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Prince William Spends Night Sleeping On The Streets.

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LONDON — A cold alley in central London is a far cry from a palace – but it was the spot Prince William chose to sleep to highlight the plight of homeless British teenagers.

He spent a chilly night near Blackfriars Bridge last week with Seyi Obakin, the chief executive of British homeless charity Centrepoint. William has been the charity’s patron since 2005.

“I cannot, after one night, even begin to imagine what it must be like to sleep rough on London’s streets night after night,” William said Tuesday. “Poverty, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependancy and family breakdown cause people to become and then stay homeless.

“I hope that by deepening my understanding of the issue, I can help do my bit to help the most vulnerable on our streets.”

William, second in line to the throne, was exposed to some of the hardships found on London’s streets when his mother, Princess Diana, took him to a shelter in 1996. Just 13 at the time, William spent an hour at the facility with his younger brother, Harry.

Diana was well-known for her charitable work and the homeless was a group she was particularly close to. She had also served as Centrepoint’s patron, a position she held at the time of her death in 1997.

A photograph released by the charity shows William, 27, in the alley in jeans, a gray hooded sweat shirt and a knit hat pulled low.

In a post to the charity’s Web site, Obakin said the idea for William to spend a night on the streets – known as “sleeping rough” in Britain – was hatched in March.

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