Kate follows Queen and Philip’s golden rule on public engagements

Prince William and Kate Middleton visit Windsor Foodshare

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Kate, Princess of Wales, and her husband Prince William visited Windsor Foodshare on Thursday to hear about how the organisation supports local individuals and families. The Prince and Princess of Wales also helped volunteers to sort food donations and prepare packages for those helped by the charity. Windsor Foodshare, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary later this year, helps an average of 150 people per week with its services. While it marks the couple’s second joint outing this year, Kate has already undertaken solo engagements, focusing on her work with early years development. After almost 12 years in the Royal Family, Kate is a seasoned working royal and according to one expert, the Princess has modelled herself on a particularly successful member of the Firm — the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Gyles Brandreth, author of Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait, has pointed out a key way Kate is following in the footsteps of Her Majesty.

In his book, Mr Brandreth recalled a conversation he had with Prince Philip when Kate first stepped onto the royal scene. “When Catherine Middleton came along as a potential bride for his grandson, Prince William, the Duke of Edinburgh was, he told me, ‘relieved to find her such a level-headed girl’,” he wrote.

“‘If you believe the attention is for you personally,’ he warned, ‘you’re going to end up in trouble. The attention is for your role, what you do, what you’re supporting. It isn’t for you as an individual. You are not a celebrity. You are representing the Royal Family. That’s all. Don’t look at the camera. The Queen never looks at the camera. Never. Look at who you’re talking to. Look at what you’ve come to see.’”

Mr Brandreth continued: “I have been on walkabout with the Duchess of Cambridge. She does not look at the camera. Whenever she is interviewed, Catherine talks about the matter in hand, never about herself.”

This month has seen the Princess of Wales focus on a matter she has consistently advocated for as a working royal.

On Wednesday, January 18, Kate joined children, carers and parents at Foxcubs Nursey in Luton. The Princess spent time with the three and four-year-olds, describing the children as “great”.

Her visit was in a bid to highlight the importance of the early years development of children, something Kate described as “vital”.

The future Queen Consort also joined a group of children playing in a sandpit and spoke to staff about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. She said: “I think families realised and communities realised, [when] these spaces were closed down for the majority of the time, I think everyone realised how vital they were.”

Later, on Wedneday, 25 January, Kate met a group of eight professionals from academia, science and the early years sector who she had chosen to offer strategic advice and provide oversight of the work of her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

According to Kensington Palace says, the group — who have expertise in areas across neuroscience, perinatal psychiatry, policy development and psychology — will support Kate and the Centre “as work is accelerated to promote the fundamental importance of the first five years of a child’s life”.

They will help Kate’s Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood as it commissions new research and raises awareness of the extraordinary impact the first five years of life have on the future outcomes of individuals.

Kate has spent the past nine years looking into the experiences in early childhood and cultivating a passion and interest that largely dictates the work she undertakes as a working royal.

According to the official Royal Family website, the Princess “wanted to dig deeper into the current early years landscape to understand the issues that we face and learn how we can best tackle them. It was important to listen to the experts, academics, practitioners, service providers and charities within the sector who work every day to make our families and communities stronger”.

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