Prince William swapped his usual suit and tie for a red vest and cap as he went undercover as a Big Issue seller on the streets of London this week.
The Duke of Cambridge, 39, tried to keep a low profile as he sold magazines on Rochester Row, Westminster, yesterday but was spotted by eagle-eyed passersby.
William, who has followed in his late mother Princess Diana’s footsteps in supporting a number of homelessness charities, happily posed for photographs with members of the public.
When one man said he had ‘no change’, William whipped out a card machine so he could make a purchase.
The royal, who spent the weekend celebrating his grandmother the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, was praised for the ‘silent gesture’ of charity by one man who stopped to chat, while others hailed the ‘humble’ royal for leading by example.
Kensington Palace declined to comment on Prince William’s Big Issue volunteering.
Inspiring photographs have emerged showing Prince William selling the Big Issue in central London (pictured). He is pictured with Retired Met Police chief superintendent Matthew Gardner
The Duke of Cambridge (pictured posing for photos while selling the Big Issue), 39, donned a red seller’s vest and hat before standing in Rochester Row, Westminster to quietly sell the magazine. A man who goes by Dan L shared this image online
Prince William is all smiles as he poses with a fellow Big Issue seller (pictured centre) as they wear matching uniforms. He is pictured with London Cab driver Neil Kramer, from east London, and a another Big Issue seller
Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their three children spent the weekend celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Pictured, the couple with Prince George and Princess Charlotte during a visit to Cardiff.
Retired Met Police chief superintendent Matthew Gardner was one of the first to share images of William selling the Big Issue on his LinkedIn account – and others quickly followed suit, posting pictures with the future King to Instagram.
Mr Gardner said in a post made yesterday: ‘My brother-in-law was in London today and saw a celebrity, so he took a photo at a distance. The celebrity saw the ‘covert surveillance’ effort and crossed the road to investigate further.
‘What an honour to have a private moment with our future king who was humble and working quietly in the background, helping the most needy. These ‘silent gestures’ often go unrecognised,’ he added.
He continued: ‘The finale to this unique occasion was when Prince William asked my brother in law If he wanted to buy the “Big Issue”, to which he replied “I have no change”.
‘At this point William produced a mobile card machine… you cannot teach that! Priceless, or should I say “Princely”.’
The Big Issue is a magazine designed to give a helping hand to homeless people. William is an avid supporter of schemes and organisations that support the homeless, as was his late mother.
The duke is patron of Centrepoint homeless charity and in 2020 revealed that he talks to his older children Prince George, now eight, and Princess Charlotte, now seven, about the issue of homelessness.
Speaking to Mary Berry for her Christmas special A Berry Royal Christmas, he said: ‘On the school run already, bear in mind they’re six and four, whenever we see anyone who is sleeping rough on the streets, I talk about it and I point it out and I explain why and they’re all very interested. They’re like: “Why can’t they go home?”‘
Prince William (pictured left) was spotted by a passing Londoner Matthew Gardner who thought they recognised a ‘celebrity’ – and got in closer for a better look
Retired Met Police chief superintendent Matthew Gardner shared images of William selling the Big Issue on his LinkedIn account (pictured)
In December 2009, a then-27-year-old Prince William spent a night sleeping rough to understand the plight of the homeless at Christmas
In 2019, the duke became the patron of The Passage, an organisation established in 1980 which has gone on to help more than 135,000 people in crisis through its resource centre, homelessness prevention projects and innovative accommodation services.
Diana first took the royal and his brother the Duke of Sussex to the charity in 1993, when the pair were young boys and William has gone on to make numerous public and private trips to the organisation.
In December 2009, a then-27-year-old Prince William spent a night sleeping rough to understand the plight of the homeless at Christmas.
He arrived shortly before midnight and stayed out in temperatures as low as minus 4C (24F), lying in a central London alleyway surrounded by wheelie bins.
The second in line to the throne was accompanied by his right-hand man at St James’s Palace, former SAS officer Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, one of the Scotland Yard police protection officers who accompany him everywhere and Seyi Obakin, chief executive of Centrepoint.
Dressed in jeans, trainers, a hooded sweatshirt and beanie hat, he went unrecognised as he laid a piece of cardboard down on the floor and climbed into his sleeping bag.
