Like any child, Prince William learned a lot from his parents while growing up - and the 35-year-old was keen to share some of these lessons while delivering the keynote speech at the Charity Commission's annual Public Meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 23). The Duke of Cambridge honoured his late mother Princess Diana and father Prince Charles by expressing the ways that they shaped him into the man he is today.
"I have two children [Prince George and Princess Charlotte] as you probably know (I gather it has been widely reported); and when I first became a father about four and half years ago, I began a process of thinking about the way I had been brought up, and the values that my parents had instilled in me," William began.
"As any parent will know, this process is not necessarily one that you undertake consciously — you find that certain values and habits, ones that you didn't know you had, start bubbling up to the surface," Kate's husband continued. "Some of my earliest memories relate to times that my parents spoke to me or — even better — showed me what it meant to have both privilege and responsibilities."
In his speech, William, who is expecting his third child with the Duchess, recalled visiting a homeless shelter with his mother when he was young. At the time, Diana explained to her son why the people he met there mattered and "why no society can be healthy unless we take other people seriously."
When it came to his father, the Duke admitted he learned how "central charity was to [Prince Charle's] life" and how it served as a sense of purpose for Her Majesty's son. William shared, "As a young child, I recall evening after evening my father's diligence and compassion as he applied himself to answering thousands of letters and reading endless reports in order to stay on top of his ambition to do all he could to help the underprivileged."
Prince George's dad added, "Without my realizing it, what my parents were doing was instilling in me and Harry a lifelong habit to put charity at the heart of our lives."
William noted that his father inherited that same habit from his grandparents — Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth. He said, "My family have not done this because it looks good - they do it because charity is not an optional extra in society. We believe that, above anything else, charities nurture, repair, build and sustain our society. Without the work that charities do, society would be an empty shell."