Making toast ... Prince William

Wills drops in on homeless

December 20, 2006

PRINCE William met homeless youngsters today on a private visit to a Centrepoint hostel.

The 24-year-old chatted to teenagers as he dropped in on a shelter to help with breakfast early this morning.

During the low-key visit in Soho, central London, William met some of those who would have been spending Christmas on the streets had it not been for the charity’s support.

The Prince spoke to 18-year-old Ali Iyiguven, who is being helped through Centrepoint’s Safe Stop campaign, which offers nine days of emergency accommodation to youngsters in danger of sleeping rough.

Diana, Princess of Wales, used to take William and his brother, Prince Harry, on secret visits to the charity’s shelters when they were children.

She felt it was important for them to see the problems encountered by the homeless.

A Clarence House spokesman said: “William’s aware that Christmas is an important time for the charity and wanted to highlight the work Centrepoint does.

“He wanted to thank staff and offer whatever support he could.”

William was briefed on Centrepoint’s Countdown To Christmas appeal which is trying to raise more than £250,000 to help youngsters over the crucial festive period and beyond.

The Prince, who graduated from Sandhurst last week in front of girlfriend Kate Middleton, is patron of Centrepoint - a role which Diana held up until her death in 1997.

William joined the youngsters for a cup of tea and heard about their experiences and how they coped with the prospect of homelessness.

Mr Iyiguven said afterwards: “I was very surprised to see Prince William when I came down to breakfast.

“He was really nice and his voice doesn’t sound like it does on TV. I was really nervous.

“We talked about how I had become homeless and why I was at Safe Stop.

“We also talked about the staff and how they are really nice and helpful and give you plenty of advice and seem to care about you.”

Dressed in a grey wool sweater, light blue shirt and jeans, the Prince helped out in the kitchen, fetching bread - appropriately, for the second in line to the throne, Kingsmill - to make toast.

Former Centrepoint resident Stuart Cox, 24, who has met William before during one of his previous visits, chatted to the Prince.

“He really seemed to enjoy meeting everyone. He listens and connects with young people and their situations and makes people feel at ease,” Mr Cox said.

Centrepoint is one of the organisations which will benefit from the Concert For Diana which William and Harry are organising next summer in memory of their mother.

It was one of Diana’s favourite causes and one of the six organisations of which she remained patron when she scaled down her charitable interests.


Prince Harry in the barracks over Christmas

20th December 2006

Army duties take precedence

Prince Harry is missing out on Christmas Day with the royals this year.

The 22-year-old Army officer is on duty in his barracks over the festive period, Clarence House said.

While Prince William, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall gather with the Queen and other royals at Sandringham, Harry will be with his regiment the Blues and Royals at Windsor.

Royal aides insist Kate Middleton is not joining William for Christmas Day in Norfolk despite her appearance to watch him graduate from Sandhurst last week.

Her family is reported to be hiring a cottage in Scotland.

On Christmas Day, the Queen and the rest of her family attend a morning service at Sandringham Church, an annual event that draws crowds of well-wishers.

Camilla will leave after lunch to spend the rest of the day with her family - daughter Laura Lopes and son Tom Parker-Bowles. In the afternoon, the monarch's annual Christmas speech is broadcast to the nation.