Reaction: Mr Gardner’s LinkedIn post has been shared widely online, and many social media users have expressed their admiration for William, calling him ‘amazing’ for his efforts
It wasn’t an altogether new experience for former Army officer William, who has often lived rough on exercises. But it certainly wasn’t a pleasant one, as temperatures plunged, making sleep almost impossible.
After sleeping fitfully, William rolled up his sleeping bag at 6am and walked through the streets for 45 minutes, stopping to talk to several homeless people on the way.
He went to Centrepoint’s hostel in Greek Street, Soho, where he showered before cooking breakfast for some of the residents and cutting a cake to celebrate the charity’s 40th anniversary.
He was slightly better off than the average rough sleeper, as he was accompanied by his armed personal protection officer, his private secretary – a former SAS officer – and the chief executive of the homelessness charity.
Even the venue, a secluded spot close to Blackfriars Bridge in the City, was carefully chosen for safety.
The Duke said afterwards that the experience had helped to deepen his understanding of life on the streets.
In a statement released at the time, he said: ‘I cannot, after one night, even begin to imagine what it must be like to sleep rough on London’s streets night after night.
Other royals that have previously done incognito charity visits include Meghan Markle, who appeared low key at a t Toronto based community centre St. Felix Centre shared an unseen photo of Meghan Markle volunteering centre in 2019
Meghan Markle places a bouquet of white roses at the memorial outside Uvalde County Courthouse in a secret visit to the Texan town following the school shooting
Kate Middleton also went undercover to pay tribute to murder victim Sarah Everard last year. Kensington Palace said Kate (pictured) ‘wanted to pay her respects to the family and to Sarah’, reported Sky . ‘She remembers what is was like to walk around London at night before she was married,’ the palace added
‘Centrepoint’s work – along with many other organisations’ – in tackling these fundamental causes is desperately important if we are ever to end homelessness in this country.
‘I hope that by deepening my understanding of the issue, I can help do my bit to help the most vulnerable on our streets.’
Meanwhile Mr Obakin told the Mail: ‘William asked whether there was anything he could do to help understand what our young people go through.
‘I thought on my feet and came up with the thing that I thought he was least likely to do. To my surprise, he said yes. We took as much precaution as possible – finding a relatively secluded spot in an alleyway, shielded partly by a collection of wheelie bins.
‘But there was no shielding from the bitter cold, or the hard concrete floor, or the fear of being accosted by drug dealers, pimps or those out to give homeless people a kicking. I have never been happier to welcome the break of dawn!’
Mr Gardner’s LinkedIn post has been shared widely online, and many social media users have expressed their admiration for William, calling him ‘amazing’ for his efforts.
‘Absolutely love the fact he is out doing this. What a wonderful gesture. What a king he will be one day,’ wrote one person on LinkedIn.
‘Inspirational! What fantastic role models for the next generation too,’ penned another, while a third wrote: ‘How many other members of the Royal family would do that? What a fantastic example… and very quick witted to get the card machine out!’
‘True integrity… doing the right thing when nobody is watching,’ said one person, while another individual simply wrote: ‘Brilliant.’
Prince William’s private charity work comes nearly a week after his wife, Kate, made a secret visit to Evelina London Children’s Hospital to surprise staff, patients and their families unable to join in the Jubilee celebrations this weekend.
Kate, 40, has been patron of the London hospital, which specialises in providing ‘life-changing’ treatment for children with rare and complex conditions, since 2018. She has been snapped visiting on multiple occasions since then, visiting patients and staff, and raising the profile of the hospital.
Sunday’s visit was particularly low-key. The duchess, who just hours earlier had joined senior royals at the Queen’s Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, spent time speaking to the young patients and their loved ones during the unexpected appearance.
News of Kate’s visit to the children’s hospital was announced on the Evelina London Twitter account. The post read: ‘We received a very special surprise last night! Our Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, dropped in for a private visit to meet our patients, families and staff unable to join in the celebrations this weekend.
‘Luckily the hospital was already decked with Platinum Jubilee decorations made by some of the children and young people we are caring for. Thank you YRH [Your Royal Highness] for thinking of us.’
The post was shared alongside two photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge meeting one family by a child’s bedside.
Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their three children – which also includes Prince Louis, four, spent the weekend celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Prince Harry will be ‘furious’ and feel like he is ‘owed an apology’ by the Royal Family after he and Meghan were ‘largely ignored’ during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, biographer claims
Prince Harry is likely to have felt ‘absolutely furious’ during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – and could ‘want an apology from the royal family’, according to an expert.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex only made one public appearance at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, despite flying in from the US with their two children – Archie and Lilibet.
