Happy 40th birthday to Our Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge

9th January 2022  |  By: Michael Samuel MBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive, Anna Freud Centre

“Today on behalf of the Anna Freud Centre, we would like to wish Our Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, a very happy 40th birthday.

“We are privileged to have The Duchess of Cambridge as our Patron. Her commitment to children and family mental health is unflinching and the interest she generates has encouraged many to talk openly about their experiences. But that alone does not account for her remarkable achievements. She has immersed herself in our work and communicates her understanding of it effortlessly to the wider world. Her commitment to mental health has been extraordinary in its consistency and impact.

“The Anna Freud Centre now runs the Mentally Healthy Schools website, an initiative she instigated through her work at The Royal Foundation. The site offers the highest quality advice, information and resources for schools and colleges. Since its launch in 2018 it has generated well over 1 million users and over 600,000 resources have been downloaded and benefited millions of children across the UK.

“The Duchess also supported our animation Talking Mental Health for children in primary school by providing an introduction. The video encourages young children to speak openly about mental health and has been viewed over 1 million times. We were also very proud to be able to offer expert guidance to The Royal Foundation’s Centre for Early Childhood, which she founded.

“On her regular visits to the Centre, Her Royal Highness has demonstrated her ability to connect with children and families who have experienced considerable difficulties in their lives. This includes children who’ve been excluded from school, parents whose young children are at risk of being taken into care, and young people living in deprived areas determined to overcome the challenges they have faced in their early lives. She has a naturalness about her and has always shown real empathy, humility and understanding. Her visits have been immensely highly valued by everyone who has met her.

“So, from the Anna Freud Centre, we thank you for promoting mental health in a way that could never have happened without you. You have changed the way our nations think about psychological distress. You have achieved greater recognition and acceptance of those whose life is seriously compromised by mental health problems but done this with remarkable lightness of touch while always respecting the seriousness of their problems. So, thank you your Royal Highness! And we wish you a very happy birthday.”

- Michael Samuel MBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive, Anna Freud Centre.

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