• Kate Middleton's Early Years project can bring long-term benefits, an expert says
  • The professor says the duchess' experience and expertise have blossomed over time
  • Middleton's project brings together various experts to find the root of many societal issues like homelessness and addiction

Kate Middleton has focused her efforts on helping moms, children and families, and an expert believes her work on behalf of them will have a long-term impact.

On Friday, the Duchess of Cambridge delivered a keynote speech at the Royal Foundation's online event, "What the UK thinks about the Early Years." Middleton revealed that she has learned how childhood difficulties are often the cause of many societal issues, like addiction, family breakdown, poor mental health and homelessness, in the decade she has spent on her groundbreaking project.

“But I have also seen how positive protective factors in the early years can play a critical role in shaping our futures, too,” Middleton said. “And I care hugely about this.”

One expert who joined Middleton's steering group on this topic in 2018, Eamon McCrory, witnessed her efforts and saw how the duchess' experience and expertise grew over time.

"She is working with homelessness and mental health and with parents and perinatal care — she sees all aspects of the system," McCrory, a professor of developmental neuroscience and psychopathology at University College London, told People.

"She’s talking to neuroscientists and is interested in understanding what it means for parents or what does it mean if we are interested in tackling mental health," the professor continued. "She is really interested in putting the pieces together and having a cohesive response."

McCrory also commended Middleton's "genuine curiosity" and "real respect and understanding of science." The professor found Middleton's knowledge and efforts "impressive" and said he is positive her work would have a long-term impact.

"There is a growing influence of her work, and it's likely to expand and have a long-term impact on the field," McCrory said. "She has retained a longstanding interest in emotional and psychological development from that time. She sees first-hand in her work the toll homelessness, addiction and mental health can have on adulthood. And she sees very clearly the root of many of those problems lie in childhood.”

Middleton's ongoing initiative brings together different public and professional sectors, including scientists and practitioners, for a collective effort to "drive change."

"If we’re going to tackle issues like addiction, homelessness [and] mental health, that needs to begin in those first few years of life," McCrory said. "It needs to be a collective endeavor. That’s the incredible power of this report and the forum today."

Meanwhile, Middleton's work isn't the only thing about her that has caught the attention of many. Experts also noticed that the duchess recently revamped her style, showing a fresh and modern look in Zoom calls from Kensington Palace.

Celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert Olivia Todd noted that Middleton ditched her dark eye makeup for softer shadows and brow pencils and has been rocking a "bronde" hairstyle.

"It's clear to see that Kate has certainly revamped her overall look when you make a comparison between her recent and past appearances," Todd said. "This could be the result of being makeup-free and indulging in skincare and treatments during the lockdown period."

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton arrives to launch a new national support line at the charity Family Action on Jan. 22, 2019 in Lewisham, England.  Getty Images/Adrian Dennis