Duchess of Cambridge says COVID-19 made her value family connections even more

·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Kate discusses early years education with US First Lady

The Duchess of Cambridge has said the COVID-19 pandemic made her value her connection to her family in a deeper way, and think of what she really wanted for her children. 

Kate joined forces with Jill Biden, the first lady, to write an op-ed on Early Years development for CNN, after visiting a school in Cornwall with her on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

In the piece the two women set out their commitment to Early Years work, which the duchess has particularly focused on across the last decade.

They wrote: "In the United States and United Kingdom alike, the disruption of the pandemic has helped us focus on the things that matter most. Having been kept apart, we all value our connection to our families and loved ones in a much deeper way.

"We also have allowed ourselves to think differently about the future, and what we want for our children."

The two women also pushed for world leaders to be "ambitious" in how they plan the recovery in a post-COVID world.

HAYLE, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L) and U.S. First Lady Dr Jill Biden, carrying carrots for the school rabbit, Storm, during a visit to Connor Downs Academy, during the G7 summit in Cornwall on June 11, 2021 in Hayle, west Cornwall, England. (Photo by Aaron Chown/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Kate with Jill Biden carrying carrots for the school rabbit, Storm, during a visit to Connor Downs Academy. (Aaron Chown/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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They said: "We both believe that part of this vision for the future must include a fundamental shift in how our countries approach the earliest years of life. If we care about how children perform at school, how they succeed in their careers when they are older, and about their lifelong mental and physical health, then we have to care about how we are nurturing their brains, their experiences and relationships in the early years before school."

They added: "As we look to a post-pandemic future, there are few issues more worthy of our attention than the transformative power of early childhood care and education for our communities and nations. We look forward to championing this work in the years to come."

The piece came after Dr Biden and Kate's round table at Connor Downs Academy in Cornwall, where they spoke to experts about the importance of the first few years of a child's life.

Friends of the duchess revealed the royal had set out to have a single focus in her work from the moment she married Prince William, and with patronages linked to addiction and rehabilitation, the link to Early Years development made sense. 

HAYLE, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge participating in a roundtable discussion with a number of representatives from the early years sector who have been influential in the Duchess work in this space, during a visit to Connor Downs Academy, during the G7 summit in Cornwall on June 11, 2021 in Hayle, west Cornwall, England. (Photo by Aaron Chown/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge participating in a roundtable discussion with a number of representatives from the early years sector during a visit to Connor Downs Academy.( Aaron Chown/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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Speaking to The Telegraph, her former aide said she arranged secret meetings for Kate to "listen and learn" adding: "A lot of it was behind the scenes, just talking to people and hearing where it was that they needed more help. The one thing that united all of the women at Hope House was that the derailing had started so early on. They could trace the problems in their adult lives back to childhood."

Last year Kate launched a survey, Five Big Questions on the under-fives, which became one of the biggest surveys ever, garnering hundreds of thousands of responses.

While some of her work appears to have been delayed by the shift to respond to and support those working on the frontlines, the duchess teased a big announcement next week on the project.

Sharing the op-ed, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tweeted: "There are few issues more worthy of our attention than the transformative power of early childhood care and education for our communities and nations.   

HAYLE, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L) and U.S. First Lady Dr Jill Biden during a visit to Connor Downs Academy, during the G7 summit in Cornwall on June 11, 2021 in Hayle, west Cornwall, England. (Photo by Aaron Chown/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Kate and Dr Biden have joined forces on the Early Years work. (Aaron Chown/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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"The @FLOTUS and I both look forward to championing this work in the years to come."

Op-ed pieces like this are rare for Royal Family members, and it's even more unusual for the royal to team up with a political figure like the first lady.

The Royal Family stay out of party politics, though many of the causes and issues they work on inevitably have political elements, or are affected by politics.

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