Kate Middleton knows something about the struggles faced by new moms — and increasingly, she is speaking out about it:  “It’s so hard,” she shared when visiting London charity Family Action last week.

Now, the royal mother-of-three, 37, is proving how serious she is about helping parents during what can be a difficult time.

Her long-term mission is to mend the strains that pull families apart and address the challenges facing young children from a very early age. Just before she welcomed Prince Louis nine months ago, Princess Kate convened a group of academics, experts and charity heads to research more on early childhood development and identify ways where she can help.

“She has a really deep interest in the early years and parenting and families,” David Holmes, CEO of Family Action and a member of her steering group, says in this week’s issue of PEOPLE.

“Being a parent changes your life so much,” he adds. “It’s great that she’s using her own experience and is interested in an area which is such a shared experience for so many.”

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Kate sees fighting for vulnerable children as an ongoing mission throughout the course of her public life. She has been investigating deeply into the science of mental health, as well as observing first-hand the practical steps being taken to help caregivers and parents, such as at Family Action.

“She feels she can try and do something really significant over multiple decades,” says a Royal Foundation source. “This is something potentially for her working lifetime.”

Another member of her group, Peter Fonagy, who heads up one of her mental health charities the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, says, “She’s extraordinariy serious about finding good solutions to the challenges of families with young children.

For more on Princess Kate’s mission, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands on Friday

“I  don’t know what form that will take, but I feel absolutely certain it is going to have a major impact to the approach this country takes to early interventions to help young children and their parents more effectively.”

“She has one thing that she wants to make her career,” he adds. “That kind of focus from her will make a difference.”

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