London: Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, who was bullied as a child, on Wednesday said she is determined to ensure that children do not suffer the same fate.
The wife of Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, attended a conference run by an anti-bullying charity here as it emerged that she reportedly had to move schools to escape bullies.
Middleton, 31, expressed her keen interest in issues such as cyber bullying and sexting, or the exchange of sexual images on mobile phones, which plague youngsters nowadays.
"She was very interested in the early years, nought to five year olds, which I guess is because she`s a new mother but also because she`s interested," said clinician and journalist Professor Tanya Byron, who gave a talk on cyber-bullying before chatting to the Duchess at the first annual Resilience and Emotional Strength in Schools Forum, run by the charity Place2Be.
"She wants to support us, it`s like a gift. She`s a very bright woman. At one point when I was speaking she was telling the person she was with `I hope you`re writing this down`. It`s not just a fly in and fly out. You can see this means something to her," Byron told the `Daily Telegraph`.
The Duchess, who has been resuming her royal duties after a maternity break following the birth of Prince George in July, was due to stay at the event for two hours but she was so immersed in the subject that she stayed for an extra hour to listen to talks on addiction and self-harm.
Dozens of teachers gathered in London`s Canary Wharf at the offices of the law firm Clifford Chance, a sponsor of the charity, to discuss how to tackle mental health issues faced by children aged between four and 14. Place2Be was one of the first patronages taken on by the Duchess, who has made child mental health one of her key concerns.
Benita Refson, chief executive of Place2Be, told the audience: "Childhood and adolescence is a vulnerable time. Trauma, domestic violence, family breakdown, substance abuse and the impact of poverty all mean that children come to school with more than a satchel on their back. The consequences can be devastating."