Kate Middleton is today launching a business taskforce to support hercampaign to transform early childhood development.

The Princess of Wales, 41, is hosting the inaugural meeting of the taskforce at NatWest’s headquarters in the City of London on Tuesday – arriving for the event in an effortlessly chic outfit that included a cream blazer, black cigarette trousers and simple black court heels.

The global firms and major brands on board include Unilever, Ikea, Deloitte, Lego, Aviva, Co-op and Iceland.

Kensington Palace said the taskforce will play an “essential role” inKate’s focus on transforming the way society prioritises youngsters in the first few years of their lives.

NatWest Group’s chief executive Dame Alison Rose described early years development as a “critical issue” for the future growth and success of the UK’s economy and society.

The gathering will discuss how the business community can build a supportive and nurturing world around children and those who care for them.

Amanda Berry, chief executive of the Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales, said: “We all have a role to play in building a supportive and nurturing world around children and those who care for them, and it is fantastic to see business leaders placing the subject of early childhood at the heart of their organisations.

“Businesses play a key role within society and with their huge reach to their employees, consumers and the wider community, their involvement can have a transformative impact on the health and happiness of generations to come.”

NatWest’s Dame Alison said: “This is a critical issue for the future growth and success of our businesses, our economy and our society.

“As business leaders, we have an important responsibility to the colleagues, customers and communities we serve.

“This taskforce can deliver positive change by bringing together a wealth of experience across the private sector to help provide the support and resources that young children and their carers need to thrive.”

The Business Taskforce for Early Childhood will be “run by business, for business”, the Palace said.

It follows the launch of Shaping Us, a campaign spearheaded by Kate and described as her “life’s work”, aimed at raising the profile of youngsters’ early years development.

The initiative was launched with a series of royal engagements across January and February, starting with aglitzy event atBafta HQ in London, attended by celebrity ambassadors including former Saturdays singerRochelle Humes and rapperProfessor Green.

Kate then rolled out thecampaign in Leeds – known for its ‘Child-Friendly’ project – with a visit to Kirkgate Market, when she met stallholders and the public to hear their views about Shaping Us.

The Princess of Wales released a video to promote the campaign in which she chatted to Capital FM radio host Roman Kemp about how raising young children was “tough”.

She also put out a sweet video of her chatting to little ones about teddies, ice cream and having both good and sad feelings as she introduced the project to youngsters at St John’s CE Primary School in Bethnal Green.


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