Prince William’s supporters reveal what he’s really like behind the scenes – but expert questions if his relaxed ‘call me William’ approach will work as King

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Written By Maya Cantina

Prince William’s impact on charities is ‘very personal’ and he often does work behind the scenes with homeless people,  the CEO of one of the groups he works with has revealed.

Mick Clarke, chief executive of The Passage, a homeless charity,  said the Prince of Wales, 41, ‘has an ability to listen, talk and to put people at ease’.

Speaking to Tatler, in a piece which explores William’s future as king, Mr Clarke explained the royal has come to quietly volunteer at the charity of several occasions.

Other experts also discussed William commenting on the conflict in the Middle East and how he will, like his father, continue to ‘space to speak out sparingly on carefully chosen issues’.

The future King, 41, who is patron of more than 30 charities, first visited the Passage as a child with his mother Princess Diana – something he has said he was ‘deeply moved by’.

Prince William ‘s impact on charities is ‘very personal’ and he often does work behind the scenes with homeless people, the CEO of the passage has revealed. William is pictured volunteering at the charity in 2019

Willam may take a more 'hands on' approach than his father, royal experts have said, he is picture in Wales in 2023

Willam may take a more ‘hands on’ approach than his father, royal experts have said, he is picture in Wales in 2023

Speaking to Tatler, Mr Clarke said: ‘William’s impact is very personal,’ […]

‘Two weeks before Christmas, the prince came to our Resource Centre in Victoria for a Christmas lunch for 150 people. 

‘He was scheduled to stay for an hour, to help serve, wash up and talk to people. He ended up staying for two and a quarter hours, during which time he went from table to table and spoke to every single person.’ 

‘William has an ability to listen, talk and to put people at ease. During the November 2020 lockdown, he came on three separate occasions to help. 

‘It gave the team a boost that he took the time; it was his way of saying: ‘I support you; you’re doing a great job.’  

In December,  William praised the work of  The Passage and said he was ‘deeply moved’ by visiting the charity as a child with Princess Diana.

He shared a video explaining the ‘great work’ the charity does,  including ‘life-changing’ work to prevent homelessness and human trafficking, which was posted on X  on ICAP’s 31st Charity Day. 

‘Having a place to call home is such a precious thing.  Each and every day the Passage work tirelessly to achieve a society where homelessness doesn’t exist and where everyone has a place to call home,’ he said.

See the full feature in the May issue of Tatler available via digital download and on newsstands from Thursday 28 March

See the full feature in the May issue of Tatler available via digital download and on newsstands from Thursday 28 March

Prince William also sparked a few laughs when he said 'Who is pinching my bottom?' when he posed for a group photograph

Prince William also sparked a few laughs when he said ‘Who is pinching my bottom?’ when he posed for a group photograph

Tatler’s article, written by  former BBC Royal Correspondent, Wesley Kerr OBE, also looks at how William may continue as King.

Speaking to Mr Kerr, The Times’ Royal Correspondent Valentine Lowe said that William is ‘shaping’ the future of the Firm, in a more relaxed way that his father. 

‘He [The Prince of Wales] seeks his own way of being relatable, of benefitting everybody, in the context of an ancient institution undergoing significant challenge and upheaval, as the head of a nation divided by hard times, conflicts abroad and social and political uncertainty,’ he said.

Charles is sympathetic to William’s approach and his desire to make time with his young family sacrosanct. They are confidantes, attested by the night of Queen Elizabeth’s death; they were both at Birkhall with Camilla, reviewing funeral arrangements while the rest of the grieving family were nearby at Balmoral, hosted by the Princess Royal. 

‘Charles has had almost six decades in public life and is the senior statesman of our time, with even longer in the spotlight than Joe Biden.

Last summer, William, 41, appeared relaxed as he joined vendor Dave Martin, 61, who has been a friend of the royal since they hit the streets selling Big Issue  in 2021

Last summer, William, 41, appeared relaxed as he joined vendor Dave Martin, 61, who has been a friend of the royal since they hit the streets selling Big Issue  in 2021

The future king says he was 'deeply moved' by visiting the charity as a child with Princess Diana (pictured with Harry and Diana at the Passage in the 1990s)

The future king says he was ‘deeply moved’ by visiting the charity as a child with Princess Diana (pictured with Harry and Diana at the Passage in the 1990s)

But will the the so-called ‘call me William approach be successful? 

The Prince has certainly led the way in ditching the stiff upper lip and takes a more hand-on approach at engagements.

In October, he hugged his was way round a room of Windrush veterans as he celebrated the Caribbeans who helped rebuild postwar Britain – but drew the line at kissing. 

The Prince of Wales was mobbed by well-wishers at the Grange Pavilion community centre in Cardiff, but cheekily told them: ‘I draw the line at kissing!’

Later, when the guests posed for a group photo, William laughed with Kate as they moved to a back row and ushered the Windrush veterans forward, but the room erupted when the prince joked: ‘Who is pinching my bottom?’

Mr Low believes that the royal has thought a lot about his ‘call me William’ approach to the throne, and wondered if it will work when  ‘the whole point of the Royal Family is mystique and being different’, but is keen to modernise the monarchy.

It has been a tough start to the year for the future king. His father, King Charles, is currently undergoing treatment for cancer while his wife Princess of Wales is recovering from abdominal surgery.

Kate Middleton has been working from home on an early years project hailed as her ‘life’s work’ while recovering from abdominal surgery.

The Princess of Wales, 42, launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood’s (RFCEC) Shaping Us project in January last year, aiming to highlight the importance of early years development in children.

Kensington Palace has confirmed Kate is continuing to work on the project as she recovers at home; the Centre has funded a trial of a baby observation tool for health visitors to monitor social and emotional development in youngsters.

The Princess personally suggested the tool could be used in Britain after seeing a similar system during a royal visit to Denmark, according to reports – meaning she is very invested in the trial and its results, due to be published today.

The news she is being kept informed suggests she could be preparing to return to work as planned; Kensington Palace has maintained since January she is ‘unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter’.

See the full feature in the May issue of Tatler available via digital download and on newsstands from Thursday 28 March

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