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Princess of Wales Launches New Business Taskforce For “Shaping Us” Campaign

Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales has launched a new Business Taskforce to support her ongoing work in the early year’s sector. Bringing together leaders from eight leading businesses, from Unilever to LEGO, the Taskforce hopes to provide lasting positive change by introducing new emotional support practices for families and children.

The world of business is incredibly influential. Companies deal with a vast array of people, from their workforce to their customers. During the high-profile meeting with the Taskforce, the Princess said: “I have spoken before about the need to make early childhood the societal equivalent of climate change. In the way that the business world has embraced the net zero target to protect our environmental ecosystems, you also have an important role to play in ensuring that our social ecosystems are protected too.”

The first five years of a child’s life are so important in shaping their entire future as adults. This pivotal time is when the brain develops at its quickest, and where the foundations of skills such as managing stress and showing empathy, are set.

In conversation with Richard Walker OBE, Executive Chairman of Iceland Foods in the U.K., Walker and the Princess discussed the roles businesses have in helping the communities they serve. Both highlighted how it is in the best interest of society as a whole to encourage social skills and resilience in children to build a secure workforce in the years to come. Such qualities are imperative in business.

Walker spoke of “giving away vouchers, trying to freeze the price of our £1 lines. Those [things] are so important to our customers, some of whom are really struggling to make ends meet.”

Easing harsh financial burdens on parents and carers is integral when creating a nurturing environment for children to grow up in. The welfare of parents is the primary element in ensuring a child’s wellbeing, and businesses can play a big part in that.

To be able to provide material items for their children, parents often work long hours and therefore miss important milestones in their children’s lives. Writing in the Financial Times last week, the Princess said that employers “must recognise the challenge for many… parents… in balancing a successful working life with a nurturing home life during their children’s formative years.”

If the large global companies involved with the Taskforce can understand the importance of the early years and implement change, perhaps smaller businesses will follow suit; until the creation of policies with working parents in mind becomes the norm.

Lifelong Work

The Taskforce comes two months after the Princess launched her Shaping Us campaign, a long-term project aimed at raising the profile of early childhood, and how vital the first five years are. The plan is to not just raise awareness but to use this awareness and make a real, substantial impact.

HRH has been heavily involved in the early years since her marriage to Prince William in April 2011, becoming Patron of many UK-based children’s charities, including The Anna Freud Centre and Place2Be.

Negative childhood experiences are frequently found to be the main cause of issues people deal with later in life, such as addiction, homelessness, and mental health struggles. The Princess, as well as her husband, have a range of patronages in these other areas too.

Members of the Royal Family often decide on a cause to which they will dedicate their lives work. Her husband has a great interest in the natural world and climate change, spearheading the Earthshot Prize. The Princess of Wales chose the early years, which was no doubt reinforced when she became a mother.

Her decade of work in this sector was cemented when The Royal Foundation for Early Childhood was brought to fruition in June 2021. The centre funds pioneering research, as well as collaborating with industry experts to find informed solutions and manage far-reaching campaigns.


In 2020, a questionnaire was issued for members of the public to voice their opinions. Titled ‘Five Big Questions on the Under Fives’, it provided essential quantitative and qualitative insight.

They found that 90% of those who answered, viewed the wellbeing of parents as fundamental to a child’s happiness, yet sadly, just 10% of parents take time out to prioritise their mental health. As the Taskforce has since discussed, employers can drastically help address this.

The U.K. has a constitutional monarchy, meaning the King is the Head of State, but the role of creating and passing laws lies with the elected government. Although the Princess cannot use her research to interfere directly with politics, she can use her powerful influence to raise awareness of her causes and bring together experts from different fields for Taskforces like this.

As the Princess has continued to reiterate, bringing generational change to the early years is no easy feat, but we can all play our part. As the famous African proverb goes: “It takes a village to raise a child”.

This is not just another quick charitable PR ploy from somebody high-profile, it is a long-term plan that hopes to see improvement from one generation to the next, and the Princess has proven that she is in it for the long haul.

Edited by: Kavya

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Tags: UK Mental Health Campaign Childhood Business Royal Family Early Years Princess of Wales


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