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The Royals

Prince William Joins Celebs to Raise Money for Homeless Charity

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PA Images/Sipa USA

Prince William invited some stars to light up Kensington Palace on Thursday night as he hosted a gala night for one of his favorite causes – putting an end to homelessness.

“This evening is a celebration of everything young people are capable of when they are given the support that they need,” William said in a moving speech at the event. “The young people of Centrepoint have come through experiences that could have broken the resolve of any one of us.”

Ellie Goulding and Nile Rodgers were among the celebrities raising money for the Centrepoint gala event.

“I’m here to support the cause. I was homeless myself as a young teenager and even though I look back on it with a certain degree of romanticism, the truth is I had a lot of support,” Rodgers tells PEOPLE.

Like his late mother Princess Diana, William adopted Centrepoint as a key charity. Most winters, the prince holds an event to raise funds and highlight the charity’s cause.

His cousin, Kitty Spencer, is an ambassador for the charity, was also at the gala and is planning on sleeping outside to fundraise and bring awareness to the issue of homelessness.

“I listened to some of the young people talk about their experiences and I really wanted to be involved,” Spencer, 25, tells PEOPLE. “It struck a chord. These are people who are my age.

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“It’s all part of supporting Centrepoint — whether you’re coming to Kensington Palace or doing the sleep —  you’re supporting Centrepoint. I’ve rounded up lot of friends. It’s a great way to raise awareness.”

Seyi Obakin, chief executive of Centrepoint, tells PEOPLE, “Tonight we will recognize the achievements of a number of young people who’ve come from a really difficult place and turned their lives around on an amazing way.”

In 2013, Centrepoint’s Winter Whites Gala featured special guests Taylor Swift and Jon Bon Jovi, who memorably brought William on stage to sing an impromptu version of “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

Frank Augstein/PA Wire via ZUMA Press
Frank Augstein/PA Wire via ZUMA Press

While on stage giving his speech, William joked, “Last time I was on this stage I
performed a duet with Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift – Craig [David] and Ellie [Goulding] will be spared that horror tonight.”

Centrepoint hopes to raise around $1.8 million from Thursday’s event. All of the proceeds will go towards providing homeless young people with not only a safe place to stay, but also vital help in tackling health problems and support in accessing education or work opportunities.