Prince William visits homeless project that Princess Diana took him to as a child

Prince William visits his late mother's homeless charity in first royal visit of 2017IBTimes UK

Prince William has followed in his mother's footsteps by making an official visit to the homeless charity Centrepoint in Ealing. Princess Diana was patron and a regular visitor to the charity right up to her death in 1997. When William and Harry were children she would take them to meet homeless people to give them a grounding in life beyond the palace walls.

The Duke of Cambridge became patron of Centrepoint in 2005 and has made a number of visits to the centre. He also spent a night sleeping rough in 2009 to highlight the plight of homeless people in the capital. Criticised as "workshy" in 2016, William's trip to Centrepoint today (10th January) was the 34-year-old's first official visit of 2017. He also did shifts on an air ambulance last week.

"He does things privately that he doesn't want press [coverage] about," said Centrepoint's chief executive Seyi Obakin, according to The Independent. "He just wants to meet young people and talk to them, find out what is happening for them, find out what he can do to help. And he does that quietly."

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William and Harry's mother Princess Diana famously broke the royal mould before her tragic death in 1997, hugging AIDS patients, campaigning against land mines and taking her children to Centrepoint and other homeless projects.

Centrepoint helps young people aged 16-25 find employment and training and works in partnership with other homeless organisations nationwide. The number of rough sleepers is on the increase in the UK, and charities are also concerned about the many thousands of "hidden homeless" and families in unsuitable or temporary accommodation.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Royal Patron of Centrepoint, meets Sherihan Sharis, 22, as he places a post-it note on his forehead at a Centrepoint hostel on 10 January 2017Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images

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