Kate Middleton in Leeds: Pictures show Princess of Wales visiting iconic Kirkgate Market

The Princess of Wales joined market traders in Leeds to discuss her ambitious campaign aimed at raising the profile of the early years development of children.

Kate toured the city’s iconic Kirkgate Market, meeting members of the public and stall holders to mark the launch of her “life’s work” – the Shaping Us project, aimed at highlighting the significance of the formative years of a child’s life.

In a video message released to highlight the project, the princess said: “Our early childhood, the time from pregnancy to the age of five, fundamentally shapes the rest of our lives.

“But as a society, we currently spend much more of our time and energy on later life.

“Today, the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood is launching a new campaign, Shaping Us, to raise awareness of the life-changing impact we can have when we build a supportive, nurturing world around children and those who care for them.

“Because by focusing our collective time, energy and resources on these most preventative years, we can make a huge difference to the physical and mental health and happiness of generations to come.”

The long-term project is said to be Kate’s “life’s work”, which she hopes will influence attitudes towards children in the early years period of their lives.

In 2012, the late Queen launched Child Friendly Leeds, an initiative which encourages residents, businesses and institutions to make the city the best place for youngster to grow up in, with the belief that the community will see social and economic benefits.

Leeds City Council, working with partners to deliver enrichment programmes to improve outcomes, has seen a safe reduction in the number of youngsters being taken into care, more teenagers going into education, employment and training, and better school attendance.