Meghan Markle makes a formal complaint to Ofcom about Piers Morgan

Meghan Markle makes a formal complaint to Ofcom about Piers Morgan

Now Meghan Markle makes a formal complaint to Ofcom about Piers Morgan after Good Morning Britain presenter said he ‘didn’t believe a word’ of her Oprah Winfrey interview

  • Markle complained to ITV bosses about Morgan, the former co-host of GMB 
  • Following the Operah interview aired, Morgan said he did not believe Markle
  • She reportedly raised concerns with ITV about the effect Morgan’s comments may have on the issue of mental health, and on those suffering with issues
  • Morgan quit GMB on Tuesday after an on-air row with a colleague who criticised him for ‘continuing to trash’  Markle, and has since repeated his condemnation
  • The couple’s popularity has plummeted in the wake of the explosive broadcast
  • Morgan said he quit GMB after refusing to apologise for ‘disbelieving’ Markle

The Duchess of Sussex has made a formal complaint to Ofcom about Piers Morgan after he dismissed her account of suffering suicidal thoughts and experiencing racism at the hands of the royal family.

Meghan complained to ITV bosses about the former co-host of Good Morning Britain after he said on-air that he ‘didn’t believe a word’ of her interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey when she laid bare her struggles.

She raised concerns with ITV about the effect Morgan’s comments may have on the issue of mental health generally and those attempting to deal with their own problems – and not about the former newspaper editor’s personal attack on herself.

Morgan quit the broadcaster’s breakfast show on Tuesday after an on-air row with a colleague who criticised him for ‘continuing to trash’ the duchess – but he later repeated his condemnation of her interview.

It has now emerged Meghan’s complaint is one of the 41,000 received by Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, which is expected to investigate Morgan’s comments that came the morning after the Oprah Winfrey interview aired on ITV.

Morgan quit ITV’s breakfast show on Tuesday (pictured) after an on-air row with a colleague who criticised him for ‘continuing to trash’ the duchess. The Duchess of Sussex has made a formal complaint to Ofcom about Piers Morgan after he dismissed her account of suffering suicidal thoughts and experiencing racism at the hands of the royal family

An Ofcom spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm receipt of a standards complaint made on behalf of the Duchess of Sussex.’ 

The regulator said earlier this week: ‘We have launched an investigation into Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain under our harm and offence rules.’ 

Following Morgan’s dramatic resignation on Tuesday, it emerged Markle had also contacted ITV – reportedly chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall – to complain about his comments relating to mental health. 

The Duchess of Sussex insisted she was not upset that Piers said he ‘didn’t believe a word she said’ in her Oprah interview, according to an insider.

However, she was worried about how his comments could affect people attempting to deal with their own mental health problems, the source said.

Morgan – who has been backed by a series of celebrity friends – has said he ‘lost’ his job because he ‘chose not to apologise’ for his remarks.

Actress Joanna Lumley has described Meghan and Harry’s interview as ‘one-sided’ – but admitted she did not watch it.

Lumley, who is friends with a number of the royal family, suggested the Sussexes’ chat with Winfrey only told half the story and convention prevented the monarchy from responding.

The actress told Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show: ‘It did seem to me a bit one-sided, because everybody knows that the royal family can’t really answer back.

‘So I was anxious not to watch it actually.

‘I didn’t want to watch the programme and didn’t watch the interview programme, but you can’t avoid it because everybody’s talking about it.’

She added: ‘I feel terribly sorry about the whole thing. I’m so sorry for that family who we all love so much.’

The Duke of Cambridge spoke out in defence of the monarchy on Thursday, saying ‘we’re very much not a racist family’.

During the bombshell interview (pictured), Harry accused an unnamed member of his family of racism and said the lack of support he and his wife received from the other royals was behind their decision to quit the UK

And in a Buckingham Palace statement released this week, the royal family said it was taking ‘very seriously’ the couple’s allegation that a member of the family – not the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh – raised concerns about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone might be before he was born.

But the duke and duchess’ popularity with the public has fallen to its lowest level according to a YouGov poll, after they accused a member of the royal family of bigotry.

Meghan and Harry appeared vulnerable at times as they talked about the pressures of their former lives before they stepped down as working royals and moved to America.

