WELL, I hope you’re ready for Sunday’s London marathon because the British Royal Family certainly is. Following the airing of Prince Harry’s watershed interview on mental health on Sunday, he and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are continuing to pop up in support of their charitable initiative, Heads Together, which has a team running this weekend.
First off, if you’ve missed the rundown on what Heads Together is, here’s a good primer.
Now, let’s start with Harry, because why not? The podcast interview in which he participated has been getting rave reviews, as well it should, and has already sparked numerous think pieces on the “stiff upper lip.” The narrative has quickly turned into Harry as the late Princess of Wales’s true heir apparent, the “Diana” of the current BRF, if you will. It’s quite the legacy to take on, but one that it appears he is willing and able to do given that in the past few months he has spoken out on HIV, homelessness, landmines and, now, mental health – all issues that Diana championed at various points.
Today he formally opened the London marathon expo at the ExCeL center in London’s Docklands in the capacity as royal patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust. However, he didn’t do it alone. Instead, he enlisted the help of a five-year-old girl in attendance.
After guiding her in cutting the ribbon he stepped away before quickly realizing he’d left a child unattended with a giant pair of scissors. See below:
He also partook in a televised interview, video for which can be viewed here:
At one he was asked whether his mother would be proud of the Heads Together campaign and he responded, “I hope so. I think she would be proud of the campaign, proud of everybody involved, proud of us. But specifically proud of the UK for having this conversation.”
Now, within 12 to 24 hours there had also been calls – albeit more from social media and certain websites – for William and Kate to make similar disclosures. They didn’t to the same extent, per se, but they’ve certainly been in the mix. Yesterday, Kensington Palace released a video of William and Lady Gaga skyping, which, as a concept, is hilarious, but the content was about Heads Together and Lady Gaga’s experience in seeking help for her own mental health issues:
Side note, but William is sitting in his drawing room at Kensington Palace, the same room where he and Kate entertained the Obamas last year.
William also attended a screening of the “Mind Over Marathon” documentary airing on BBC this weekend. If you’ll recall, he, Kate and Harry were photographed filming for it back in February, wearing nearly the same clothes they had a few days prior for an engagement they had undertaken participating in a marathon training session.
In the documentary, William spoke with a woman who had lost a son and her husband in the span of days and who was obviously dealing with not only her own grief, but that of her remaining children. I found this exchange particularly poignant:
“When your mum passed away you were a bit older than my children. I worry about them growing up. They’ll be OK won’t they?”
“They’ll be absolutely fine. With a mum like you, they’ll be absolutely fine.”
He went on to say:
“Like you said, the shock is the biggest thing. I have my reasons for getting involved with mental health with what happened with my mum when I was younger I still feel, 20 years later about my mother, I still have shock within me.
“People say shock can’t last that long, but it does. You never get over it. It’s such an unbelievably big moment in your life that it never leaves you, you just learn to deal with it.
“You’ll provide the blanket of security and understanding that they’ll need. You doing this is a hugely positive step.”
And later on, he noted:
“As you can see, you know, I have my own reasons for being involved in mental health – what happened to me with my mother when I was younger – but equally the charitable work I do at the moment and the areas that I’m involved in, it all comes back to mental health.”
He spoke more in-depth about why he, Harry and Kate found themselves drawn to this issue when he and his brother participated in an interview with CALMZone:
“Catherine, Harry and I have all been working through our charitable work with organisations dealing with the military, young people, addiction and homelessness. One thing that was clear to us was how many of these issues have a mental health concern at their root, but people can’t and won’t get help because they are ashamed of what people might think. For me, the tipping point came when I saw the impact of suicide through my work as a helicopter pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance. My first call out was to a male suicide and I was told there were five suicides or attempted suicides every day in East Anglia alone. When I looked into it I was shocked by how bad this situation is – suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK – which is absolutely appalling. I hope that through Heads Together and with CALM we can show how to tackle this – by helping men feel they can open up about pressures they are going through and get the help they need.”
And when asked about how his experiences and this perspective would impact his parenting, he answered:
Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings. Over the past year we have visited a number of schools together where we have been amazed listening to children talk about some quite difficult subjects in a really clear and emotionally articulate way – something most adults would struggle with. Seeing this has really given me hope that things are changing and that there is a generation coming up who find it normal to talk openly about their emotions. Emotional intelligence is key for us all to deal with the complexities of life and relationships.
And on that note, let’s turn to Kate. Today she hosted a group of athletes running for Team Heads Together on Sunday at Kensington Palace. She met with her guests, heard more about their own experiences and reasons for participating and then the group placed a Heads Together headband around a mailbox. And yes, that last phrase sounds ridiculous, but it’s a thing across London through Sunday. They’re being placed around any number of things, but especially mailboxes.
One woman who spoke with Kate said:
Kate was just so lovely. She was really genuine. I felt comfortable enough to share my experience with her. She was agreeing with me on all the points about how tough being a mum is at the beginning. She must understand from when she had George.
And on that note, let’s talk about dear Prince George or, as I think of him, the Tiniest Tyrant. It’s been pretty well-established at this point that George was a difficult baby. He was apparently always hungry, which meant not a lot of rest for Kate, who attempted to survive with only a part-time nanny for the first few months. And yes, I realize that last clause may sounds ridiculous to some parents, but we’ve no idea what “part-time” means in this context. Was Kate handling nights on her own? Only receiving help on select days? I don’t know! But neither do you! And not for nothing, Kate reportedly breast-fed George and there’s really only so much “help” a third party can provide on that front.
It doesn’t surprise me that Kate may have been emotionally and mentally exhausted, in addition to being physically wiped out. Or, as she put it, “Nothing can prepare you for motherhood – especially the first time round, the mixed emotions.”
And while, yes, this was the most candid thing Kate has said this week, I would point you to her recent speech for Heads Together on parenting, which is well-worth a read.
My last Kate note will be wholly superficial and I will let you know that today she wore a sweater from Luisa Spagnoli, who is also the designer of one of her favorite red skirt suits, which she wore for an engagement in February. Her shoes are Superga and I’m going to assume her jeans are J Brand, because she loves them so. I liked everything fine – it was sporty, casual and on-theme. Fair enough! And her hair looked great, which I think is a matter of national security.
Finally, I would say I’m proud of these three, but I actually hate it when people say that. I’m obviously not responsible for them. I had nothing to do with this! So, I will say instead that I’m proud for them. Is that a thing? I think they’re nailing this and while they obviously can’t be this media-present every week, it’s good to see they know how to fire on all cylinders when they want and need to.
We’ll see all three together tomorrow (or later today, rather) when they open the Global Academy in Middlesex and talk about Heads Together. It’s unclear whether speeches will be made and who will be making them if there are, but in any event, we’ll cover it here.