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Prince William on how he might do things differently as King

Society would be an “empty shell” without charity, Prince William has said, as he set out his personal blueprint for how the Monarchy should work in the future.

It was a glimpse into his plans for how he might operate when he becomes King.

And he doesn’t want to be Patron of a number of charities in the same way the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have over many years.

The Duke of Cambridge has given a speech to charity leaders in which he promised to keep philanthropy and volunteering “at the heart” of what the Monarchy does.

And he criticised the polarisation of public debate which is becoming “coarser and more personal than ever”.

Social media allows people to be anonymous, he said. And he made a rare criticism of the news media – saying it was becoming more “commercialised”.

If you lived your life on Twitter, he said, "you could be forgiven for assuming that society is falling apart”.

The prince said his mother taught him 'what it meant to have privilege and responsibilities'. Credit: PA

The prince told his audience about how his mother taught him “what it meant to have both privilege and responsibilities”.

Princess Diana often took her sons to visit homelessness shelters where William said today he learnt "why no society can be healthy unless we take other people seriously."

The Duke also spoke of his father’s tireless work on the Prince’s Trust – which helps the underprivileged and those who have had a difficult start in life.

“As a young child”, William said, “I recall my father’s diligence and compassion” as the Prince of Wales answered thousands of letters and read endless reports to stay on top of his charity work.

Of course the Royal Family was not always well known for its philanthropy – it wasn’t one of Henry VIII’s greatest assets for example – but the link between the sector and the Monarchy can be traced back to the time of George III.

The Prince of Wales has worked tirelessly on the Prince’s Trust. Credit: PA

The Duke said that the charitable sector is a “bellwether” of society – if one is healthy so is the other.

He urged charities to collaborate more to combat the shrinking pot of money which is a threat to their very survival.

Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer spoke to the Duke after his speech.

The two charities have recently merged and Prince William said he had no doubt they would “achieve more to fight bowel cancer together” than they could have done on their own.

The prince also signalled an end to “royal patronages” of which his grandparents have had many.

Prince William has worked with a number of charities like the mental health charity Heads Together and United for Wildlife but he has not been Patron.

When he succeeds his father as King, Prince William will assume all the responsibilities as Head of State – the official role of the Monarch.

But the other role – that of Head of Nation which covers charities and voluntary service – is something William seems keen to change.