A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at The Royal Foundation Forum
Published 28 February 2018
When we work together, we are greater than the sum of our parts." – The Duke of Cambridge on the impact of The Royal Foundation and its ability to bring people together to tackle big issues.
Good morning everybody. Catherine, Harry and I are delighted to be here this morning. And we are particularly happy to be at our first Royal Foundation event with Meghan.
Today is a special day for us. Since 2011 when we established The Foundation, we have regularly brought people together under the banners of Coach Core, United for Wildlife, the Invictus Games, Heads Together, the Cyberbullying Taskforce, the Endeavour Fund, and Full Effect. What we have never done is bring all of our friends, partners, and supporters together as part of The Royal Foundation family.
Today we want to reflect on what we have built with all of you. Ten years ago Harry and I were still serving full-time in the military, but we were starting to look to the next stages of our lives. As we discussed together the best way to set out on our official work, we looked to the values our family had instilled in us.
Both our parents had provided for us an example of diligence, compassion and duty in all they did. Our grandparents, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, had made support for charity central to their decades of service to the nation and the Commonwealth.
The task for us would not be to reinvent the wheel. Instead, our job was to follow the example of those who had come before us, hold on to the values that have always guided our family, but seek to engage in public life in a way that was updated and relevant for our generation.
We were aware that the modern charity sector was very different to the one that previous generations had worked alongside. The generosity of the British people, and the entrepreneurial and creative passion that is at the heart of our communities had seen the number of charities grow from a few thousand in the 1950s to around 180,000 today.
Social media was changing the way people engaged in issues, making it easier to campaign than ever before, and engaging young people in new and exciting ways. The diversity of our society was creating huge opportunities to get people from all walks of life involved in tackling important challenges. To provide the meaningful leadership and support to the sector that our parents and grandparents had, we would need to think about our roles in a different way.
We approached the answer to this question by establishing The Royal Foundation, our own foundation which would help us explore big issues that are close to our hearts.
When Catherine joined us after our wedding in 2011, we discussed that what made The Royal Family different to other institutions was its ability to focus on the long-term. In an age when our pressures seem so urgent, our attention spans so short, our Foundation could look beyond the horizon.
We knew we had the chance to work with experts to not just raise awareness about issues, but do the much harder work of truly changing mind sets. We would not seek quick wins, but would strive to make a real and lasting difference. And we would seek to make that difference in areas that are traditionally considered difficult to make an impact in.
What we have learned is that, to make this difference, we have to be clear and disciplined about how we seek to provide leadership. What would make our Foundation unique would be its ability to make a difference by bringing people together. There are Foundations out there doing amazing work powered by endowments worth billions. But we believed we could help achieve big, positive, long-term changes by being the leading convening force in the charitable sector.
We would not try to do things on our own. We would build our Foundation with an open door. We would not rely just on our own ideas. We would invite the best and brightest to sit with us around the table. We would not celebrate individual successes, but would build teams and partnerships for collective victories.
And we would lead by example, by working across our generation as a family. We have been quiet in terms of talking about The Royal Foundation in the early years. We wanted to make sure we learned from our partners and supporters before we shouted too loudly about what we were doing.
Today though, I hope everyone in this room has reasons for pride and confidence about what we have achieved by working together. Coach Core has brought together sports clubs, councils, trainers, and apprentices to create a programme that spans 10 cities so far, and has led to 25,000 coaching sessions and hundreds of thousands of coaching interactions in the past year alone.
United for Wildlife has allowed our leading conservation charities to step up their work to save iconic species from extinction. We have taken their messages into the offices of Presidents and CEOs the world over and delivered on the ground support to those on the front lines of the fight against the Illegal Wildlife Trade.
The Invictus Games have been a remarkable convening success for The Foundation. The most recent games brought together the armed forces of 17 nations, dozens of military charities, hundreds of competitors, and thousands of supporters to forever change the way we viewed wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
With the help of eight leading charities, Heads Together has reached millions of people as we work to forever change the conversation on mental health. And with our partners and leading experts, we are now working to provide practical tools to support these conversations wherever they happen – online, at home, in the workplace, in the services, or in schools.
More recently, the Cyberbullying Taskforce brought together young people, academics, social media firms, and telecommunications companies to come up with an action plan for tackling a growing problem.
These are just some of the examples of The Royal Foundation's work. They show that in just a few years, The Foundation has made a difference on a wide range of issues.
And while the issues may all be different, The Foundation's projects have shared important similarities. All of the projects have seen us working to change mind sets to make a real and lasting difference. They have all seen us trying to tackle the biggest challenges of the day. They have all seen The Foundation listening and taking advice from charities and experts, rather than showing up and pretending we have all the answers. And they have all seen us uniting people, forming teams and coalitions, to work to make a difference together.
When we work together, we are greater than the sum of our parts. When we work together, we bring unlimited creativity, passion, and expertise to the table. When we work together, we can achieve incredible things. We hugely value working together with all of you.
