Duchess Kate attends gala dinner for children’s mental health

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attended a gala dinner at Kensington Palace last night, held in honour of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF).

Kate is patron of the AFNCCF, which is a children’s mental health charity. The organisation is named after Anna Freud, who was a pioneer in the field of child psychoanalysis who died in 1982. Catherine is involved with the charity as a result of her desire to raise awareness of childhood mental health problems.  The AFNCCF is an organisation which focuses on early intervention, which it believes can make a huge difference for those involved.

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Tonight’s gala was held in the Orangery of Kensington Palace, which currently serves as a restaurant and cafe, although it was originally used by Queen Anne for her court gatherings.

During the evening, The Duchess of Cambridge, sporting a poppy pin on her dress, took the time to speak with children and their families who use the services provided by the AFNCCF.


Among those who spoke to the Duchess was Terell Llewellyn, from west London, who met the Royal few years ago. The 11-year-old is now back in mainstream school thanks to being supported by the charity. Kate told him “well done”.

Father Wayne Llewellyn, said: “It makes a difference that The Duchess of Cambridge has taken an interest in this. It’s brilliant.”

“There’s a lot of children in London who could do with this kind of help.”

It was also an opportunity for Catherine and the other guests present to receive an update on the organisation’s new Centre for Excellence, currently being built near King’s Cross Station in London. Kate has visited the centre to hear about it’s work a number of times.

The new £39 million site will offer support for children who are experiencing mental ill health, as well as for their families. In the new building, the AFNCCF will combine science, education and mental health support to ensure the service users are supported effectively.  The heart of the centre will be the Family School, which gives opportunities to children who have been excluded from mainstream education as a result of these issues.

The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to guests as she attends the 2017 Gala Dinner for The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF), held at Kensington Palace. Picture by i-Images / Pool

The school will support these vulnerable children as well as offering them better prospects for the future. The new building is set to open in 2019.


Catherine has previously visited the current site of the Family School, as well as the Centre’s Early Years Parenting Unit. The Duchess also gave her support to a campaign created by the AFNCCF which aimed at promoting mental wellbeing in primary schools.

Speaking of the event, Peter Fonagy, the chief executive of the Anna Freud Centre, said Kate was ‘very interested in maternal mental health’.

He said: “One of the things that we are interested in is intervening as early as possible in children’s lives to improve their chances of good mental health throughout life.

“She’s particularly concerned that mothers’ mental health plays a major role in this and that we are able to support mothers to support their children.”

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