The Duchess of Cambridge visited the University of London’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies in London yesterday, as part of her ongoing research into early years.
Catherine was at the Centre to learn more about their new study ‘The Children of the 2020s’, which will track the development of children children born in 2021 and investigate the effect on those children of their home environment, community, early years services and their families’ social and economic circumstances.
The children the study will focus on will be chosen in January next year from the cohort born in April, May and June 2021.
The Duchess has spent the majority of her life in the Royal Family focusing on early years and how it affects people in later life and can lead to difficulties which include addiction, mental health struggles and the breakdown of relationships and families.
In June, Catherine founded The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to help deepen our understand more about this crucial period in life.
Catherine met with Professor Pasco Fearon and Professor Alissa Goodman during her visit, both researchers on early years. While speaking to them, she revealed how she has recently been researching both the Middleton and Goldsmith sides of her family tree, to see how their home lives affected them in adulthood. Her research is going back four generations.
Academics showed the Duchess some items from their archives which showed the research being done on early childhood development as early back as the 1940s and 1950s. One of those Ireland was something familiar to the Royal: a ‘birth questionnaire’ filled out by new mothers in 1958.
She launched her own questionnaire in, ‘5 Big Questions’ in 2020, which asked parents and non-parents their views on raising children.
One of the questions 1958 asked of mothers in 1958 was who looked after their husband while they were in hospital giving birth… While times have thankfully changed, it just goes to show that our methods of collecting this kind of information stays the same.