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Duchess Catherine’s “influential” work with improving the life of young children is likely to have a “long-term impact”, according to an expert in the field.

The 38-year-old royal recently gave a speech about building a “more nurturing society” for children after she published the results of her UK-wide ‘5 Big Questions on the Under Fives’ survey, where she stressed the importance of creating an environment in which children can be “happier” and “healthier”.

And following her speech, Eamon McCrory, a professor of developmental neuroscience and psychopathology at University College London, has praised Catherine for the “growing influence” of her work.

Eamon – who joined Catherine’s steering group on this topic in 2018 – said: “She is working with homelessness and mental health and with parents and perinatal care – she sees all aspects of the system. She’s talking to neuroscientists and is interested in understanding what it means for parents or what does it mean if we are interested in tackling mental health. She is really interested in putting the pieces together and having a cohesive response.

“She has genuine curiosity and a real respect and understanding of the science. It’s really impressive.

“There is a growing influence of her work, and it’s likely to expand and have a long-term impact on the field.”

And Eamon also praised the “incredible power” of Catherine’s survey and her speech, which he believes will be able to “drive change”.

He told People magazine: “[Catherine] can engage the public, professionals in the sector, scientists and practitioners and in that way can bring together this kind of collective force to drive change.

“If we’re going to tackle issues like addiction, homelessness [and] mental health, that needs to begin in those first few years of life. It needs to be a collective endeavour. That’s the incredible power of this report and the forum today.”

In her speech, Catherine insisted more needs to be done to “elevate the importance of the early years”.

She said: “We must do all we can to tackle these issues and to elevate the importance of the early years, so that together we can build a more nurturing society. Because I believe, the early years should be on par with the other great social challenges and opportunities of our time. And next year, we will announce ambitious plans to support this objective.

“What you do isn’t for the quick win – it is for the big win. It is for a happier, healthier society as well as happier, healthier children. Only by working together can we bring about lasting change for the generations to come. Because I truly believe, big change starts small.” 

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