The Duke of Cambridge has opened up about the ‘lifelong habit’ he was taught by his parents, as he delivered a speech in London.
William, 35, paid tribute to his late mother Princess Diana and his father Prince Charles at the Charity Commission’s annual Public Meeting on Tuesday (January 23), revealing they instilled a ‘lifelong habit to put charity at the heart of our lives.’
I have two children [Prince George and Princess Charlotte] as you probably know (I gather it has been widely reported); and when I first became a father about four and a half years ago, I began a process of thinking about the way I had been brought up, and the values that my parents had instilled in me,’ William began the keynote speech.
‘As any parent will know, this process is not necessarily one that you undertake consciously — you find that certain values and habits, ones that you didn’t know you had, start bubbling up to the surface,’ he continued.
‘Some of my earliest memories relate to times that my parents spoke to me or — even better — showed me what it meant to have both privilege and responsibilities.’
Charity at the heart of our lives
William recalled visiting a homeless shelter with his mother at a young age.
‘I remember being taken by my mother to a homelessness shelter at a young age, her explaining to me why the people I met there matter, why no society can be healthy unless we take other people seriously.’
William, who is second in line to the throne, also spoke about his father, the Prince of Wales.
‘From my father, I learned how central charity was to his life, his sense of purpose,’ he said.
‘As a young child, I recall evening after evening my father’s diligence and compassion as he applied himself to answering thousands of letters and reading endless reports in order to stay on top of his ambition to do all he could to help the underprivileged.
‘Without me realizing it, what my parents were doing was instilling in me and Harry a lifelong habit to put charity at the heart of our lives.’
Charity is not an optional extra in society
He also added that his father inherited the same habit from his grandparents, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth.
‘My family have not done this because it looks good – they do it because charity is not an optional extra in society.
‘We believe that, above anything else, charities nurture, repair, build and sustain our society.
‘Without the work that charities do, society would be an empty shell.’
William’s wife, The Duchess of Cambridge is currently pregnant with their third child.