Kate Middleton speaks to teachers with Place2Be
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, 39, has been busy championing Children’s Mental Health Week with a string of important engagements over the past seven days. During a video call with teachers that was shared by Kensington Palace’s official Twitter account on Friday, the Duchess used a word which is said to be banned by her own children’s nanny.
Kensington Palace shared a clip of the virtual engagement on Twitter with the message: “What an inspiring group of teachers!
“Although it’s Children’s Mental Health Week, we need to ensure our teachers are supported as well.
“@Place2Be have been champions of mental health in schools across the UK & continue to provide support to those in need throughout lockdown.”
During the call, Kate asked the teachers: “How are the kids doing? How are they getting on with the remote learning?”
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While “kids” is a fairly innocuous word for “children” it is understood to be blacklisted by Prince George, seven and Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis’, two, traditional Norland nanny.
The Cambridges hired Norland College-educated nanny Maria Bordallo in 2014 and her training means she adheres to strict standards.
These are understood to include a ban on the word “kid” when referring to her charges which means she can only call George, Charlotte and Louis by their first names.
Language expert and author Judi James analysed Kate’s latest video call for Express.co.uk and shared her findings.
Judi said: “With her smile looking compassionate, Kate uses her words and vocal tone to steer this video meeting with teachers into an upbeat and optimistic place that she clearly wants to be seen as inspirational for others in the same profession.
“She sets the pace straight away with two ‘timing’ words when she announces ‘A few quick-fire questions’.
“Words like this would form a pace-setter to the discussion, encouraging something energetic and fun rather than a slower, more detailed conversation.
“It suggests she is a good chair or facilitator, getting the best of the thoughts across in a format that will be social-media friendly.”
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Examining Kate’s use of language, Judi said: “‘What is it that Place2B has really supported you with?’ is a leading or steering question in terms of the tone of the chat as it is worded to pull out the positive responses straight away.
“Kate creates a sandwich with this tonal theme with her next-to-last question: ‘What do you hope to be one of the positives that come out of this?’”
According to Judi, Kate’s use of the word “kids” makes her seem more accessible.
The expert said: “‘How are the kids doing?’ is worded to sound friendly and down-to-earth.”
Judi added: “Kate’s accent can sound slightly Windsor-clipped at times but the use of the word ‘Kids’ rather than children lessens the formality and with her higher tone she sounds like another interested parent.
“Kate also uses two open questions by starting them with the word ‘How’ to trigger a discussion.
“At the end Kate defers to the teachers’ status and experience, asking them to share ideas they use to look after their own wellbeing.
“This is a great open-ender in terms of the topic being discussed as it can help people start to evaluate their own personal ways of looking after their wellbeing and start to plan any extra steps they might need to take.
Judi concluded: “It places the power back in the hands of the audience rather than Kate providing a list of tips and techniques for them to try and possibly risking sounding patronising in the process.”
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