Royalty and statesmen




William chats with one of the young people currently staying at the shelter. Centrepoint is endeavouring to help as many homeless people as possible to have a better Christmas
Photo: © Getty Images
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Wills first visted the centre ten years ago with his mother, who was patron of the organisation
Photo: © Getty Images


21 DECEMBER 2006

Young men and women at the Centrepoint hostel in central London got a royal surprise on Wednesday when Prince William stopped by to see them. Clarence House revealed that the second in line, who is a patron of the charity, wanted to draw attention to the important work the organisation is doing this festive season.

Wills arrived at the shelter early in the morning and helped out by serving breakfast. Needless to say, the residents got quite a shock when they woke up to find a future king joining them for their morning meal. "I was surprised to see him at breakfast," said 18-year-old Ali Iyiguven, who is currently receiving nine days emergency accommodation as part of the organisation's Safe Stop Campaign. "He was really nice."

The Prince also spent time chatting to the charity's chief executive, Anthony Lawton, who told him about the Countdown To Christmas appeal. Former resident Stuart Cox meanwhile revealed that the VIP guest had a talent for communicating with those in difficult situations. "He listens, and connects with young people and their situations and makes people feel at ease," said the 24-year-old. "He came across as genuinely interested in my circumstances and those of the other young people he met. At Christmas, it's a real boost."

William's presence came ten years after he first visited the Soho shelter with his mother, Princess Diana. Centrepoint, which now runs 16 services across London, along with other projects outside the capital, will be one the charities to benefit from the Concert For Diana event which William and his brother Harry are organising for next summer.

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