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The Cambridges

Focus on mental health for William and Kate on first day in Scotland


@KensingtonRoyal/Twitter

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have carried out engagements in Glasgow, focusing on mental health, finding homes for vulnerable families, and empathy lessons for children.

Firstly, William and Kate paid a visit to St. John’s Primary School for a Roots of Empathy lesson designed to help children aged 5-13 learn empathy. It was developed by the Duchess’s patronage, Action for Children.

The Roots of Empathy programme involves a mother and a young baby interacting with students, guided by a trained instructor on how to attune themselves and show empathy by building their understanding of a baby’s needs and emotions and how those emotions affect themselves.

“We were delighted to work with Kensington Palace to organise this visit. We have an incredible record delivering this programme and I was honoured to discuss our work in this area with the Duke and Duchess,” said Action for Children’s Director, Paul Carberry, in a statement on the Inverclyde Council website.

“Having the chance to meet the Duke and Duchess has been a wonderful experience for the children at St John’s and will undoubtedly have a positive lasting impact similar to our Roots of Empathy programme.

“The Duchess is the Patron of Action for Children, and today’s visit allowed our staff to highlight to her the benefits of Roots of Empathy for parents and children throughout Scotland.”

Following the Roots for Empathy session, the royals tweeted: “Thanks to ‘Tiny Teacher’ Saul, mum Laura and instructor Joan for having us along to your Roots of Empathy session.”

The royals then visited the Wheatley Group, which helps vulnerable families find housing in Scotland. The couple arrived for a walkabout at Kennishead, and also met with young people who have been supported by arts and music programmes supported by the Wheatley Foundation.

They learned how Wheatley Group is helping to combat homelessness—having provided homes to more than 5,000 in Scotland—and touring housing facilities designed to be accessible for older residents.

“They were very interested in the work of our Foundation, about how Wheatley is giving young people the best start in life and also how we are creating new job and training opportunities so customers can reach their full potential,” said Jo Armstrong, Wheatley Group Chair, in a statement. “We also explained how Wheatley is playing a key role across Scotland in tackling homelessness and giving people a home of their own.”

The Duke and Duchess tweeted: “Wheatley Group’s work is transforming the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

“Mitigating the impact of poverty.

“Maximising access to employment.

“Fighting homelessness.”

During the walkabout, Kate revealed that Prince Louis is a big fan of Spider Man. Joanne Wales told Hello!: “They were absolutely lovely and straight away they were talking to Jason about superheroes. “It was not as weird as I had thought it would be because they just put you at ease, they are so nice and welcoming, they just wanted to make sure that I was doing okay.”

Finally, William and Kate visited the University of Glasgow to talk to students and professors about their mental health, particularly at exam time and with the ongoing pandemic a factor in their studies.

An unexpected part of the Duchess’s itinerary came when she helped a student solve a tricky crossword puzzle clue stumped on a question about the royals.

Student Jack Baird told The Times, “It was two words of five and four letters. I couldn’t get the second word. I gave it to Kate and asked her as I’m sure she would have known. And she said it was ‘Civil List’.

“She was very excited. It didn’t look like she was going to get it for a moment. I’m really chuffed. I’m going to frame it. She looked thrilled. I think she thought ‘I wouldn’t live this down if I get this wrong’.”

After their visit, the Duke and Duchess tweeted: “So lovely to see so many people at the University today – it was buzzing!”

The royal visit coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week, which the couple acknowledged on Twitter ahead of their visit, tweeting: “This #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek we’re here in Scotland understanding more about the innovative support on offer and the impact it’s having on people from all walks of life who might be struggling.”

William and Kate continue their visit to Scotland today.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.