The Princess of Wales highlights the importance of relationships in early childhood

Her Royal Highness with young children who are being cared for by kinship carers.
Her Royal Highness with young children who are being cared for by kinship carers.

The Princess of Wales visited the Foundling Museum in London to meet young people with lived experience of the care system, as well as with foster carers and adoptive parents. She also met kinship carers at a support group session facilitated by national charity Kinship to hear about their experiences of caring for the child of a relative or friend and the vital role they play in raising the next generation.

Her Royal Highness was joined by rapper, singer songwriter and mental health activist, Professor Green, who is one of the Shaping Us campaign champions and was brought up in kinship care by his grandmother.

The Shaping Us campaign is raising awareness of the extraordinary importance of early childhood, from pregnancy to the age of five, during which time our brains develop faster than any other time of our lives.

Our experiences, relationships, and surroundings at that very young age, lay the foundations for the rest of our lives which is why building a supportive nurturing world around children and their carers is so important.

Her Royal Highness' visits focussed on how strong, loving and consistent relationships are even more important for children who experience adversity, trauma, or bereavement in early life.

Her Royal Highness with young people at the Foundling Museum

At The Foundling Museum, Her Royal Highness and Professor Green joined a conversation with care-experienced young people, who have written poems that represent the themes of the Museum’s current exhibition ‘Finding Family’, to hear more about their lived experience of different family structures and how creative writing has helped them to express their emotions. She also spent time with adoptive parents and foster carers to discuss the lifelong impact that positive, supportive relationships can have for children and young people.

Her Royal Highness then joined a support group session, run by national charity Kinship, to learn from grandparents, aunts and uncles who are caring for their grandchildren, nieces and nephews, after they could no longer live with their parents. They shared their experiences and support needs as kinship carers, and she heard about the vital role they play in raising the next generation.

There are over 162,000 children being raised in kinship care in England and Wales, many of whom who have experienced trauma in their earliest years, and who benefit from remaining in the care of their wider network of family and friends. Professor Green was joined by his own nan, together with a grandmother currently caring for her eight year old granddaughter, for an intimate conversation with The Princess about their experiences of these vital kinship relationships.

Read our guest essay from Dr Lucy Peake, CEO of Kinship.