Today we want to celebrate this spirit of togetherness. We want to reflect on what we've achieved. And we want you to work with us as we consider what we might do next.
Thank you for your support.
A video message by The Duke of Cambridge for CITES about wildlife conservation
Our children should have the same opportunity that we have to experience wildlife in its many beautiful and varied forms.
A message from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the Race to Recovery team on completion of the Dakar Rally
Quote from St. James's Palace on behalf of The Duke of Cambridge regarding poaching
A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the Winter Whites Gala 2012
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to be here tonight. I’m sure you will all agree, that was inspirational tennis. Thank you Goran and Tim. Good...
A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the October Club 25th anniversary dinner
St Giles Trust reduces re-offending amongst its clients by 40% off the national norm.
First full year of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry
The Duke of Cambridge has qualified as an operational captain within the RAF Search and Rescue Force.
The Duke of Cambridge makes a speech at the UK Premiere of African Cats
It will help many, many people around the world appreciate our planet's extraordinary planet’s natural heritage – and how steadfastly it must be safe-guarded.
A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the War Horse UK premiere
Hardly a family in the country went unscathed.
The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry announces partnership with The Forces in Mind Trust
An article by The Duke of Cambridge about SkillForce UK, The Telegraph
It is remarkable what these ex-Servicemen and women are able to achieve for these young people by working together with them, for their own good and for the benefit of us all.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to visit Copenhagen to view Emergency Distribution effort for East Africa
The Duke of Cambridge urges protection of UK’s Outdoor Spaces
A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at a Child Bereavement Charity fundraising event hosted by 100 Women in Hedge Funds
I thank you for doing this from the bottom of my heart.
A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the opening of the Oak Centre for Children and Young People, Royal Marsden Hospital, Surrey
This place is inspirational.
A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at Service Nation - Mission Serve
We have much to learn from you.
A speech by The Duke of Cambridge to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at Windsor
To exchange combat kit for ceremonial uniform in the space of two weeks is nothing short of remarkable.
A speech by The Duke of Cambridge to mark a partnership between ARK and the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry
Programmes from this partnership will raise aspirations, broaden horizons and encourage young people to achieve what may have seemed to them unachievable.
The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry to play in the Sentebale Polo Cup
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment carries out final preparations
Trumpeters from the Central Band of the RAF will accolade Prince William and Catherine Middleton on 29th April
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment prepares for the Royal Wedding
Major General William Cubitt OBE speaks about military involvement in the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
The role of the Armed Forces in the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
A speech by Prince William at St. Andrews University, Scotland
It’s knowing that so many of Scotland’s finest brains and greatest achievers gained – and continue to gain - inspiration from this place
An article by Prince William on the appeal for the National Memorial Arboretum, The Sunday Telegraph
We all know that we could not be as we are, collectively and individually, without their selfless duty.
An article by Prince William in The Sun on Fields in Trust
This is where the stars of the future will first discover their talents.
An article by Prince William about Bomber Command, Daily Express
Each one of those young men died for you and for me.
Prince William takes part in first rescue as an RAF Search and Rescue Pilot
A speech by Prince William at the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Gala Event
A fire alarm had thrown us together. Either that or Fate.
Prince William becomes a fully operational Search and Rescue Pilot
Prince William launches “Fields in Trust” Diamond Jubilee Tribute to The Queen
A speech by Prince William at the opening of the new Help 4 Heroes rehabilitation centre at Headley Court
Here reigns courage, humour, compassion and, above all, hope for the future.
Prince William to be posted to RAF Valley after successful completion of training
A speech by Prince William to celebrate 20 years of the Tusk Trust
This legacy is not ours to squander.
A speech by Prince William at the Sun newspaper’s Military Awards, 2009
Often, your loyalty to one another will mean the difference between life and death.
Prince William to become Patron of 100 Women in Hedge Funds' philanthropic initiatives
A message by Prince William and Prince Harry for Armed Forces Day
They work selflessly with honour and distinction, in the most challenging circumstances imaginable.
An article by Prince William for the Armed Forces supplement in the Sunday Telegraph
I do feel there is truth in the view that society can learn much from British military values and ethos.
A speech by Prince William at a reception for the Child Bereavement Charity, London
Never being able to say the word ‘mummy’ again in your life sounds like a small thing.
A speech by Prince William to mark 40 years of the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint
It is for them that Centrepoint represents the difference between misery and dejection and a sense of hope and renewed self confidence.
A speech by Prince William at the Annual Passing Out Parade at Hendon Police Training College, Hendon, London
I would like to say how much I admire you all for your dedication and application in successfully passing this course.
A speech by Prince William at the launch of Centrepoint's 40th anniversary year
Our visits with our mother ignited a deep and growing interest for the great work the charity does for the homeless.