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Princess Kate of Wales Visits Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child

The Prince and Princess of Wales walk along the waterfront in Boston during their visit to the city last week.
The Prince and Princess of Wales walk along the waterfront in Boston during their visit to the city last week. By Grace R. Bida
By Charlotte P. Ritz-Jack, Crimson Staff Writer

Princess Catherine of Wales visited the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University on Friday as part of her tour of Boston alongside her husband, Prince William of Wales.

The visit comes as part of a partnership between the Center on the Developing Child and the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, an organization the princess launched in June 2021. Kate was greeted at Harvard by University President Lawrence S. Bacow, Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean Bridget T. Long, and Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui.

Meanwhile, the Prince met with President Joe Biden at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

The royal couple’s Boston tour culminated in a celebration of the Earthshot Prize, an award the Prince established to encourage innovation addressing climate change.

The Harvard Center on the Developing Child conducts research and development on issues of early childhood to foster effective policy-making. The Royal Foundation aims to produce research and campaigns improving children’s early years and to support underserved children around the world.

Jack P. Shonkoff, the director of the Center on the Developing Child, said in a Friday press conference that the organization aims to serve as “a resource for trusted, credible, cutting-edge science of early childhood” to inform the princess’ work.

“The reason for the visit was, first, to have a chance to meet face to face — we had not before,” he said. “It's clear as her center, her new center, is poised to go out more publicly, she is really interested in a partnership with us and we are very interested in a partnership with her.”

Shonkoff said he was impressed by the Princess’s work to “connect the science to the lived experiences of people.”

“I was just very taken and really inspired by how serious she is about wanting to lean into an early childhood agenda,” he said.

Shonkoff also described the royals’ visit as key for drawing public attention to the center’s work.

“For me, the real home run here is giving attention to the issue,” he said.

Tobechukwu O. Nwafor ’25, one of the many Harvard students who gathered to meet the Princess on Friday, said her presence drew new attention to the work being done at the center.

“I didn’t even know that there was a Center on the Developing Child at Harvard,” he said in an interview. “So I think that even if she could even get people to look up the center, that's an important thing.”

Crowds gathered in Harvard Square Friday to greet the Princess. Nawfor estimated more than 500 people flanked Church Street in anticipation for her arrival.

“I think it's a once in a life-time opportunity to see a Princess — the Princess,” he said. “It was surreal.”

—Staff writer Charlotte P. Ritz-Jack can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Charritzjack.

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