For the second time since becoming Patron of Place2Be, Kate got jacked by the wind upon arrival at one of its events.
Don’t worry, it wasn’t as bad as when this happened:
This time the wind just staged a hair assault. But it did set a tone of levity in the press for an event at which Kate Middleton delivered one of those rare speeches with words and sentences and everything.
Even though some speech experts recommend opening with a joke, I doubt many would suggest the kind of semen hair joke The Huffington Post UK went with in its Comedy Section Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s ‘There’s Something About Mary’ Moment piece featuring this side-by-side:
The Daily Mail also made a movie reference with its Gone with the Wind! Duchess of Cambridge struggles to contain her bouncy locks as she visits London Conference to make a rare public speech about her ‘wonderful and secure’ childhood headline that was practically as long as the cinematic classic itself. One of their photos captured the same kind of Scarlett O’Hara “I won’t let it go while there’s breath left in my body” resolve Kate seems to possess when it comes to leaving her hair down.
OK! proclaimed Kate Middleton embraces windswept hair as she attends the Headteacher Conference in London with a pic of the duchess featuring the kind of pompadour height The King would have envied:
To be fair, Kate doesn’t control the wind. Even Oprah doesn’t control the wind. But Kate does have access to weather forecasts calling for an updo or a window that enables her to reach for a ponytail elastic when she sees the house from the Wizard of Oz fly by because it’s so freaking windy in London that day. Weather happens.
This is how Sophie, Countess of Wessex, prepared for her November 11th Veterans Day visit to The Queen Elizabeth II September 11th Garden in NYC which had some rain, some fog, some overcast skies and some sun with a high of 57 F and low of 50 F with winds topping out at 5.583 mph.
Sophie often wears her hair back at events. People tend not to take you seriously if they can’t see you. That’s why you don’t see a lot of ghosts being interviewed on Charlie Rose.
Perhaps the wind was trying to do Kate a solid and show off her recently debuted $3,300 Kiki McDonough diamond earrings which otherwise would have been lost in her locks.
And at least the wind headlines cut down on the number of those proclaiming that Kate recycled her 2012 Matthew Williamson peplum dress. I’m as guilty as anyone for using the word “recycle” when it comes to Kate wearing an article of clothing more than once, but it’s a strange way to refer to what is a completely normal occurrence every single day all around the world. It both implies there’s something noble about Kate not immediately discarding clothing after use and it makes her sound like a labeled bin in which people should be putting their bottles and cans.
Kate’s speech came in at 3:20 and can be viewed on Daily Mail as can a transcript of the speech. In terms of delivery, Kate showed some improvement over previous speeches which lends credibility to claims she’s been working on her public speaking, possibly with a coach. Kate looked up more from the sheets of paper than in the past, however sheets of paper or note cards should only be used for reference so eye contact can be made with the audience. Every time Kate lifted her head, her fringe flew up like flares, it was distracting. Kate’s breathing was more measured in the beginning, but she began to lose confidence, seemingly strained by the Received Pronunciation affectation issue that’s plagued past speeches. At one point her face went ashen, appearing to be daunted by the realization that there were still more words to go. Her intonation was a slightly better but still needs developing. Further practice will help with nerves and if she watches the speeches she has given to help her identify areas she needs to work on, she can continue to improve.
What I found most disappointing about the speech was its content in which she equated mental health with luck, referencing her own upbringing and indicating, “My parents and teachers provided me with a wonderful and secure childhood where I always knew I was loved, valued and listened to.” That correlation suggests those with mental illness are just plain unlucky that they weren’t born to families that could afford better schools. Her speech ignores genetic and biological causes of mental illnesses which according to the Place2Be website effects three children in every classroom. Kate stressed “not all children have the anchor of a strong family” which is a disservice to the cause she is supposed to be championing, mental health issues can effect anyone from any background.
One of the reasons mental health is such an important issue is because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, people are afraid to admit to any form of mental issues out of fear it will change how they are perceived. It’s estimated that in the US 80% of those suffering from clinical depression do not seek any form of treatment for it.
Place2Be provides support to schools in the form of individual and group counseling for children, support for parents and care-givers as well as training and guidance for school staff. Providing these resources in schools is very important, but they won’t be effective if they aren’t utilized by those who need them.
I went to a school which had a staff psychologist whose door was always open. Literally. None of the students took advantage of the resources provided by the school because of that door. In the few instances it was ever closed, students knew it was because someone had made an appointment and a watch began to see who would come out of it, which member of the student body was secretly “crazy”. In the girl’s bathroom one day, I remember one student advising another not to seek help for her emotional struggles through the school because it would be social suicide.
No matter how many resources Place2Be provides, the stigma surrounding mental health issues needs to change because children will resist programs that they feel distinguishes them as different in a way they perceive as negative. Parents will also be less receptive to a program whose Patron suggested their children’s mental illness is linked to their poor parenting.
The steps Kate is taking to be heard are important, but even a flawlessly delivered speech cannot compensate for a flawed message that can be detrimental to the cause she is trying to help. There were suggestions that Kate wrote this speech herself, which hopefully she did because if a professional speechwriter wrote her Place2Be speech, Kate might be better served trying that individual out as a stylist, tailor or hair wrangler.