Kate Middleton at 40 – how Duchess has channelled Diana as a royal kids’ champion


Kate Middleton has been dubbed ‘The Children’s Princess’ as over the years she has become an advocate for all kids, particularly within the fields of youth mental health and early years development

The Duchess of Cambridge meets children during a visit to Reach Academy Feltham in London in 2018
The Duchess of Cambridge meets children during a visit to Reach Academy Feltham in London in 2018

It is a gesture that has come naturally to the Duchess of Cambridge : that graceful dip to the pavement or hospital bed, to the level of the smiling child’s face staring up, a natural empathy.

Away from grown-ups who scrutinised and critiqued, Kate was at home here from the start, offering reassurance to the young, raising a smile and a giggle.

Even having to quickly secure a sickbag from her bodyguard for a pale child spied amid crowds during a 2018 engagement in Coventry didn’t faze her.

This all echoes another much-loved Royal from a different generation. Kate is following in the footsteps of Princess Diana who made this gesture her own: crouching with a relaxed empathy to listen to young confidences.


Kate with a child during a visit to the Scout’s headquarters at Gilwell Park, Essex
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Image:

Martyn Milner)

For Kate, that clear connection with the little ones she meets on her engagements, was to prove the seed and catalyst for what has now become the cornerstone of her royal legacy.

As she approaches her 40th birthday this weekend, with greater standing and responsibility within the royal ranks than ever before, the Duchess – dubbed by fans the Children’s Princess – has now confidently created her niche.

Alongside the arrival of her personal role as mum to her and William’s three children, George, eight, Charlotte, six, and Louis, three, Kate has in tandem become an advocate for all children, particularly within the fields of youth mental health and early years development.

Perhaps seeing the privilege of her own tots within palace walls, she has decided every UK child needs the same support and opportunities.

Princess Diana carries her son Prince Harry on her shoulders at Highgrove
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Image:

Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Kate and William with their daughter Princess Charlotte and son Prince George
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Internet Unknown)

“Kate connects really beautifully with the young. I think that’s very like Diana, but that doesn’t mean that Diana has the exclusivity on that – I think it’s just something that she has within her,” says royal commentator, Ingrid Seward.

The advent of motherhood in 2013 with the arrival of Prince George has perhaps cemented natural tendencies and skills.

Kate has launched her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, stating she wants to “raise awareness of why the first five years of life are just so important for our future life outcomes”.

And she has been a driving force behind a landmark study on perceptions of early childhood. With patronages of children’s charities including Action for Children, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, East Anglia Children’s Hospices, the Evelina London Children’s Hospital and Place2Be, she also helped launch the first-ever Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015.

Diana with pupils at the Swaminarayan School in Neasden, London
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Image:

Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Her personally designed garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2019 was focussed on getting children out into nature to help their wellbeing.

And her own brood arrived right on cue to show us how that was done, enthusiastically collecting hazel sticks and swooping gleefully on a rope swing. “I am passionate about improving children’s life chances and giving them opportunities so they can look forward to the best possible futures,” Kate said.

She has spoken of her own childhood, enjoying the outdoors with the sporty Middleton family and how time outside with her own young family now make some of her most treasured moments.

Kate is hugged by a girl as she visits the Shooting Star House Children’s hospice
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Image:

Getty Images)

And, as Kate follows her passions and carves out a strong role for herself, she is first and foremost ensuring her brood never miss out on her time, as royal children have been prone to in the past. Ingrid explains: “She will actually make sure that she arranges her royal engagements so that she can take the kids to school and be home when they come home, which is pretty difficult to do.

“She decided the children were her priority, whatever she was doing. However important her work was to her, the children had to be her priority.”

As her three treasured children now continue to grow, so Kate will grow with them, building her own unique position on the royal stage.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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