Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has spoken out about the isolation she felt when Prince George was a baby.
While speaking to workers at a children and parents center in Cardiff, Wales, the duchess confessed that she had felt "isolated, so cut off. I didn't have family around and he [Prince William] was doing night shifts."
The royal mother of three was referring to her days as a first-time mother to newborn Prince George. At that time she and Prince William had lived in Wales, with Prince William stationed with the Royal Air Force.
She told workers from the Ely and Careau Children's Centre, "It's nice to be back in Wales. I was chatting to some of the mums. It was the first year and I'd just had George — William was still working with search and rescue — and we came up here and I had a tiny, tiny baby in the middle of Anglesey.
"It was so isolated, so cut off. I didn't have any family around, and he was doing night shifts. So… if only I had had a centre like this."
The duchess was visiting the centre as part of a 24-hour tour around England and Wales that would see her make four stops to promote her landmark UK-wide survey, 5 Big Questions.
The survey has been launched to "bring about lasting change for children, families and communities in the UK".
According to its website: "Through our 5 Big Questions, we are bringing together the thoughts of individuals, organisations and businesses so that we can build the healthiest generation in history by giving every child the best start in life.
"We want to hear from all adults living across the UK, if you are 16 or above and live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, whether you have children or not – there are no right or wrong answers, we want to hear what you think."
This is not the first time the duchess has opened up about how difficult the early years can be for parents.
In January 2019, at a launch for a support line for the charity Family Action at its Lewisham headquarters, the duchess shared her belief that support falls away for new parents after the first few weeks, leaving new parents feeling vulnerable and alone.
"It's so hard. You get a lot of support with the baby as a mother particularly in the early days, but after the age of one it falls away," she said.
"After that there isn't a huge amount — lots of books to read.
"Everybody experiences the same struggle," she added.
Duchess Catherine has long championed the mental health and wellbeing of mothers and children.
"My own commitment is to the youngest and most vulnerable in their early years – babies, toddlers and schoolchildren – and to support those who care for them," Catherine said in a speech in 2019 at the launch of the Mentally Healthy Schools initiative, part of the Royal Foundation's Heads Together campaign launched by William, Catherine and Prince Harry.
In 2018 the Royal Foundation, on behalf of the Duchess of Cambridge, assembled a group of experts on an Early Years Steering Committee.
Another of Catherine's key projects in 2019 was the Back to Nature Garden she helped design with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)which was showcased at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Created in collaboration with landscape architects Adam White and Andree Smith and the Royal Horticultural Society, the garden was part of Kate's longstanding passion and work on supporting children's early years of development.
"The Duchess believes that spending time outdoors plays a pivotal role in children's future health and happiness," explained an Instagram post shared by Kensington Palace about the day.
"Her garden highlights how time spent in natural environments can help build the foundations for positive physical and mental wellbeing that last through childhood and over a lifetime."
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