Yet a YouGov poll, that questioned 1,664 adults between March 10-11, found Harry’s positive rating with people fell 8 percent to 45 percent while Meghan’s was 31% also down 8% – compared with a survey conducted between March 1-2.

While those who said they felt negatively about the duke increased 7 percent to 48 percent, and the duchess’ disapproval rating rose 5 percent to 58 percent.

Meanwhile, in a sign of unwavering show of support, Britons continue to be most fond of the Queen, with four in five people (80 per cent) liking her, the survey says.

Prince William and his wife Kate also remain very popular, according to the poll, with about three quarters of Britons giving them favourable reviews.

Prince Andrew remains by far the most unpopular royal, with an 82 per cent negative view, according to the poll.

According to the data, of more than 1,600 Britons between March 10 and 11, public opinion of Prince Harry is now negative – having previously been positive prior to Sunday night’s world exclusive interview.

Piers happily stopped and smiled for the cameras as he left his west London home with daughter Elise this morning

News of Meghan’s complaint comes after Piers Morgan today revealed he quit GMB after refusing to apologise for ‘disbelieving’ her claims – as he warned free speech was the ‘most important’ issue in modern Britain. 

In an open letter shared on Instagram, the tough-talking journalist thanked his supporters and declared he was ‘willing to stand my ground’. 

He wrote: I’ve lost my job at Good Morning Britain because I chose not to apologise for disbelieving Meghan Markle’s claims in her interview with Oprah Winfrey. 

‘I thus became the latest ”victim” of the cancel culture that is permeating our country, every minute, of every hour, of everyday. Though of course, I consider myself to be neither a victim, nor actually cancelled.’ 

Piers had said he did not believe the duchess’s remarks in her interview with Winfrey, during which she spoke about her mental health and having suicidal thoughts. 

The 55-year-old left his role shortly after storming off on set after a row with weatherman Alex Beresford over his comments on Meghan, which prompted more than 41,000 complaints to Ofcom.  

In less than 48 hours, more than 100,000 people have made impassioned pleas calling for the presenter to be reinstated on ITV’s flagship breakfast show. 

Piers Morgan penned an open letter to ‘supporters and haters’ to explain he quit GMB because he refused to apologise for saying he didn’t believe Meghan Markle’s claims made during the Oprah interview he dubbed a ‘two-hour trashathon’

In his 332-word statement, Piers Morgan warned ‘the defence of free speech and the right to express honestly held opinions is the most important issue of his career, and the most important issue in British society’.


In an open letter on Instagram, the journalist declared himself the latest victim of cancel culture, before adding that he considered himself ‘neither a victim, not actually cancelled’

‘Defence of free speech is most important issue in British society.’: Piers Morgan’s letter in full  

Hi everyone.

To all my supporters, I just wanted to drop you a note of thanks. (To all my haters, whatever.) It has been an extraordinary week for me, for Britain, for our monarchy and for our future. Those of you that know me well enough know that, despite my many faults, I’m always willing to stand my ground for the things that I think matter most. 

My fervent opposition to the Iraq War led to my demise from the Daily Mirror. My outspoken views on the insanity of American gun laws led to the end of my time at CNN. And now I’ve lost my job at Good Morning Britain because I chose not to apologise for disbelieving Meghan Markle’s claims in her interview with Oprah Winfrey. I thus became the latest ‘victim’ of the cancel culture that is permeating our country, every minute, of every hour, of everyday. Though of course, I consider myself to be neither a victim, nor actually cancelled.

However, I do believe the defence of free speech and the right to express honestly held opinions, is the most important issue of my career, and the most important issue in British society.

If you’d like to show your support for me, please order a copy of my book Wake Up on Amazon. It’s less than a tenner, and I didn’t write it to make more money but because the very foundations of democracy, built upon freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of speech, are under attack like never before and must be defended. It is a privilege to live in a democracy, and it is a privilege to be British. As I said when I left GMB, the right to free speech is a hill worth dying on. So, have a read, and if you like it, give it to one of your friends.

This is not simply an act of defiance, but a commitment to our collective futures.

Kind regards,

Piers

Today Morgan wrote: ‘To all my supporters, I just wanted to drop you a note of thanks. (To all my haters, whatever.) 

6’It has been an extraordinary week for me, for Britain, for our monarchy and for our future. 

‘Those of you that know me well enough know that, despite my many faults, I’m always willing to stand my ground for the things that I think matter most. 

