The Royal Foundation

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The Royal Foundation
The Royal Foundation Logo.jpg
FormationSeptember 2009; 12 years ago (2009-09)
TypeCharitable organization
Registration no.1132048
HeadquartersKensington Palace
Palace Green
London, England W8 4PU
United Kingdom
William Hague[1]
Vice Chairman
Simon Patterson[2]
Chief Executive
Amanda Sonia Berry[3]
Key people
The Duke of Cambridge
The Duchess of Cambridge
William Hague
Simon Patterson
Alice Webb
Zeinab Badawi
Claire Wills
Hannah Cockburn-Logie
Charles Mindenhall
Lady Demetra Pinsent
Jean Christopher Grey[4]

The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge[5] is a charity which supports the work of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Their projects revolve around conservation, the early years, mental health, and the emergency services.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, founding patrons

Originally named The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, the foundation was set up in September 2009 to enable Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry to take forward their charitable ambitions. Catherine Middleton (now Duchess of Cambridge) and Meghan Markle (now Duchess of Sussex) later joined as patrons of the Foundation upon marriage.[6] The Duke and Duchess of Sussex left the Foundation in June 2019 to carry out their projects independently.[7][8]


In March 2011, preceding their wedding, William and Catherine set up a gift fund to allow well-wishers to donate money to charities they care about in lieu of gifts.[9] The gift fund supported 26 charities of the couple's choice, incorporating the armed forces, children, the elderly, art, sport and conservation.[10] The fund eventually raised over £1m for the respective organisations.[11]

The Foundation awarded its first grant in April 2011, to Fields in Trust, a charity which protects parks and green spaces across the UK. In June 2011, the Foundation partnered with ARK in developing their "Expanding Horizons" programme, which aims to support the lives of children.[12] On 8 January 2012, the Foundation announced partnership with The Forces in Mind Trust to support former UK military personnel and their families.[13] In July 2012, the Coach Core initiative was launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, which provides sports apprenticeship for undereducated and unprivileged youth.[14] Coach Core celebrated its first graduation in January 2015, with a reception held at St. James' Palace. In 2018, the Coach Core Awards took place at Loughborough University, celebrating the achievements of apprentices and graduates.[15] As of 2018, Coach Core has had over 400 apprentices and graduates across 10 locations.[16]

In July 2014, the Foundation, alongside True Colours Trust, launched Pallative Care Pilot, a programme to test methods to supporting families with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. Later that year, the Foundation established the Full Effect project alongside St. Ann's, which supports young and adolescent children find support to avoid the increase of youth violence. The project provided after-school programmes for 250 children per week, and piloted an anti-knife crime resource in several primary schools across Nottingham.[17] In May 2016, the Duke of Cambridge created the Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, recruiting industry partners to develop a response to the online bullying of young people.[18] In November 2017, the Duke launched the Stop Speak Support Campaign, designed from the research from the Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, to help young people advocate against online bullying.[19]

The Royal Foundation Forum was held at the end of February 2018 with William, Catherine, Harry and Meghan in attendance. Under the theme "Making A Difference Together," the event in central London showcased programmes run or initiated by the Royal Foundation, such as Heads Together, the Invictus Games, and United For Wildlife.[20]

In July 2020, the Foundation established an emergency response fund to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, through which they granted £1.8 million to 10 charities that benefit mental health issues, new mothers, education, and helping frontline workers.[21]


The Duke (far right) attends a United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce meeting in 2017

In September 2014, William founded the United for Wildlife initiative and launched the Transport Taskforce, made up of seven conservation organisations, which aims to reduce worldwide illegal wildlife trade and protect natural resources. The Taskforce pledges to increase the global response to worldwide conservation crises.[22] Over 68,000 industry employees have since been trained to work against illegal wildlife trade.[23] The Taskforce has supported 52 law investigations, 8 trafficker arrests, and over 180 trafficking alerts to customs agencies.[24] In March 2016, the Taskforce led the signing of a declaration at Buckingham Palace to shut down illegal trafficking routes and increase information and research sharing, composed of 45 signatories globally.[25]

In 2017, the Taskforce produced a film, I Am a Ranger, which explained the mission and dangers of wildlife rangers in Africa. The film won the award for Best Micro Movie at the Jackson Hole Film Festival.[26] In October 2018, the Taskforce signed the Mansion House declaration, which committed 30 global banks and financial organisations to fight against illegal wildlife trade.[27] In May 2019, the Duke held a Taskforce meeting with both the financial and transport sectors of the group to discuss joint efforts and successes in the area.[28]

In November 2019, the Foundation launched Step into Energy, in partnership with NextOp as part of the Veterans Transatlantic Partnership, to help UK and US military veterans gain work in the energy sector, with a focus on employment and mental health.[29]

Earthshot Prize[edit]

On 31 December 2019, after consulting various organisations and experts, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced the Earthshot Prize, run by the Foundation, to be given to five individuals or organisations who could come up with impactful and sustainable solutions for earth's environmental problems between 2021 and 2030.[30][31]

The project was launched in October 2020; and is slated to give £50 million in funds over the next decade, in accordance with five categories detailing the restoration and protection of nature, air cleanliness, ocean revival, waste-free living and climate action. The Prize is backed by a global alliance of environmental organizations; including WWF, Greenpeace, Oceana, Conservation International. The project was also set up to align with the United Nations's Sustainable Development Goals.[32] The Prize will be judged by an appointed council composed of 13 members, including David Attenborough, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, and Christiana Figueres.[33][34][35]

