The Duke of Cambridge began a week-long tour of Scotland less than a day after slamming the BBC for its handling of his mother Princess Diana’s Panorama interview.
A daming report published on Thursday found that Martin Bashir, who quit the BBC on health grounds last week, had employed a series of deceptions to land the scoop including having fake bank statements mocked up.
In a rare televised statement later that night, Prince William lambasted the BBC after the inquiry found the broadcaster covered up journalist Bashir’s behaviour.
He said: “It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”
William’s visit to Scotland also came after his brother Prince Harry sent more shockwaves through the royal family by accusing his family of “total neglect” when his wife Meghan was feeling suicidal following harassment on social media.
Harry made the remarks during a documentary series filmed with Oprah Winfrey titled The Me You Can’t See where he also discussed his struggles with anxiety and how he turned to drink and drugs after the trauma of losing his mother.
William was pictured looking relaxed and smiling on Friday during a visit to the home of a lower league football club in Edinburgh, to highlight the issue of mental health, where he spoke to players while sat in the stands and showed off his football skills on the pitch.
The future king, who is president of the Football Association, also chatted to male and female footballers from the UK’s four national teams during a video call which featured England star Harry Kane.
In the stands, William spoke to members of the Scottish FA’s board and the Mental Health Advisory Panel it helped establish and told them: “Young men are really susceptible to serious mental health issues and more likely to bottle it up and not talk about it.”
He added: “Both of you are good listeners. That’s where it starts from.”
The duke went on to say: “Lockdown has tested everyone in ways we didn’t think they would and taken away coping mechanisms to get through it, it’s quite difficult.”
The Scottish FA and the advisory panel have spearheaded the introduction of a new mental health e-learning platform after signing a Mentally Healthy Football declaration established by William’s Heads Up campaign, which aimed to harness the power of football to change the conversation around mental health.
William appeared to put his deep concerns around the BBC’s treatment of his mother to one side as he tested his touch skills during a football drill challenge at Ainslie Park Stadium in Edinburgh, home of The Spartans FC.
The duke was joined by grassroots players from Scotland’s Mental Health Football and Wellbeing League and former Scotland striker Steven Thompson.
The League was set up to support recovery and tackle the stigma associated with mental health, with support from the Scottish FA.
William, who is a keen Aston Villa fan, took shots at a goal and beat the keeper a number of times.
Inside the clubhouse he had a video call with footballers Kane, 27, David Marshall, 36, Jess Fishlock, 34, and Julie Nelson, 35.
Kane, a Spurs and England striker, said: “Mental health is an important part of the game. Everyone expresses emotions in different ways.
“I talk to teammates a little bit more and ask them a little bit more about family life and personal life and get to know them because we spend so much time together, so I personally try to dig deeper into each individual.”