However, the Sussexes did meet the Queen – though their request for a photograph of Her Majesty meeting their youngest child for the first time was allegedly rejected.
Biographer Angela Levin, who spent a year with Harry, has now claimed the prince is likely to feel as if he is ‘owed an apology’ and was ‘largely ignored’ at the four-day celebration.
She added that the Duke of Sussex is allegedly ‘absolutely furious’ about the situation.
Prince Harry is likely to have felt ‘absolutely furious’ during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – and could ‘want an apology from the royal family’, according to an expert
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (left) only made one public appearance at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, despite flying in from the US with their two children – Archie and Lilibet. Pictured right: William and Kate
Biographer Angela Levin, who spent a year with Harry, has now claimed the prince feels as if he is ‘owed an apology’ and was ‘largely ignored’ at the four-day celebration
According to Ms Levin, it was clear Harry was unhappy when attending a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Friday.
She told The Sun: ‘The thing that really stood out for me on that day was Harry’s anger – he wears his emotions on his face and he looked absolutely furious.
‘I think it’s quite interesting really – he could have been feeling lots of things. I don’t know whether he had a wave of feeling at what he had given up.’
Ms Levin added: ‘I think he would have been very, very upset that he was largely ignored. He still feels he’s owed an apology.’ However, the royal expert said Harry is ‘the one who should apologise’.
She also claimed Harry and Meghan did not check Prince William and Kate Middleton’s schedule before inviting them to a birthday party for Lilibet at Frogmore Cottage.
At the time, Kate and William were in Wales with Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
It comes after Ms Levin told GB News that Netflix was keen to secure images of Harry and Meghan with royals like the Queen and Prince William for a documentary series they are filming.
It is notable that the Sussexes were reportedly told there was ‘no chance’ of an official photograph of the Queen meeting their one-year-old daughter Lilibet.
According to Ms Levin, it was clear Harry was unhappy when attending a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Friday
Palace insiders may have worried any photos taken by Harry and Meghan would be shared with TV networks in the US or in Harry’s upcoming memoirs.
Speaking to GB News, Ms Levin said this image would have been ‘very, very valuable’, adding: ‘They would have used it for Netflix. It would give them a kudos that they had her with her great grandmother, you know.’
She said: ‘Harry and Meghan wanted to see the Queen as soon as possible so she saw them on the first day.
‘She went in, and then they asked if they brought their own photographer and they asked if he could take a picture of the two Lilibets and she said ‘no, absolutely not possible’.
‘Because they would have sold it. It would be very valuable, very valuable to them.
‘Actually the palace was so clever and cunning that they never had a chance to be photographed with any of the senior royals.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have released a new picture of Lilibet at Frogmore Cottage where she celebrated her first birthday on Saturday
In this picture, Lilibet is seen in her mother Meghan’s arms inside Frogmore, beside photographer Misan Harriman’s wife Camilla Holmstroem and their two daughters
‘I heard Netflix wanted these pictures of them with the royals, but they were sitting on the right hand side and the rest of them, Camilla, Charles, Catherine and William, on the other side.’
Ms Levin said she believes that after failing to get the images they wanted they ‘probably just went off in a rage’.
‘I think they felt that everyone would drop everything,’ she added. ‘Even on this amazing day because they were there, they’d come back.
‘I thought they were like petulant teenagers really. If they didn’t get what they wanted, they would leave and they left early.’
Ms Levin also criticised the pair for compromising their own security, despite suing the government over security concerns.
Birthday cake? The Duke and Duchess of Sussex asked the baker who created their wedding cake to make a creation for their daughter Lilibet’s low-key first birthday party. Claire Ptak shared a photo of this beautiful pink cake topped with peonies, which could be Lilibet’s
‘There he was in a car with black windows, so they were obliged with that so nobody could see who it was, and they opened the windows right down and started waving at the people,’ she said.
‘That was an indication to me that couldn’t be out of the spotlight, however, that is very dangerous, someone can throw a bomb in or a load of tomatoes in through the window.
She added: ‘And actually, they also flew back on a jet that cost £160,000 but that’s their business, but it put out ten times more carbon emissions than a normal plane would.
‘We’ve had them telling us all we mustn’t fly, we must be careful…we mustn’t let all this carbon emissions carry on – and there they are doing it themselves.’