Kate Hosts “Secret” Roundtable on Maternal Mental Health

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You know, you think it’s safe to go offline for a few hours and when you come back the Duchess of Cambridge is hosting secret meetings. One really can’t their eye off of her for a second! Anyway, today’s forum wasn’t actually secret, but it certainly wasn’t promoted as an engagement and there’s very limited news coverage of it. Nevertheless, it’s a significant moment, so let’s talk about it!

First of all, let’s address the “what.” Maternal mental health isn’t new to Kate, per se, but this level of investment certainly is. Kate’s area of focus within the broader Heads Together campaign has always been children and early education, but she has spoken about the important role that parents have and challenges that they face. Several months ago she made a speech about the importance of parents receiving the support they need and she has partaken in group discussions focused on motherhood.

Perhaps even more significantly, Kate has alluded to finding motherhood tricky in the early days. She mentioned it during that same speech earlier this year and again during the “Ok to Say” video she filmed with the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Kate tends to approach her public role cautiously and carefully, which often leads to what appears to be a slower pace. Thus, the beginning stages of a listening tour (or whatever you would like to call it) is a good indication that the Duchess is preparing to double down on this issue.

When I wrote last week’s post on the timing of Kate’s third pregnancy in relation to the Cambridges’ move back to London, I actually thought about this as a topic it would behoove Kate to invest in. Not necessarily maternal mental health, though I think it’s important and fitting given Heads Together, but motherhood writ large. Kate’s attention to her children and her and William’s attitudes towards raising their own kids make such a strong case for her making issues related to motherhood one of her core public focus areas and her such a compelling advocate.

Per Hello Magazine (one of the few outlets to cover the meeting thus far):

Kate, who is expecting her third child with Prince William, spoke to academics and practitioners from Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Anna Freud Centre, Family Action, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Kings College and Best Beginnings. The Duchess has previously spoken about how she coped as a new mother, saying that motherhood was a “rewarding and wonderful experience” but also, at times, a “huge challenge” that has left her feeling “a lack of confidence” for periods.

To quickly cover off on fashion, well, we don’t have much to go with. Kate is wearing a Boutique Moschino cardigan sweater in black and cream. It’s hard to tell from the picture above, but it’s high-collared, features bows and falls just below the hips. Based off the stock photos of the cardigan, it looks professional and polished, but I’ll save a final verdict for when we get a better showing of it. I saw on Twitter that Kate seems to have owned it for a while – she was spotted wearing it the day before Pippa Middleton’s wedding while driving in London.

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Back to the meeting, I think this is very exciting news and outlines a clear direction for Kate as she takes on greater responsibility within the Royal Family. I’m looking forward to what she does with this and very happy to see that she’s feeling well enough to undertake regular engagements again.

On that note, the engagement that KP cancelled on September 4 – the day her pregnancy was announced – has been re-scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14. The day also marks the Prince of Wales’s 69th birthday, who will have just returned from a long tour of Singapore, Malaysia and India with the Duchess of Cornwall. Late this week I’ll be publishing a first post on the trip thus far and we’ll check in with them periodically as they continue their travels.

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As for Harry’s speech last night in Chicago – it’s on my radar. I meant to cover it this afternoon, but thanks to this Kate news I’ve punted it to tomorrow. See you then!

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