Prince William and Princess Kate visited Stewards Academy on Friday to speak with kids about mental health
When he he arrived at Stewards Academy in Harlow on Friday, he had to lend some physical support – after a local dignitary, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Jonathan Douglas-Hughes, accidentally tripped and fell over while welcoming him and Princess Kate.
The prince rushed to Douglas-Hughes’ aid and helped the shaken man to his feet.
Princess Kate looked on in shock as the scene unfolded.
“I’m fine thank you,” Douglas-Hughes, who serves as the Queen’s representative in Essex, told PEOPLE. “The duke was very concerned but I reassured him I was perfectly all right.”
William and Kate, who wore a blue patterned dress by New York-based designer Altuzarra, visited Stewards Academy to highlight how educators and parents can support children through difficult times in school, especially at the start of the new academic year.
“For many young people, the changing schools or starting a new academic year is really difficult to deal with,” he wrote. “Catherine and I have young children who will be going through this themselves in a short period of time, and like all parents we will want to make sure that our children are not just able to achieve their academic potential at school but are also happy and emotionally supported.”
At the school, “the emotional health of children is regarded as highly as the students’ academic performance,” William wrote in his blog post.
A key is the help provided by one of Kate’s charities, Place2be, and by an atmosphere of openness about asking for help.
“All of us who are adults remember how daunting it was, but we sometimes take it for granted that children will be able to cope with the change,” William wrote.
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Asking for help is okay William wrote, “talking can make us realize we are not alone.”
“By encouraging children to talk and to get support, we could stop these feelings developing into more serious problems that continue into adulthood. We all need someone to turn to at some point in our lives – even if it’s an anonymous phone line or web-chat service; or a friend, teacher or family member. Someone who we can trust. That’s what Catherine, Harry and I are working towards – we know it’s a big ambition, but we think it’s important.
In a speech inside the school, William said that he and Kate “are really impressed by what we have seen of Stewards Academy, as we’re both strong believers in schools where the emotional well-being of young people is nurtured and protected just as much as your learning and academic skills.”
“It is particularly good to see the role played in this positive culture by Place2Be, a charity that is in the team that Is part of our Heads Together campaign.”