Submissions for the first Prize ceremony opened in November 2020.[36] The first ceremony took place on 21st October 2021 in London,[37][38]

Mental health[edit]

In February 2014, the Duchess of Cambridge launched Moving Parents and Children Together, also known as M-PACT Plus, in partnership with Place2Be and Action on Addiction. The initiative provided early support and counseling for children ages 8-17 impacted by parental drug abuse. 77 schools were reached during the pilot phase of the one-to-one counseling program, and 283 Place2Be volunteers were trained through the programme to reach over 26,000 children. The project was subsequently merged with Action on Addiction's M-PACT parent programme.[39][40] In October 2017, the Foundation and the Ministry of Defence signed an agreement to work together on efforts to change the conversation of mental health across Her Majesty's Armed Forces. On World Mental Health Day in 2017, The Royal Foundation announced it had granted £2 million to establish Mental Health Innovations, a mental health charity, developing new ways to discuss mental health using digital innovation.[41]

In January 2018, Catherine launched Mentally Healthy Schools, an online initiative for primary school teachers and staff, providing free access on resources to support children's mental health in the classroom. The Duchess held sessions for the programme at the Mental Health in Education Conference in 2019.[42] After two years of development, the website had over 250,000 visitors to the site accessing resources. The project was subsequently handed to the Anna Freud Centre, who continues to develop and expand its curriculum for secondary schools.[43][44]

Heads Together[edit]

In 2017, the Foundation launched Heads Together, led by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, aiming to tackle the stigma of mental health and provide supportive resources.[45] The campaign was first envisioned by the Duchess earlier that year.[46] Catherine later voluntarily talked about her problems as a mother, and admitted that she suffered a "lack of confidence" and "feelings of ignorance" during certain periods of time.[47] In 2017, the campaign launched #OKtoSay, a series of films to encourage the conversation around mental health. Later that year, Heads Together partnered with the 2017 London Marathon with 750 runners participating in the Mental Health Marathon.[48]

In September 2018, William launched Mental Health at Work, a Heads Together initiative, which aims to change the approach to workplace mental health in the UK.[49] The programme served 100,000 site visitors within the first six months.[50] In May 2019, the Duke partnered with The Football Association to launch Heads Up, a campaign that utilizes football to affect the conversation surrounding mental health.[51] In January 2020, all games in the third round of the FA cup were postponed by a minute in support of the campaign. That season, all football games across the men's and women's calendar were dedicated to Head's Up and the conversation on mental health. Later that month, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside the Duke and Duchess of Sussex launched Shout, an affiliate of Crisis Text Line in the U.K. that offers free, confidential mental health support through text in the United Kingdom 24/7.[52][53] In June 2020, the Duke of Cambridge revealed via he had been serving as a volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic.[54] As of November 2020, the programme has facilitated over half a million conversations.[55]

Early years[edit]

The Duchess with First Lady Jill Biden attending an Early Years roundtable in 2021

In March 2018, the Duchess of Cambridge hosted a symposium at the Royal Society of Medicine, focusing on children's health, and launched the Foundation's Early Intervention Support initiative, which would raise awareness of issues including as youth, maternal, and mental health, as well as parental and educational support and resources. It was announced that a steering group would research solutions to problems facing young people, and how it impacted society and the economy.[56] In July 2020, Catherine supported and assisted in the development of BBC's "Tiny Happy People" initiative, providing free digital resources to parents with young children.[57]

In January 2020, Catherine launched "5 Big Questions on the Under 5's", a nationwide survey on the development of the early years.[58] The survey was commissioned from Ipsos MORI, and contains "further qualitative and ethnographic research" on the early years.[59] The survey received over 500,000 responses.[60][61] In November 2020, the Foundation hosted online Early Years forum, composed of medical and psychological speakers, where the Duchess gave a keynote speech surrounding the results of the survey and the importance of childhood development.[62][63] The results of the survey were listed as "5 Big Insights", being: data about the societal perspective on the early years in relation to childhood development, the sustainability of parental wellbeing, the effect of peer judgment on parental mental health, the effect of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the varying amount of health and support in wider communities.[64]

In June 2021, Catherine launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, which will conduct work, research, and campaigns with other organisations on the importance of the early years.[65] The centre is set to be run by staff from the foundation and seeks to elevate the importance of early childhood as a social issue.[65] The Duchess stated her intentions of "creat[ing] a happier, more mentally healthy, more nurturing society".[66] The centre's inaugural report, Big Change Starts Small, was published alongside the launch and written in collaboration with Harvard University and the London School of Economics.[67][68]

Emergency responders[edit]

In April 2020, the Foundation supported the launch of Our Frontline, a mental health support initiative for emergency workers. It provides digital and online resources, as well as remote counseling, to support workers' mental health.[69] In September 2020, the Duke of Cambridge established the Emergency Responders Senior Leaders Board, commissioned by the foundation to research the mental health and wellbeing of emergency responders.[70] The project is in partnership with King's College London and the Open University. As part of the COVID-19 fund, over 250,000 emergency responders accessed mental health resources through the Blue Light programme, with 2,780 hours of support provided from the Ambulance Staff Charity.[71]


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External links[edit]