Prince William says keeping a stiff upper lip can damage health

The British “stiff upper lip” should not be allowed to endanger people’s health, the Duke of Cambridge has said.

The duke said he wanted his children to be able to express their feelings.

Prince William’s comments come after Prince Harry revealed he had sought counselling after spending nearly 20 years “not thinking” about the death of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Prince Harry has been praised for speaking out by the prime minister and mental health charities.

Theresa May said his decision would help “smash the stigma”.

‘Tipping point’

Prince William’s comments came in an interview – alongside Prince Harry – with a magazine produced by the charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), which is dedicated to preventing male suicide.

The future king and his brother are using the intense interest they generate to focus attention on a cause they are increasingly passionate about, BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt says.

Prince William talked about his “tipping point”, which was his exposure to suicide – the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK – through his work as an air ambulance pilot.

He told Calm that while there might be a time and a place for the “stiff upper lip”, it should not be at the expense of people’s health.

The duke highlighted the importance of role models opening up about their mental health, including grime artist Stormzy.

“The recent interview by Stormzy about his depression was incredibly powerful and will help young men feel that it’s a sign of strength to talk about and look after your mind as well as your body,” he said.

‘Close to breakdown’

He added that he and the Duchess of Cambridge wanted their children – George and Charlotte – to grow up able to talk about their emotions and feelings.

Prince Harry has acknowledged his own failure to do that.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph on Monday, he said it had not been until his late 20s that he had processed the grief of losing his mother when he was 12 1997.

Before reaching that point, he had endured two years of “total chaos” and come close to a “complete breakdown”, he said.

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Mrs May said: “Mental health problems affect people of all ages and all backgrounds.

“The bravery of those in public positions who speak out about their experiences helps smash the stigma around mental health and will help thousands of people to realise they are not alone.”

Mental health charity Mind described the interview as a “true turning point”.

‘Royal gift’

Fiona Pienaar, director of clinical services at children’s mental health charity Place2Be said: “Prince Harry’s willingness to talk so intimately about the impact of the loss of his mother 20 years ago, as well as how he has processed his grief, is a gift from the young royal.”

The two princes, along with the Duchess of Cambridge, are promoting the Heads Together mental health campaign, the London Marathon’s charity of the year.

A two-part series, Mind Over Marathon, starts on BBC One at 21:00 BST on Thursday 20 April, as part of a Minds Matter series of programming about mental health issues.

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