‘My fervent opposition to the Iraq War led to my demise from the Daily Mirror. My outspoken views on the insanity of American gun laws led to the end of my time at CNN. 

‘And now I’ve lost my job at Good Morning Britain because I chose not to apologise for disbelieving Meghan Markle’s claims in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.’

Morgan went on to claim that he was the victim of ‘cancel culture’. 

He added: ‘I thus became the latest ”victim” of the cancel culture that is permeating our country, every minute, of every hour, of everyday. Though of course, I consider myself to be neither a victim, nor actually cancelled.

‘However, I do believe the defence of free speech and the right to express honestly held opinions, is the most important issue of my career, and the most important issue in British society.’

It comes after it was revealed Good Morning Britain lost 80,000 viewers the day after Piers quit – while its rival BBC Breakfast’s audience grew by 200,000. 

The outspoken GMB host, who quit over his stance on Meghan Markle, helped the show achieve its highest-ever ratings on Tuesday this week, with 1.29million viewers compared to the BBC’s 1.25million.     

Petitions calling for Morgan to be reinstated on Good Morning Britain have topped the 215,00 mark after he sensationally quit the show.  

Piers, who helped the show achieve its highest ever ratings, dramatically quit as the host late on Tuesday after he refused to apologise for comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex.

It has now emerged that Meghan contacted ITV – reportedly chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall – to complain about Morgan’s comments relating to mental health. 

Piers had earlier clashed with weatherman Alex Beresford and stormed out of the studio after being challenged over his position.  

In less than 48 hours, more than 100,000 people made impassioned pleas calling for the presenter to be reinstated on ITV’s flagship breakfast show.  

The first petition told fans: ‘This man has stuck by our NHS when many others didn’t care including our government.

‘He confronts the politicians on questions many of us want answering. He sponsored Sir Captain Tom £10,000 to start him off to support our NHS. 

‘Please sign this petition and share it on, give him the support that he has given us as NHS workers.’ 

Tens of thousands of viewers have been making impassioned pleas to ITV bosses to reinstate Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain after he sensationally quit the show

Close to 200,000 people have signed a series of petitions calling for the presenter to be reinstated on ITV’s flagship breakfast show

Piers responded to the soaring petitions on Twitter, writing that although the support came as a ‘pleasant surprise’ he will not be returning to GMB

Bring back Piers! Tens of thousands sign petitions demanding ITV bosses bring back host

  • A petition launched after Piers quit GMB, which can be found by clicking here, said the popular host had been treated ‘appallingly.’  
  • A second petition titled ‘Save Piers Morgan from being sacked from GMB’, said any decision to remove him from the show would be ‘an absolute farce.’ It can be found by clicking here.
  • Another petition was set up to ‘Keep Piers Morgan on GMB for his common sense approach to life’. The petition can be found by clicking here. 

All three have garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures since Piers walked out. 

Another entitled ‘Bring Back Piers Morgan’ states: ‘How ITV have treated Piers Morgan after he saved one of their failing shows is appalling. 

‘They have thrown him under the bus and allowed him to be bullied by an colleague on air. Piers has turned the show into the most talked about show on ITV. 

‘He was the only person who spoke on behalf of viewers during the pandemic and now he’s been bullied by the snowflakes all for speaking the truth.’  

The third petition, set up in 2019 to ‘Keep Piers Morgan on GMB for his common sense approach to life’, has also been gaining momentum. 

It began as critics called for Piers to be sacked from GMB after he held politicians to account over their handling of the Covid crisis, and their lack of support for NHS workers. 

 It was set up by Emma Gates from Wigan, who urged people: ‘Sadly someone has an ongoing petition to have Piers Morgan sacked from GMB for being too out spoken! This is an absolute farce. 

‘This man has stuck by our NHS when many others didn’t care including our government! He confronts the politicians on questions many of us want answering! He sponsored sir captain Tom £10000 to start him off to support our NHS! 

‘Please sign this petition and share it on, give him the support that he has given us as NHS workers!’

The total number of signatures for the three polls is now more 200,000. 

Piers yesterday responded to the soaring petitions on Twitter, writing that although the support came as a ‘pleasant surprise’ he will not be returning to GMB. 

