Prince William Makes a Surprise Visit to Ireland to Talk Mental Health

The royal dad met with students, counselors and first responders as part of his ongoing campaign

Royal visit to Belfast
Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire/AP

Prince William took a surprise trip to Ireland on Wednesday.

Visiting Belfast, he saw the work of Inspire, a charity that reaches 1,500 people through mental health support services.

William, 35, met service users and counselors from a number of Inspire’s different programs before he officially opened the charity’s new building in central Belfast. Like Kate Middleton and Prince Harry, William has made highlighting the needs of those suffering from mental health challenges a central part his public duties – something that he has taken up full-time since leaving his role as an air ambulance pilot this the summer.

Next Tuesday, William, Kate and Harry will team up to host a reception at Buckingham Palace for World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10. It will be Kate’s first engagement since the announcement that she is suffering from severe pregnancy sickness while expecting the couple’s third child. Also on Tuesday, William and Harry are set to host charity partners of their successful Heads Together campaign.

In Belfast on Wednesday, the royal dad also visited two emergency services organizations, starting with the Lagan Search and Rescue in the Titanic Quarter of the city. (The famous doomed ocean liner was built in Belfast.) He watched a lifeboat being launched and saw the response on the quayside and among the rescue swimmers.

Royal visit to Belfast
Niall Carson/PA Wire/AP

The lifeboat service covers the Belfast Harbour Estate and River Lagan and the estuarial waters of Belfast Lough and is made up of 31 trained volunteers.

Then, he met crew members of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, which works alongside the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Royal visit to Belfast
Niall Carson/PA Wire/AP

It is the second time in as many months that one of the royals has headed to Belfast – Harry was there last month to see how the needs of young people are addressed.

And William and Kate took a royal trip to Belfast, taking part in pancake flipping, shortly before their April 2011 wedding.

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