The Prince and Princess of Wales told a packed room of young people they were “here to listen” on a trip to Birmingham today, October 10. In their second visit to Birmingham in six months, the Royal couple marked World Mental Health day by speaking to 100 young delegates for an event on ‘Exploring our Emotional Worlds’ – and they received a rousing response.
The couple arrived at the Custard Factory, in the heart of Digbeth, at around 1.45pm and entered through a back door to a welcome from officials and young people. The couple spent a good few hours there, participating in a series of workshops, run in partnership with The Mix, a youth charity, and National Citizen Service.
There were touching moments, from Kate keeping her promise to a grieving mother with her choice of earrings, to William sharing how he protected his own mental health. The pair even had time to chat about what their curry order was, revealing they would likely be eating it for dinner tonight.
READ MORE: Prince William and Kate live in Birmingham as they make special visit to Digbeth
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Royal couple take part in challenges and listen to young people
William and Kate started off the day by joining young people on sessions touching on emotions, relationships and community action. Kate was seen passionately engaging with her table, and it certainly appeared to be going well from the look on her face.
Next both of them joined two teams of youngsters competing in team building exercises. The exercises involved toilet rolls, spaghetti pipe cleaners and card – prompting William to joke that his team were “miles ahead” of Kate’s.
Louise Lyons-Appiah and Brady Isaacspearce volunteer for Beyond, a youth mental health charity, and were both at the table with the Royals during the exercises. Brady said she spoke about mental health and relationships with William and Kate: “It was brilliant, it is really great learning about things that are crucial in relationships.
“Those are all things that we can take on board. It was a really helpful workshop.” Louise added: “It was a really invigorating conversation, it’s great to see that people with influence really care.” They added the afternoon was “inspiring.”
The couple then chatted for quite some with BBC 1xtra presenter Nadia Jae, BBC Asian network DJ Nikita Kanda and former Love Island star and mental health campaigner Dr Alex George. The group spoke about the importance of tackling mental health issues from a young age, particularly in the birth to five age group, something the Princess of Wales regularly advocates for.
Brum-born Nikita, who was voted off BBC Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday, also told William and Kate how much things had changed in the Asian community when it comes to discussing mental health.
Things took a playful turn when Nikita asked the couple if they’d be eating a curry tonight after she heard them discussing their dinner plans with Radio 1 stars Vick Hope and Jordan North, who were also at today’s event.
Kate said she loved “lots of spice and lots of coriander” on her curry, whereas William did not. The Prince and Princess’ visit finished with a speech from Kate and panel chat from William.
The Princess said to applause: “Mental health is something we both care deeply about. Back in 2016, we launched Heads Together, a campaign supported by so many wonderful partners, that helped break the stigma around mental health, and encouraged more people to have everyday conversations about it.
“Alongside the efforts of many others, we have seen real change. Today, more people feel empowered to talk about their mental health than ever before. This is a major step forward.
Prince goes walking and spends time with loved ones to help his mental health
“William and I continue to be inspired to see young people, like you all here today, leading this charge – being particularly brave in having some of those conversations yourselves. As a generation, you value and talk more about your mental health than any before you – something we truly admire and applaud.”
Prince William then took to a panel, chaired by Dr Alex and youth activists Michael Lister and Fatima Diallo, who are both part of the Mix, a charity supporting under-25s.
The Prince spoke of his famous “toolkit” for his mental health, and encouraged the panel to share what they thought needed to change so young people had the right formula for handling mental health problems. Sharing how he protected his own mental health he said: “It’s general maintenance, walking, fresh air, having a laugh, I love to laugh. Time with my friends and family, that really matters to me.”
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