Prince William admits Diana would be disappointed by UK homelessness

Prince William and Kate Middleton visit the Hayes Muslim Centre

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Prince William has admitted in a thought-provoking interview his late mother, Princess Diana, would be “disappointed” by the fact rough sleeping has risen in England by 26 percent in a year. The Prince of Wales’ candid chat will air on Friday (March 17) on BBC One as part of this year’s Comic Relief coverage. His Royal Highness is the patron of two charities tackling homelessness, Centrepoint and The Passage.

Homelessness has risen amid the spiralling cost of living crisis and research reveals the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2022 was more than 3,000.

However, this is believed to be the tip of the iceberg as the number of people in temporary accommodation is not accounted for.

This includes those staying with family and friends, sofa surfing or living in unsuitable housing such as sheds.

William has been spending time with Groundswell, a homelessness organisation funded by Comic Relief, to shine a light on the issue.

In William’s interview, which will be broadcast on BBC One on Friday evening, he talks to Nawshin and Miles who know first-hand what it is like to sleep rough in Britain.

Speaking in the film, the 40-year-old royal said: “My mother introduced me to the cause of homelessness from quite a young age, and I’m really glad she did.

“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.”

Diana became a patron of Centrepoint, a charity that provides housing and support for young people, in 1992.

Miles told William: “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 added: “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.”

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“Coming to Groundswell and being supported to share my story has really helped me,” Nawshin added. “It is powerful for people to actually listen.”
Money raised this Red Nose Day will help support people struggling with the cost of living crisis and tackle issues like homelessness and food poverty in the UK.

Samir Patel, CEO of Comic Relief shared: “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.”

Diana was instrumental in teaching her two sons, Prince Harry and William, about homelessness. 

She took them to meet rough sleepers in the early 1990s when they were children. 

Sister Joan, from The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, a neighbour of The Passage, said of Diana: “She was beautiful and gentle, I cannot find the words to describe her. 

“She was an ordinary person with no airs and graces, who could relate to anybody.” 

Red Nose Day’s night of  returns on Friday from 7pm on BBC One and iPlayer.

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