Prince William reveals he has been volunteering as a counsellor during coronavirus pandemic

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
William revealed he is one of the responders on the crisis text line. (Kensington Palace)

Prince William has revealed he is one of the volunteers responding on the crisis text line set up by the Royal Foundation.

William and his wife Kate set up Shout with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex last year and the 37-year-old has now said he is one of the people responding to those in need who use the service.

The admission came as William and Kate, 38, spoke to volunteers around the country during Volunteers’ Week, which celebrates those who give their time for free to charitable organisations.

William told fellow Shout 85258 volunteers on a call last month: “I’m going to share a little secret with you guys, but I’m actually on the platform volunteering.”

Kate has also been making calls to isolated people around the country as part of “check in and chat” with the Royal Voluntary Service’s NHS Volunteer Responders scheme.

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It’s understood Kensington Palace had previously been reluctant to say that William was one of 2,000 volunteers who are on the Shout platform for fear it would be overloaded with people hoping to seek out the future king for advice.

Volunteers on the Shout service are trained to deal with any crisis, by helping people sort through their feelings and emotions via text messaging.

More than 300,000 text conversations have taken place between volunteers and people needing mental health support, with around 65% of those texting aged under 25.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speaking to volunteers at Conscious Youth. (Kensington Palace)

Shout is now able to deal with any increase in demand which comes from the admission of the second in line to the throne.

William and Kate marked Volunteers’ Week by calling the Machynlleth Community Corona Response Group, and Conscious Youth, an organisation working with young people from mainly black and other ethnic minority backgrounds in West Yorkshire.

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The duke made another confession of his homeschooling skills, admitting: “I struggle with Year 2 maths.”

The couple has dodged questions on whether their children will be going back to school, but it does appear from their calls this week that they are still in Anmer Hall in Norfolk.

Princess Charlotte and Prince George both go to Thomas’s Battersea. Charlotte is in Reception and so in the year group which has returned to school in England.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during Volunteers Week, speaking to volunteers at Machynlleth Community Corona Response. (Kensington Palace)

But there is not punishment for parents who don’t send their kids back yet.

Sophie Simpson, 38, who co-founded Conscious Youth with Serena Johnson, 35, said: “The duke and duchess totally agreed that teaching Year 2 maths was very difficult. I could agree with them because I teach that as well and I’m struggling.”

On the call to Machynlleth volunteers, the duke joked about the early days of panic buying during the pandemic, asking: “Can any of you explain to me why all of us were bulk buying toilet roll?”

More than 120 volunteers there have been going shopping for their neighbours and helping to cook and deliver meals.

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One of those they spoke to was 91-year-old great-grandmother Lynda Edwards-Ryley, who was feeling lonely before Sadie Maud offered her support.

The duke said: “It’s National Volunteering Week and we want to say a big thank you from both of us. Thank you for all the volunteering you’re doing, thank you for all the time and all the effort you’re putting in.

“It’s been hugely rewarding and important that you guys are doing that and, as we’ve heard from Lynda, all of you have been a lifeline to all the people who you’ve helped in the area.”

The duke and duchess have had to keep up with their charities through zoom calls during the lockdown, while they can’t make official engagements.

They have also been open about the problems of homeschooling, as they have their three children at home with them.