The lessons Prince William learned from his mother, Princess Diana, continue to resonate today.
The Duke of Cambridge last week took to the streets to sell copies of British newspaper The Big Issue, which advocates for the homeless. He says it’s a cause close to his heart, thanks to the work of the late princess.
“I was 11 when I first visited a homeless shelter with my mother, who in her own inimitable style was determined to shine a light on an overlooked, misunderstood problem,” he wrote in an essay for the outlet.
“The Big Issue had launched just two years before, offering people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income by selling a magazine to the public and providing a solution to the issues that saw a growing number of people on the streets of the nation’s capital.”
William wrote about the positive changes The Big Issue has helped bring, although he noted homelessness “is still seen by many as some entrenched phenomenon over which we have little power,” with the potential to worsen.
“And although we can’t fix all of that at once, I refuse to believe that homelessness is an irrevocable fact of life,” he wrote. “It is an issue that can be solved, but that requires a continued focus and comprehensive support network.”
William said people were nice to him when he worked as a street vendor selling The Big Issue and he knows he can use his public profile to bring attention to people in need, especially as he approaches his 40th birthday on Tuesday. He also noted he hopes to turn his kids, Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, on to the cause.
“I plan to do that now I’m turning 40, even more than I have in the past,” he wrote.
“So, for my part, I commit to continue doing what I can to shine a spotlight on this solvable issue not just today, but in the months and years to come.
“And 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.”
William said his mother had a sense for how to address an issue and he will use that as a guide as he proceeds in his quest to end homelessness.
“As she 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,” he wrote.