THE Duchess of Cambridge has said she wants to teach her children the importance of respect, honesty and kindness.
Kate said making Prince George, the future king, and his sister Princess Charlotte aware of the value of these qualities was just as important as academic or sporting success.
The Duchess’s comments came as she celebrated pupils with the ‘K factor’, or kindness factor, during a visit to Mitchell Brook Primary in north-west London with her husband the Duke for the launch of Children’s Mental Health Week.
The annual event — which this year has the theme Spread A Little Kindness — is an initiative founded by the mental health charity Place2Be, which has Kate as royal patron, and runs counselling sessions at Mitchell Brook in Neasden.
Kate said: ‘My parents taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect, and honesty, and I realise how central values like these have been to me throughout my life.
‘That is why William and I want to teach our little children George and Charlotte just how important these things are as they grow up.
‘In my view it is just as important as excelling at maths or sport.’
Speaking during a special school assembly where those with the K factor were recognised, the Duchess added: ‘People often ask me why I am so interested in the mental health of children and young people.
‘The answer is quite simple — it is because I think that every child should have the best possible start in life.
‘When I was growing up I was very lucky. My family was the most important thing to me.
‘They provided me with somewhere safe to grow and learn, and I know I was fortunate not to have been confronted by serious adversity at a young age.’
The engagement is part of a series of events the Duke and Duchess are undertaking — many with Prince Harry — to promote the royal trio’s Heads Together mental health campaign.
Heads Together is a umbrella organisation — with Place2Be a member — that aims to change the national conversation around psychological issues to a positive one.
The couple watched the assembly from a kindness bench. Normally sited in the school playground, it is used by children who feel lonely or need a chat and other pupils know to come forward and support them.
On Sunday they were in very different surroundings with William, Kate and Harry taking to a track at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to support runners taking part in the London Marathon for Heads Together (pictured below).
During the assembly a Kindness Cup was awarded to Nadia Dhicis, aged 10, who was recognised as the most supportive pupil in the school.
William and Kate later chatted to six children in the school’s library, with two Place2Be counsellors, and listened to their experiences.
Jarrel Mulimbi and Kofi Appiah, two 10-year-old friends, told the royal couple how they bonded four years ago after Kofi told his friend a made-up story to see if he could keep the secret, and he could.
The Duchess told Jarrel: ‘It’s so fantastic you’ve found that friendship here… so you can come in and know you’ve got a buddy you can trust and share your feelings with.’
The royal couple were asked about the London Marathon — which is supporting their Heads Together campaign — and after Kate described how they wanted to get everyone talking about mental health issues William joked ‘although I think as they’re running it could be quite difficult’.
Nicola Harmer, the school’s deputy head teacher, said: ‘The children were amazing on the stage, they were very very confident, even in the library when we were talking to the Duke and Duchess, the children could really confidently express how they were able to spread kindness themselves and look after their own well-being.
‘What’s clear, while this is an amazing one-off event for us, it’s really at the core of what we do here at Mitchell Brook.’
Jarrel said about the royal couple after they had left: ‘They were brilliant, they weren’t spoilt — they were good people because they actually think about other people and how they affect the world.
‘They’re very important because they’re royalty, they have a lot of power but they use that power to help others.’