Royal fans were surprised to see Prince William selling copies of The Big Issue on the streets of London last week ahead of his 40th birthday.
In a new essay for the magazine, which supports the homeless community and is sold in countries including Australia, the future King reflected on how much his late mother, Princess Diana has impacted his life.
“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 for the publication, before remarking on the remarkable way The Big Issue offers vendors the opportunity to earn a legitimate income.
The royal father-of-three went on to reveal that he spent an “eye opening” day with 60-year-old vendor Dave Martin.
“People recognised a familiar face and were happy to give me the time of day. But that isn’t the case for the vast majority of Big Issue vendors, who sell year-round – including through the bleak winter months – and are barely given a second glance by passers-by,” Prince William penned.
“A hardworking, funny, joyful man, Dave is the kind of person we should all be actively encouraging and supporting. Instead, people often just ignore him. And while The Big Issue provides a mechanism by which Dave can provide for himself, earn a living and – in his words – regain some self-respect, it is reliant on us playing our part too. Because he can only succeed if we recognise him, we see him and we support him.”
Prince William finished his article by explaining how he hopes to teach his three children about the important issue that is homelessness and how to help.
“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.
“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.”
In his royal work as patron, Prince William supports British charity organisation Centrepoint that provides accommodation and support for socially excluded, homeless young people as well as The Passage where Princess Diana took him and his brother Prince Harry as children.
Even after she and Prince Charles divorced, Diana continued her work with The Passage.
“Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society,” the late Princess of Wales was credited as saying.
“It is a goal and an essential part of my life—a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are.”
Aside from their charitable efforts, Prince William and Prince Harry have honoured their late mother through their children as well.
Both Princess Charlotte, William’s daughter, and Lilibet ‘Lili’ Mountbatten-Windsor, Prince Harry’s little girl, have the middle name Diana.