Prince William chats to young people during a visit to the homeless charity Centrepoint, which he has agreed to support as patron
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Princess Diana became patron of Centrepoint in 1992 and held the role until her death five years later

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In his first public role as patron of a charity, Prince William has shown his eagerness to continue his mother's legacy of helping the homeless. Centrepoint, the charity he has chosen to back, was one of Princess Diana's favourites and she remained a supporter throughout her life even at times when she pared back her other commitments.

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Diana became the figurehead for the organisation in 1992 and held the role until her death five years later. Eighteen months before the accident in which she lost her life the Princess took her sons to see Centrepoint at work during a secret late-night visit to a London refuge. The young Prince, then 13, met 25 teenagers and encouraged them to share their problems.

"My mother introduced that sort of area to me a long time ago. It was a real eye-opener and I'm very glad she did," he revealed during a visit to another of the charity's centres this week. "It's been something I've held close to me for a long time."

The 23-year-old immersed himself in his new role, spending two days serving meals to young people at the organisation. As well as helping them find temporary housing and fill in benefit claim forms William sat in on workshops where they could talk through their difficulties.

The refuge may be a world away from Wills' comfortable upbringing but those who have seen the Prince in action say he seems to have inherited his mother's natural affinity for charity work. "He is the same age as many of the young people we support and he gets on so well with them," said Centrepoint boss Anthony Lawton.

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