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Prince William rushes to the aid of falling man during his and Kate's mental health visit

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Prince William and Kate's engagement on Friday got off to a shaky start as William rushed to the aid of a man who had fallen. Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Jonathan Douglas-Hughes, was ready to greet the royals when he tripped over a bollard and fell backwards with a dramatic thud.

William, a trained air ambulance pilot, came to the rescue and helped the embarrassed and slightly shaken man to his feet. Mr Douglas-Hughes dusted himself off and carried on with his duties, leading the royals to the entrance of the Stewards Academy in Harlow.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in Harlow to champion their Heads Together mental health campaign. The purpose of their visit was to learn about the pressures faced by young people when they are going through a big change in their lives, such as starting a new school year. 

kate© Photo: Rex
Prince William helped up Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jonathan Douglas-Hughes

William and Kate, who looked summery in a blue patterned dress, also wanted to understand how peers and parents can support their children.

William and Kate, who had left their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte at home, joined a lesson on 'big change' run by a small number of students involved with the school's mentor scheme, in which older students support the new joiners in their first year of school.

They were met by a chorus of "Good morning Your Royal Highnesses and guests" as they entered the classroom and took their seats. William admitted it was "terrifying" to be back at school.

The couple, both 34, were guests of honour at the school's assembly where they heard speeches and performances from students on the topic of coping with big changes. The Duke of Cambridge also made a short speech.

kate1© Photo: Rex
The Duke confirmed Mr Douglas-Hughes was alright after he tripped over a bollard

"I feel slightly nervous standing in this assembly hall," said William, triggering a chuckle from pupils around the room. "I was never really good at public speaking at school.

"Catherine and I are extremely and very impressed by what we have seen at Stewards Academy, as we're both strong believers in schools where the emotional wellbeing of young people is nurtured and protected just as much as your learning and academic skills."

"It's particularly good to see the role played by Place2Be, the charity that is part of our Heads Together campaign," he added. "Catherine, Harry and I have decided that we can use our positions to make a difference on the subject of mental health. It should not be a taboo subject in the year 2016. So, the Heads Together campaign is all about getting people talking about the difficult times that many of us will face and have faced in our lives."

kate essex1© Photo: Getty Images
William and Kate are continuing to champion their Heads Together campaign

William also praised the school's 'buddy system' saying: "For some, it is hard to move from the comfort of a school that you know, surrounded by friends, to one that is new, unfamiliar and so much bigger.  

"So, Catherine and I were really pleased to learn about your buddy system just now, and we hope it means that you have a happy and fulfilling time at school. We hope that it helps bring about a habit in your life of turning to someone when you need help, as that will be just as important to your adult lives as academic success."

After assembly, the royals were escorted by the Academy's Head Girl and Head Boy as they crossed the school quad, which was filled with pupils.

They met a group of parents and chatted to them about how they can talk to their children about big changes. Heads Together will be producing a Back to School guide to help parents have these conversations. Currently less than half of parents talk to their children about mental health.

Stewards Academy is one of the schools supported by Place2Be, one of the team of charities brought together for the Heads Together campaign being spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to change the conversation on mental health from shame to support.

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