Talk about flashback Friday. Prince William took a stroll down memory lane on May 13 visiting The Passage, a homeless in Victoria, London. The 33-year-old royal last visited the shelter some 23 years ago with his mother, the late Princess Diana.
During his visit, William was presented with a special gift – a framed photograph of himself, Diana and his younger brother Prince Harry that was taken in 1994 from his second trip to the charity. His first visited The Passage in 1993.
Prince George's father gave a speech, praising the charity which, has helped over 10,000 people in crisis since it was founded back in 1980. William also reminisced on the past, saying, "The visits I made as a child to this place left a deep and lasting impression upon me – about how important it is to ensure that everyone in our society, especially the poorest, are treated with respect, dignity and kindness, and are given the opportunities to fulfill their potential in life."
He continued, "Through the vision and dedication of those at The Passage, and the support of many wonderful people in this room, St. Vincent's Centre has been completely refurbished; ensuring The Passage will be there to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our society for many years to come."
William had the honor of opening their newly refurbished center. "It gives me tremendous pleasure to unveil this plaque and formally open the rebuilt St. Vincent’s Centre," he said. The dad-of-two was also on hand to see how the charity is helping the city's homeless transform their lives for the better.
The Duke of Cambridge, who wore a smart navy suit and tie, was introduced to one of the charity's beneficiaries Alex Reid. Alex had spent more than five years on the streets. He admitted that he had spent the morning and previous evening cleaning his flat to show William around.
Kate Middleton's husband was given a tour of the research center, which now has a winter garden, training space and medical center. He also stopped by the restaurant to chat to staff, volunteers and people who are supported by the charity.
In the arts room where a project worker was teaching people how to make gifts, William was gifted a necklace for his wife and some bracelets for his brother Harry. "She will love that," he said. "I might get some brownie points."
The visit will no doubt have brought back memories for William, who was 11 when he first joined his mother Diana on the engagement. William's younger brother Harry, who was nine at the time, also took part.
The visit was seen as fairly controversial at the time and a real departure from traditional royal duties. From then on, William and Harry regularly visited hostels for homeless people with their mother and learned about services that combat the problem.
Following Princess Diana's death in 1997, William paid the ultimate tribute to his mother by continuing to champion her cause. In 2005, the British royal became a patron of Centrepoint, a homeless charity for young people. Back in December of 2009, he even slept on the streets of London during the height of winter.
The future King bedded down next to wheelie bins under Blackfriars Bridge with Centrepoint chief executive, Seyi Obakin, and his private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.
Though the group almost got run over by a road sweeper during the night, William said that he took away a lot from the experience. At the time, St. James' Palace said he was able to appreciate "the importance of tackling all the issues that cause people to be homeless and stay homeless, from drug dependency to mental health problems."