The Duke of Cambridge is determined to include his children in his volunteering efforts as Princess Diana did with him and his brother when they were younger.
The late Princess Diana has a reputation for carrying the philanthropic streak in the royal family. Whether it be AIDS, homelessness, leprosy or land mines, she was out there rallying for often-overlooked causes and raising awareness. Now, her eldest son, Prince William, appears to be taking inspiration from the "people's princess" and doing his bit to help those in need. The Duke of Cambridge recently took to the streets of London, selling copies of The Big Issue—a magazine that helps homeless people—in an effort to highlight the problem.
Prince William describes why he sold The Big Issue on London street https://t.co/Jaj2EepReV— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) June 20, 2022
His Royal Highness and his compatriot, Dave Martin, stood outside a Sainsbury's Local supermarket in Victoria—which is a 10-minute walk from the Buckingham Palace—earlier this month to sell copies of the magazine, reports BBC. Donned in a red baseball cap, a Big Issue tabard and a badge, William helped Martin sell 32 copies in less than an hour, which normally takes Martin around a week to sell. In an article published in The Big Issue's June edition, the prince expressed sadness that people typically do not give a second glance to Martin despite his efforts to help those in need.
Find out more in the latest edition of The Big Issue, sold by people who are between homes or who are long-term unemployed.— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) June 20, 2022
Don't know where your local vendor is? Find out here https://t.co/3CGFYEVZYg pic.twitter.com/qXDWQ5slPC
Speaking to Martin later at The Passage, a center that supports people threatened by or experiencing homelessness, the father-of-three shared how visiting the center with his mother at the age of 11 inspired his commitment to helping homelessness charities. "Ever since I came here [to The Passage] with my mother, homelessness has stuck with me as an issue I want to fight for. I’ve done everything I can to raise the profile of the homeless, and I want to do a lot more," William said.
In his article, the prince stated that although he might seem "like one of the most unlikely advocates for this cause," he has "always believed in using [his] platform to help tell those stories and to bring attention and action to those who are struggling." Speaking ahead of his 40th birthday on Tuesday, William said he hopes to bring his children to visit organizations working to combat homelessness just as his mother had done when he and his brother, Prince Harry, were younger. "And in the years ahead, I hope to bring George, Charlotte and Louis to see the fantastic organizations doing inspiring work to support those most in need–just as my mother did for me," he wrote.
“In the years ahead, I hope to bring George, Charlotte and Louis to see the fantastic organisations doing inspiring work to support those most in need – just as my mother did for me”https://t.co/Nc4gOvNxgI #PrinceWilliamAt40— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) June 20, 2022
With his recent volunteering effort, Prince William said he hopes to raise awareness and highlight the difficulties homeless people experience and the stigma they face in society. "When I speak to you [Dave] or anyone who's been living on the streets, you start to see the human and the difficulties you've been through. There's still some taboo about homelessness. I think the mental health side of things frightens people. We have to tackle all this to help humanize those who are living with homelessness. Many people would not be able to fare as well as you have to get through," he said in a conversation with Martin.
👑✍️🔴 “I have always believed in using my platform to help tell those stories and to bring attention and action to those who are struggling.— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) June 20, 2022
"I plan to do that now I’m turning 40, even more than I have in the past. ” pic.twitter.com/RuM0O7UExS
He also noted how when he was selling the magazine, people brought their best sides to him because of who he is. They engaged in conversation, shook hands and took pictures with the prince. Martin revealed that although he sometimes has to see the worst side of people, building his pitch over the years has made it an uncommon occurrence now. "I'm fortunate that I've built up my pitch over the years [Martin normally sells at Tesco in Hammersmith] and it is quite a friendly place. But I've heard vendors getting spat at and a lot of verbal abuse," he said.
"Today was quiet to begin with and then all of a sudden, it’s like crazy," said Dave.— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) June 20, 2022
Some people couldn't help getting a selfie or two as well as a copy of the magazine.
You would though, wouldn't you pic.twitter.com/6dACqDH1ui
This is one of the reasons why the Duke of Cambridge pledges to continue raising awareness and showing support for the homelessness crisis. "As she [Princess Diana] instinctively knew, and as I continue to try and highlight, the first step to fixing a problem is for everyone to see it for what it truly is," William wrote in his article. The prince is currently working towards expanding his efforts by using his platform and privilege to share more stories of people experiencing homelessness and set remedial measures in action for those who are struggling.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, things got a lot worse for people who needed housing. Over 270,000 people in England were homeless when last counted in December 2021, including 126,000 children. This number is predicted to increase with rent, gas and food prices hitting record levels in recent months. "I worry it will get a lot worse," William said. "We've already come out the back of a pretty bad period for trying to tackle homelessness. Current projections mean we could find ourselves in a much trickier position in the next couple of years. Getting on top of it sooner rather than later is in everyone’s best interest."
“I was 11 when I first visited a homeless shelter with my mother." https://t.co/OnYX3vVghI— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 20, 2022
However, amidst this ominous projection, the Duke is optimistic that homelessness is not an "irrevocable fact of life." He believes "it is an issue that can be solved, but that requires a continued focus and comprehensive support network."