Saturday, 25 Mar 2023

Prince William mocks his art skills on visit close to Diana’s heart

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Prince William has paid a visit to The Passage in central London to officially open two new residential buildings for the homeless charity. The cause holds a particularly personal significance for the prince, as he was first introduced to their work by his late mother Princess Diana.

As he arrived at St Vincent’s Passage, The Prince of Wales was overheard telling the residents they were all “bloody good artists” when we saw their artwork on what home means to them.

He then joked about his own art skills, when he was asked if he wanted to draw: “Definitely not! I can’t draw, everyone knows that!”

The Passage was founded in 1980 and has since gone on to help more than 135,000 people who have experienced homelessness through its resource centre, prevention projects and accommodation buildings.

The two buildings opened today, Bentley House and Passage House, have undergone extensive refurbishments and together will be able to support approximately 225 people in crisis.

William became patron of the charity in 2019 and today met with volunteers, residents and staff to hear about the impact the new facilities will have on those supported by the organisation, before unveiling two new plaques to mark the occasion.

William and his brother Prince Harry first visited The Passage with Diana in 1993, with William making many more trips to the organisation over the years.

Royal biographer Andrew Morton revealed in the documentary Diana: Queen of Hearts? in 2020 that the princess wanted to instil in her sons a lifelong passion for helping others, leading her to take them on charity visits from a young age.

He said: “One of the reasons was she didn’t want the boys to grow up thinking the whole world was 4×4 range rovers, shotguns, and nannies.”

To mark the 40th anniversary of The Passage in 2021 William posted a touching tweet in tribute to the charity and his mother, sharing a black and white photo of Diana during one of her visits.

He wrote: “40 years. 40 years of life-changing work @passagecharity.

“Over the many years that I have visited The Passage, first with my mother when I was just a small boy, I have developed a great affection for you all.

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“Every time I come here, I am touched by the warmth and friendliness, and the dignity and respect you show to everyone who comes through your door.

“I am always so impressed to see and hear the difference that The Passage makes to the lives of people who are experiencing homelessness. Thank you to everyone for your continuous work. W.”

The anniversary celebration had to be postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Hello! magazine.

Once it could safely take place William was able to present an Outstanding Achievement award to Colin Chilman, who found work as a kitchen porter after the charity put him through a hotel training course.

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