Kate in video message to mark launch

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The Duchess of Cambridge is launching a centre for early childhood development and wants the issue to be treated as seriously as climate change.

She hopes to help generations of kids by giving them the best start.

The initiative will shape Kate’s future focus as a senior royal.

An aide described it as a “milestone moment” for the Duchess.

In a video to mark today’s launch of the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, Kate, 39, said: “[The aim is] to raise awareness of why the first five years of life are so important for our future life outcomes.”

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On a school visit in March
(Image: PA)

She added she hopes to help create a “happier, more mentally healthy, more nurturing society”.

The centre is publishing its first study –Big Change Starts Small – which has found failing young children costs the economy £16billion per year in England alone.

This includes dealing with issues such as mental and physical health problems that might have been avoided through action in early childhood.

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An aide said: “The Duchess has made the observation that the more you learn about the science of early childhood… the more you realise this is the social equivalent to climate change.

“But it is not discussed with the same seriousness.”

Kate’s new initiative stems from research showing how closely linked the very early years are to problems in adulthood such as addiction, family breakdown and homelessness.

The centre will focus on research, solutions and campaigns to raise awareness.

It will employ about six staff at first and be based at the Royal Foundation’s offices in London.

Initial funding will come from the foundation’s supporters.