Kate Middleton Quietly Attended a (3-Hour!) Parent Meeting on Mental Health at Her Children’s School
Kate Middleton smiled for the cameras as she walked Princess Charlotte to school last week — but behind-the-scenes, the royal mom is also very much part of the school community.
During the summer, Kate attended a meeting at St. Thomas’ Battersea, the school attended by both Charlotte and her older brother Prince George. Run by award-winning mental health campaigner Hope Virgo, the chat covered everything from body image issues to how pupils can emotionally support each other.
“Kate came up and personally spoke to me afterwards, which was nice,” Virgo tells PEOPLE. “We spoke about the work that I do in schools, particularly for younger people, and we spoke about the importance of early intervention and prevention. She was very chatty and friendly.”
The three-hour session in May involved a 75-minute chat with Year 7 and Year 8 students (11-13 year-olds). “We get them to think about the kind of emotions they feel throughout the week, and what causes those emotions,” explains Virgo, a recovering anorexic whose memoir, Stand Tall, Little Girl, is being released in a new second addition in October. “It’s about being kind to themselves and not constantly comparing themselves to everyone around them.”
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The chat was followed by a Q&A with the pupils and then a 90-minute chat with parents. “They were all really positive about it. They just want to help their children to feel okay. They want to get involved to actually support them in the right way.” Of Kate, she adds, “We ended up talking about how to get young people to think about mental health more broadly.”
Virgo, 28, who became a mental health activist after a long battle with anorexia as a teen, now works full-time trying to fight the stigma around mental health. She is also campaigning for the U.K government to review the eating disorder guidance delivered by doctors in a petition titled Dump The Scales, which currently has nearly 95,000 signatures.
Kate, who founded the mental health charity Heads Together, along with Prince William and Prince Harry, has been praised for her work in both mental health and child development. Says Virgo: “It’s all very positive and people are feeling more able to open up about things, which is great.”