Daniel Loveday/Comic Relief Prince William
Prince William believes his late mother, Princess Diana, would be upset that more progress hasn’t been made to combat homelessness.
The Prince of Wales, 40, was introduced to the plight of street sleepers and others without homes by Diana, who took him and his brother Prince Harry to shelters, and he is a longstanding campaigner on the issue.
In a new video, he says that Diana, who died at age 36 in 1997, would be frustrated that more progress hasn’t been achieved.
“My mother introduced me to the cause of homelessness from quite a young age, and I’m really glad she did,” Prince William said. “I think she would be disappointed that we are still no further on in terms of tackling homelessness and preventing it than when she was interested and involved in it.”
The video was made by Comic Relief and will air in full during a telethon this Friday. In a short clip released on Wednesday, William is seen visiting a charity called Groundswell, which Comic Relief is supporting, and recording a podcast as part of Groundswell’s Listen Up! Project.
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Daniel Loveday/Comic Relief Prince William speaks with Nawshin and Miles who have been helped by Groundswell
The Prince of Wales says he is there “to learn” about the stories of two people, Nawshin and Miles, who have been helped by the charity.
“I’m here really kind of to learn a bit more from you both, to hear a bit more about your lived experiences of homelessness,” William tells them.
“My story is relatively complicated. I was in an out of mental health hospital,” he is told by Nawshin, while Miles adds, “I went through a very dark, difficult period about five years ago.”
In other quotes released by Comic Relief, Miles adds, “Homelessness is about not having a safe space — it’s a very isolating life. You exist, you don’t live. Groundswell helps to give a voice to people who have experienced homelessness. People who experience homelessness have solutions if you just ask them — they know what needs changing.”
Nawshin says, “I didn’t have a choice but to leave home — I had a lot of childhood trauma and circumstances happened around me that were out of my control. Coming to Groundswell and being supported to share my story has really helped me. It is powerful for people to actually listen.”
Daniel Loveday/Comic Relief
Prince William has made homelessness a key, long-running element of his public work and has adopted two charities, Centrepoint and The Passage. In fact, he followed his mother in being a patron of Centrepoint, while she took him and Harry, 38, to The Passage as children.
On his 40th birthday last June, he focused on the issue by giving an interview to the magazine The Big Issue and joining a seller on the street.
RELATED: Prince William Returns to Homelessness Charity He First Visited as a Boy with Mom Princess Diana
Comic Relief says homelessness in England has risen by 26% in a year amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. It adds that research shows the number of people estimated to not have a safe place to sleep on a single night in autumn 2022 to be more than 3,000.
Daniel Loveday/Comic Relief
But campaigners believe the issue may be far greater as the number of people in temporary accommodation or considered to be “hidden homeless” are not accounted for, including people staying with family and friends, couch surfing or living in unsuitable housing such as squats or sheds.
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In a statement, the CEO of Comic Relief Samir Patel says, “We believe those who are closest to the issues have the best solutions and we’re proud to be supporting Groundswell’s important work to enable people facing such difficulties to not only be heard but be part of finding new ways to tackle homelessness. Our huge thanks go to Prince William, Nawshin and Miles for helping to raise awareness of this worsening issue and raise much-needed funds at such a crucial time.”