The Prince of Wales smiled as he was told about his late grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh’s very direct approach to fundraising, as he continued his tour of the UK to launch his new project, Homewards.
Visiting the East Belfast Mission at the Skainos Centre in Northern Ireland on Tuesday, Prince William was told how Prince Philip persuaded politicians and civil servants to finance the building he was visiting in Belfast by asking them rather bluntly: “Why don’t you just give them the [expletive] money?”
The royal father-of-two was shown around the centre by Rev Brian Anderson, who chairs the building’s board.
The Methodist minister recalled the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s visit to the old East Belfast Mission Hall in 2008, when they were shown plans for the Skainos Centre. When the monarch asked why it had not been built yet, one of his predecessors explained it was because of lack of money.
The Reverend said of Prince Philip: “He just immediately asked [the politicians and civil servants], ‘Why don’t you just give them the money?’ There was an expletive in there but I’m not going to say that. And three weeks later the money turned up.”
William replied: “That sounds like my grandfather,” and later smiled as he told a crowd of well-wishers who had gathered in the road outside: “The Reverend has been telling me stories about my grandfather.”
The Mission oversees a range of support work for all sorts of people, including the growing number of homeless in Belfast and provides a hostel and housing for people without shelter.
The visit came as part of William’s UK tour to launch Homewards, a five-year locally-led programme, delivered by The Royal Foundation. It is set to take a transformative approach to the issue of homelessness and put collaboration at its heart, giving six flagship locations new space, tools, and relationships to showcase what can be achieved through a collective effort focused on preventing and ending homelessness in their areas.
After his engagement in Belfast, William then travelled to Tillydrone Community Campus in Aberdeen, which was revealed as the fifth location of the Homewards programme.
The sixth and final location unveiled by the Prince on Tuesday was Sheffield, where he was joined by footballer and Homewards advocate, Tyrone Mings, at Reach Up Youth.
On Monday, William launched his project in Lambeth, Bournemouth and Newport, where he was joined by another celebrity advocate and former Spice Girl Geri Horner.