Will and Kate spread good cheer to homeless
The William and Kate Christmas tour took a distinctly more casual turn on Wednesday than their formal affair earlier in the week.
After black ties and long gowns, the royal couple visited a homeless shelter for youth run by Centrepoint, a charity has had an association with royals since William's mother, Princess Diana, became its patron in 1992.
For this occasion, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were sporting casual attire, with William dressed in cords and a sweater and Kate wearing an olive green dress from Ralph Lauren. The cashmere outfit goes for $560 and, like most of the other dresses she wears for the first time, there was a stampede to buy the item.
Prince William does the "swag" dance with Vanessa Boateng as his wife Kate looks on during a reception at Centrepoint's Camberwell Foyer on Dec. 21. The charity helps homeless young people aged 16-25. (Getty Images)
In addition to shaking many hands at the centre in the south London district of Camberwell, the royal couple took part in a healthy cooking lesson, then watched an X Factor-type show, “Centrepoint’s Got Talent." (video below)
William has been the patron of Centrepoint since 2005, taking up the torch lit by his mother Princess Diana. Centrepoint hosts more than 750 homeless young people every night through their hostels and housing services. It also supplies support services for ex-offenders and single parents.
William has made numerous visits to Centrepoint facilities, dating back to the '90s, when he mother would bring him and Harry along on her stops there. The touch of royalty is having a positive effect, said chief executive Sey Obakin.
"It is a powerful motivator and Prince William is a keen and passionate patron," he told the Daily Mail. "I have seen him talk to a young person and remember their story six months later."
Just hours before the couple's visit, a study was released from Sheffield University showing people who live on the streets are likely to die more than 30 years earlier than the average British person. It stated that the average life expectancy for women is 43 and for men it's 47. In Canada, it's even worse -- a 2009 study by Charity Intelligence Canada showed the average life expectancy for homeless people is 39.
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge attend a "healthy living cookery session" during a visit to Centrepoint. (Getty Images)
The Duchess arrives, left, and departs, right, with a bouquet of fllowers and Prince William. (Reuters)
With the help of the homeless charity Centrepoint, Prince William experienced what it's like to spend a night on the streets in December 2009. He bedded down in a sleeping bag next to a group of wheelie bins around Blackfriars Bridge.