Prince William was first made aware of homelessness by his late mother Princess Diana, and he believes she would be very disappointed to see just how little progress has been made on the issue in the years since her death.
Comic Relief released a short clip on YouTube on Wednesday from their new video featuring the royal which will air in full during a telethon on Friday. In the teaser, Prince William visits one of the charities supported by Comic Relief called Groundswell where he records a podcast as part of the organization’s Listen Up! Project. During the conversation, the 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.” Princess Diana was a lifelong advocate on this issue, even bringing William and his brother Prince Harry to visit shelters as children.
Elsewhere in the clip, the Prince of Wales said that he was there “to learn” and hear the stories of the two people he was with, Nawshin and Miles, who have both been personally helped by Groundswell. “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,” he said. Nawshin then explained, “My story is relatively complicated. I was in an out of mental health hospital,” while Miles adds, “I went through a very dark, difficult period about five years ago.”
In additional quotes shared by Comic Relief, Miles goes on to say, “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.” And Nawshin notes, “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.” According to Comic Relief, homelessness has risen by 26% in the UK in a single year, and research shows the number of people without a safe place to sleep on a single night in autumn 2022 is estimated to be more than 3,000.
The CEO of Comic Relief Samir Patel added in a statement, “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.”
Listen to Vanity Fair’s DYNASTY podcast now.