This week, it’s been a real pleasure to watch as the Princess of Wales’s button-covered busy work keeps getting gently exposed. Kate launched Shaping Us, her latest Early Years rebrand and the campaign includes a 90-second creepy claymation video, a billboard, tons of videos of a preening Kate (and her wonky eyebrow) and a lot of nothingness. No plan, no call to action, no fundraising scheme, no actual program. It’s not just Omid Scobie calling her out, however gently. The royal rota have started pointing out that there’s no there there, especially in an era where nursery schools are closing and early-childhood programs are being slashed. Even worse, even the American magazines – the ones normally on the monarchy’s side – are starting to publish critical pieces. Town & Country covered the recent criticisms of Kate by that group of credible experts. T&C went even further by publishing some very critical social media comments too:
Some critics are saying though the Princess of Wales’s intentions are good, and early childhood is important, awareness is not enough.
“We are well accustomed to MPs and royalty visiting early years settings, praising the invaluable work of practitioners from David Cameron to Gordon Brown and the Queen Consort,” Dr. Mine Conkbayir, a member of the Practitioners of the Early Years Sector, said, per Sky News. “But nothing is done. The time has long passed for ‘awareness.’ We need action — long-term investment and funding in the early years. Childcare providers are having to turn to food charities to provide nutritious meals for children while stagnant government funding still is not being directed to the sector. The paltry government funding of early years that is provided does not cover the provision of any food.”
Many pointed out that the programs necessary to make children happy and healthy adults, as Kate is advocating for, have been cut in the UK, like Sure Start, an initiative launched in 1998 with the aim of “giving children the best possible start in life.” In the past few years, hundreds of Sure Start centers have been closed.
As one UK resident, Chloë Reeves, tweeted, “The Princess of Wales looks to be launching a sincere & thoughtful campaign, but it’s kind of wild that Sure Start was an evidence-based solution to the problems she’s raising, was evaluated and found to be wonderfully successful, and we’re sort of pretending it wasn’t cut.”
Another, SJ Howitt, wrote, “I’m curious whether The Princess of Wales knows that all our sure start centres and family centres have been closed and whether she is aware that was a political decision?” Yet another user, Carole Britton, who writes in her bio she is a “wife, mum, gran,” tweeted, “Seeing the Princess of Wales at the launch of her ‘Shaping Us’ campaign, highlighting the importance of years 0 to 5, irked a little. We knew these were vital years in child development and ‘Sure Start’ was an initiative to try and address this. It needed work not scrapping!”
There’s a difference between Kate’s message and Sure Start, Naomi Eisenstadt, the first director of the Sure Start Unit in 1999, said. “Sure Start to begin with was explicitly aimed at families in poverty. It became universal because everybody wanted it, which was great,” Eisenstadt told Newsweek. “She’s trying to do something slightly different which is to say that there are some things all parents can do, should be doing, which are good for children. That’s right and you can’t argue with that. What’s missing from the campaign is the political side of it. Everyone can be a good parent but there are circumstances that make it much harder for parents in poverty.”
[From Town & Country]
I would have thought that the timing would be the opposite, that American publications would be the first to poke holes in Kate’s busy work, then the Brits would follow. But it’s been the opposite – UK social media has been highly critical and it definitely feels like the royal rota and “monarchist factions” of the British media feel emboldened to criticize Kate’s childish keenery. And now the Americans are following suit.
Kensington Palace posted this video on Thursday. This is actually the most we’ve heard Kate speak without a script in front of her. Putting her with a half-dozen squirmy kids and trying to show them a 90-second claymation video… and the kids could not have given less of a f–k. Yikes. This video is absolutely not doing what she thinks it’s doing. Yet another example of Kate using children – especially children of color – as props.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.