One day after Prince Harry opened up about his struggles following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, Prince William is also speaking out, vowing that the next generation of royals will be open and honest about their emotions and won’t live by the traditional British stoicism. “There may be a time and a place for the ‘stiff upper lip,’ but not at the expense of your health,” he says in a new interview with CALMzine, the publication for British mental health organization CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).
In this case, the effort will start at home, Prince William says, with his children, Prince George, 3, and Princess Charlotte, 1. “Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings,” he said, offering a rare glimpse into the royal couple’s parenting style. “Over the past year we have visited a number of schools together where we have been amazed listening to children talk about some quite difficult subjects in a really clear and emotionally articulate way—something most adults would struggle with.”
This philosophy is a sharp departure from the royal family’s now legendary aversion to showing emotion—a tradition for which his own grandmother may very well be the best example. And while William doesn’t mention her or his own upbringing, he does nod to the antiquated British way of thinking in the new interview. “For too long there has been a taboo about talking about some important issues. If you were anxious, it’s because you were weak. If you couldn’t cope with whatever life threw at you, it’s because you were failing,” he said. “Successful, strong people don’t suffer like that, do they? But of course—we all do. It’s just that few of us speak about it.”
Prince William, who, along with Prince Harry and Kate Middleton (or, “Catherine,” as the royals—and only the royals?—call her), is an ambassador for the British mental health charity Heads Together, also spoke about the importance of mental health awareness in a FaceTime chat with Lady Gaga released today (she from her Los Angeles kitchen and he from his study at Kensington Palace, though he promised they would get together in the U.K. soon). He reportedly reached out after Gaga’s open letter about suffering from PTSD after being sexually assaulted at 19 years old.
“It’s time that everyone speaks up,” Prince William told her. And that’s what you call leading by example.
This story originally appeared on Vogue.
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