Thursday, October 29

The Duchess Wears Emilia Wickstead for ‘Tiny Happy People’ Rollout

The Duchess wore Emilia Wickstead for the launch of a new initiative with the BBC called Tiny Happy People.

Tiny Happy People is a five-year program providing support and resources for parents and caregivers of children ages 0-4 to help develop children’s communication skills. As the BBC explains, “At the heart of the plan is a simple behaviour change – getting parents to talk to their children from a very early age. It’s an opportunity to make a really positive difference, supporting children at an early stage in their lives, which will help them fulfill their potential.” 

More about the initiative’s goal: 

When children start school they should be able to speak to their new friends in full sentences, ask teachers simple questions and understand what they’re told to do. When they have these skills they’ll feel more confident and they’ll be happier.

But children starting school all across the UK today are unable to do these things.

In England, 1 in 4 children starting primary school are behind with their level of literacy development (language, communication and literacy skills) by the time they start primary school, rising to more than 1 in 3 (42%) in some areas (Department for Education, 2019). The picture is similar in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland too.

Kate has been working on the project since last November when she visited the team working on the project at the BBC’s Broadcast House. Below you see her with Joe McCulloch, Tiny Happy People Executive Producer (light shirt). 

It looks like that meeting may have been November 7th, as the Duchess wears the same Emilia Wickstead dress and poppy brooch she had on for the National Emergencies Trust launch that day (she is seen below arriving for the NET event). 

In this Kensington Palace video, you hear the Duchess speak about the project.

During that November meeting, she took part in a workshop developing video resources and social media content.  The Duchess contributed to two of the videos on the site, The Science of Singing to the Bump and also How Eye Contact is Key to Your Baby’s Learning. More about the Duchess’s involvement from this story in The Evening Standard.  

The BBC said the duchess helped with the character and background development for the two animations. Other advice on the platform includes tips on staying at home during the pandemic, focusing on how to create a calmer bedtime routine and how to soothe children’s anxiety.

Last week the Duchess spent time with families involved in the project. 

From a Kensington Palace news release: 

The Duchess spoke with Ryan and his daughter Mia (8 months old); Henrietta, Abu and their daughter Amirah (11 months old); and Kerry, Darren and their son Dexter (2 years old) about the ways in which they have used the resources, and how they have seen their children’s language and communication develop as a result.

The Duchess also did an interview with BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin. The Evening Standard notes that in the interview, she said that “she wished she’d had access to the tips and tools available on Tiny Happy People as a first-time mother.” There are some fun mentions of Prince Louis not quite understanding social distancing, and Kate feeling like she is a ‘feeding machine’ at times. Video of that interview is available below after the body of the post.

The project offers videos, articles, activities, quizzes, and other materials.   This is a great example of one of the videos, it is an online Stay and Play Class for 12-24 months.

There is also a Tiny Happy People Instagram page.  Here are two examples of the sort of things you might find on that page. 

The Duchess also offered a formal comment on the project:

“Families and carers are at the heart of nurturing the next generation of happy, healthy adults, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to turn to for advice. Tiny Happy People is an invaluable resource which provides parents and carers with support and tips, as well as simple activities to ensure children develop the language skills they need to have the best possible start in life. I am delighted to have been part of its journey and hope families across the UK will enjoy exploring the resources.”

In addition to Kate’s personal involvement, The Royal Foundation is collaborating with the BBC on the longterm rollout of the project.

Now for our look at what Kate wore last week when spending time with families and taping the Breakfast Club interview.

It looks like the Duchess was in Emilia Wickstead’s Anatola Pleated Polka Dot Shirtdress ($898). 

The piece is polyester with a touch of elastane for stretch; the lining is also poly.  It features pleats on the roomy bodice and full skirt, buttons under a concealed front placket, a wide point collar, a buckle belt, and long full sleeves with button cuffs. Here is a closer look at the bodice. 

As many have noted, the Duchess clearly had some of the volume removed from her sleeves. Below, hopefully, this shot provides a sense of the slightly textured crepe fabric. 

The dress is also offered in white and orange ($850).  If fond of the style, I have added a variety of possibilities to the RepliKate Dresses page

The Duchess also wore her Castañer Carina wedge espadrilles ($190). 

The style is handmade in Spain and has a suede upper, thin ties that wrap around the ankle, and a 3″ rubber-trimmed heel. 

As best I could tell, Kate had on a pair of gold hoops, but that is a guess based only on a split-second or two of video, so it could well be wrong.

UPDATE JULY 14: It looks like the Duchess wore her Patrick Mavros Ocean Tides Milky Quartz in 18ct gold ($3049) style, shown below as worn to the NHS tea on July 5th.   

And, as many noticed, Kate’s hair looks shorter and lighter.


Here is the 4-minute+ interview with the Duchess on the BBC Breakfast Club


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