    Buuuuuut I am now at the point where I am starting to be creeped out by how close they are and how they talk about each other all the time and the very romanticised picture they present of their lives. It’s just a bit weird. I’ve never heard anyone of my friends speak of their families the way the Middletons talk about each other. It’s getting creepy. They are adults now but still seem ultra attached to the family unit.

    Family is important but this level of attachment at that age and with a family of your own is unusual. It’s all just a bit creepy to me. They all go on and on about the family in interviews in a weird way.

    I’m over it. Find some new lines and stop being so creepy with your obsessively close weird family.

  16. My family was the best. I had a wonderful childhood. And now I’m a princess!

    This is how I show empathy to the poors. If you grow up in a non awesome family (unlike me) you will probably suffer mental health issues. “I’m not doing this work because the subject is close to me,” that, I think is the real message behind all the references to an Idyllic childhood. God forbid people think she would ever have a mental illness!

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