Duke of Cambridge fears mental health catastrophe in absence of ‘socialising’

Victoria Ward
·3-min read
Duke of Cambridge sitting under the canopy of an oak tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle. The future king has said there is "no choice but to succeed" when tackling the problem of climate change over the next 10 years - PA
Duke of Cambridge sitting under the canopy of an oak tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle. The future king has said there is "no choice but to succeed" when tackling the problem of climate change over the next 10 years - PA
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The Duke of Cambridge has expressed fears of a “mental health catastrophe” if the entertainment industry collapses due to the pandemic.

Speaking to business owners in Liverpool, which is in Tier 3 lockdown, he said socialising was crucial for mental well-being and noted the worst effects may not be seen for many months.

He spoke via video call to entrepreneurs Yousef Zaher, a local DJ, and Natalie Haywood, who runs several restaurants and event venues and who has already had to make almost a quarter of her 200 staff redundant.

Ms Haywood said: “He was very focused on the well-being of things and spoke of the mental health catastrophe Britain will face if people aren’t allowed to experience social aspects of their lives.

Yousef told him that music, socialising and being with friends is central to dealing with people’s mental health and William absolutely agreed with that.”

She said the Duke was keen to hear how people were coping and what was being done by the Government, even asking what he could do to help.

It comes as the Duke has taken on two new wildlife conservation patronages as the environment increasingly becomes the focus of his career.

Kensington Palace announced on Monday that the Duke has succeeded the Queen as figurehead for Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and has also taken over from the Duke of Edinburgh as patron of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

The development follows the launch of the Earthshot Prize, a £50 million global environmental award designed to harness optimism and encourage progress in a "crucial decade" for the planet.

The prize has been likened to a green Nobel prize and is expected to be seen as the Duke's career-defining project.

Dr Andy Clements, BTO’s chief executive, said: “I am delighted that the Duke of Cambridge has become our patron, following on from his grandfather who worked so tirelessly on our behalf.

“We hope that we will be able to support the duke’s strong interest in protecting the environment through our evidence-based work around environmental issues in the UK.”

In a recent Ted talk, the future king said there is "no choice but to succeed" when tackling the problem of climate change over the next 10 years:

The Duke’s commitment to protecting wildlife was questioned by an animal welfare charity in the summer after he was joined on a grouse shoot by his seven-year-old son, Prince George, near Balmoral.

He has big shoes to fill in taking over from his grandfather, a lifelong ornithology enthusiast who had been at the helm of the organisation for more than 30 years.

The Duke’s fascination with birds began in 1956, during a voyage on the Royal Yacht Britannia between New Zealand and Antarctica when he started to photograph and identify native seabirds.

The journey inspired him to write Birds from Britannia, published in 1962.

He went on to study birds in the wild during trips all over the world, including Africa, Iceland, South America, Canada, and the Galapagos Islands.

The Queen was the FFI’s patron for almost seven decades. The organisation focuses on protecting threatened species and ecosystems in more than 40 countries and is a founding member of The Duke of Cambridge’s umbrella body United for Wildlife.

Mark Rose, chief executive officer of the FFI, thanked the Queen for her support over the decades, adding: “The Duke of Cambridge is a wonderful ambassador for conservation and there is a great deal of synergy between his own and FFI’s vision for the future of the planet.”