The royal couple are championing some of the causes closest to their hearts in Ireland

By Simon Perry
March 04, 2020 06:28 AM
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After paying tribute to their hosts in Ireland with a series of mostly-formal events on Tuesday, Kate Middleton and Prince William are spending their second day on tour seeing some of the causes closest to their hearts.

The royal couple kicked off day two of their royal tour with a visit to a mental health charity in Dublin to see how the issue of mental health awareness is being tackled among the youth in Ireland. They will also pay a visit to a social justice charity and witness the efforts being made to foster and support sustainable farming.

On Wednesday morning, Will and Kate — wearing a white, double-breasted coat from Reiss (which she’s had for over teamed with black skinny jeans — met with young people who have been helped by Jigsaw, a charity that delivers free one-to-one therapy sessions for young people ages 12-25. The organization also takes part in pioneering research and offers programs aiming to inform and educate.

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William and Kate have a “genuine love and passion” for solving the mental health challenges faced by young people, a charity worker tells PEOPLE in Dublin.

Abigail McDonnell, a volunteer at Jigsaw, says, “They have a lot of involvement with mental health organizations and it seems like a very genuine love and passion for it. As soon as they start talking, you can tell they really, really care about the cause.”

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McDonnell, who is a member of the charity’s youth advisory panel, says that the couple thanked the workers at the charity’s facility in central Dublin. “They kept saying, ‘We know how important this is and we want to thank you for doing this work.’”

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She adds they had a way of putting people at ease. “They said ‘look sorry we can’t spend a lot more time with you.’ It was a group conversation with and they were like ‘Hi’ and we were like ‘Hi!’ Very, very causal without the formalities. We had to do that but they were very casual in their way which put us at ease immediately.”

“They are very, very normal people in the way they acted and in their conversations. There weren’t the airs and graces that you might expect, which was lovely to see. They were very interested in the work that we do and they were very interested in youth mental health which is amazing for us because that’s the message we are always trying to send out to people. The fact that two people so high up are interested in that is amazing for us.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William
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The charity’s CEO Joseph Duffy tells PEOPLE the couple “are really passionate about youth mental health, very knowledgeable about it and very aware about the latest way of supporting young people and aware of having an evidence base for the work that we do.”

The royal parents spent time talking with parents, young people and teachers. “They connected in a positive and passionate way. They were just able to talk very easily, very quickly and very positively,” Duffy adds.

Kate Middleton and Prince William
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The royal parents also chatted with teachers and parents about the programs that take place in their communities.

Next up was a visit to a residential facility run by the social justice charity Extern. The couple traveled to County Kildare, about an hour outside Dublin, to see how the charity supports vulnerable young people and families who are facing challenging times. At Extern’s Savannah House in County Kildare, they were shown how the center provides a safe space to support vulnerable people, and joined in a number of activities which underlined that life-saving support.

Each year Extern speaks up for more than 20,000 children and families across Ireland, helping equip young people with the life skills that they need to better tackle the issues facing them.

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Later, they will visit a research farm in County Meath, and learn more about its research to promote sustainable farming throughout Ireland. William, 38, is taking a greater interest in farming as he prepares to one day head up the Duchy of Cornwall estate. He has also spoken recently of immersing his own children in the springtime activity of helping bring newborn lambs into the world near his country home, Anmer Hall.