Editorial: William and Kate go the right way

There are encouraging signs in the royal couple's support for the charity sector so far, says Stephen Cook

Stephen Cook, editor
Stephen Cook, editor

Before their wedding last week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambrige asked people who might want to give them wedding gifts to donate to a charitable fund. Of the 26 charities they named, many work in causes that have traditionally been supported by the royal family - the Army Widows' Association, for example, or the Household Cavalry Benevolent Fund. There's also the requisite smattering of Commonwealth concerns, such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Australia and the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

But no fewer than 11 of the 26 are charities that help young people to overcome obstacles and reach their potential. These range from outdoor adventure outfits such as the Ocean Youth Trust and the Venture Trust to charities concerned with specific disadvantage, such as Beatbullying and A National Voice, which helps people who are in or leaving care.

When the list was issued, a statement said it reflected subjects the pair were particularly interested in. It seems plausible that the more traditional royal charities might have been chosen by William, with Catherine perhaps putting forward the youth opportunity causes. Having said that, William succeeded his mother as patron of the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint and seems to be concerned about people on the margins of society.

Whatever their reasons, however, they are travelling in the right direction, indicating their awareness of social disadvantage and compassion for the less fortunate, particularly among the young. The next stage will be for Catherine to work out which charities she will support in the longer term.

A recent poll by NfpSynergy indicated that only 1 per cent of respondents considered her the hardest-working member of the royal family, which is hardly surprising in the circumstances. But the process of changing that should not be rushed, and both she and aspiring charities should make sure they find the right fit - as has the Princess Royal in her exemplary relationships with her chosen causes.

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