Piers Morgan tweeted a message of thanks to the Good Morning Britain team

A third petition had tonight gained 40,838 of its goal of 50,000 signatures

It was set up by Emma Gates from Wigan, who urged people: ‘Sadly someone has an ongoing petition to have Piers Morgan sacked from GMB for being too out spoken! This is an absolute farce. 

‘This man has stuck by our NHS when many others didn’t care including our government! He confronts the politicians on questions many of us want answering! He sponsored sir captain Tom £10000 to start him off to support our NHS! 

‘Please sign this petition and share it on, give him the support that he has given us as NHS workers!’

The total number of signatures for the three polls is now more 200,000. 

Piers yesterday responded to the soaring petitions on Twitter, writing that although the support came as a ‘pleasant surprise’ he will not be returning to GMB.

He said: ‘I won’t be going back, but thanks to everyone who has signed these petitions. Normally, people start petitions to have me fired or deported, so this is a pleasant surprise.’ 

He also tweeted his thanks to the GMB team, praising them for their ‘hard work and dedication’ that led to them beating their main breakfast TV rival. 

He tweeted: ‘I had one goal when I joined GMB – beat BBC Breakfast in the ratings. On my last day, we did it.’ 

But within 24 hours of his smash-hit final broadcast on Tuesday, Wednesday’s ratings had plummeted to 1.21million while BBC Breakfast took the lead again with an average 1.42million viewers.

Shares in ITV also plunged in the wake of his resignation with almost £200million wiped off the company’s value last night.   

It comes after it was revealed Good Morning Britain lost 80,000 viewers the day after Piers quit – while its rival BBC Breakfast’s audience grew by 200,000

How Piers Morgan transformed struggling GMB into ratings juggernaut

Charlotte Hawkins, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid pictured in September 2017 

When Piers Morgan joined Good Morning Britain in November 2015, ITV’s weekday breakfast show was still struggling to outshine its predecessor. 

It consistently had lower ratings than Daybreak despite a £1.5million launch a year earlier and high-profile signings such as Susanna Reid from BBC Breakfast, averaging about 560,000 viewers per episode.

Morgan joined the cast following a five-episode stint in April, and helped rocket the ITV show to its ‘highest ever’ viewing figures – which saw an audience of 1.65million people tune in last Monday. 

But after a five-year career with Good Morning Britain, ITV announced the tough-talking morning show host has sensationally quit his role.   

Morgan’s resignation from Good Morning Britain marks the end of the latest chapter in his extraordinary career, in which he helped a struggling breakfast show grow into an undeniably popular news and talk programme.  

Morgan was often praised for his chemistry with co-host Reid throughout his time at Good Morning Britain, with the latter once explaining the connection between the pair was ‘instant’.

Reid, 50, said in October 2017: ‘He totally wound me up from the moment he joined Good Morning Britain, nearly two years ago. ‘He’s the most annoying man I’ve ever met, but I find working with him exhilarating. Yes, he drives me nuts, but he also makes me laugh – and when the chips are down, and there’s a big news story breaking or we’re doing a controversial interview with a politician, I trust him.’

Reid, 50, said: ‘He totally wound me up from the moment he joined Good Morning Britain. He’s the most annoying man I’ve ever met, but I find working with him exhilarating. Yes, he drives me nuts, but he also makes me laugh – and when the chips are down, and there’s a big news story breaking or we’re doing a controversial interview with a politician, I trust him’

The colleagues quickly became famed for their vicious on-air battles, with Piers’ forthright views also often generating fierce debate and controversy among GMB’s millions of viewers.

For countless Britons, he was must-see TV, celebrated for his no-nonsense approach and for holding Ministers to account throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.   

Prior to his five-year stint on Good Morning Britain, Piers made his name in newspapers, becoming at 29 the youngest national newspaper editor in half a century when he rose the ranks of the News of the World in 1994.   

The journalist left the paper following the controversial publication of photographs of Catherine Victoria Aitken, formerly Victoria Spencer, Countess Spencer, in 1995.

He later joined rival tabloid the Daily Mirror, but was sacked ‘with immediate effect’ in May 2004 after the newspaper published false images which alleged to show Iraqi prisoners being abused by British soldiers. 

The photographs were shown to be fakes within days, and the Mirror claimed it had fallen victim to a ‘calculated and malicious hoax’ when apologising for the publication.   

Piers began a distinguished career in television before departing the Mirror, reinventing himself as a CNN presenter in the US where he has a significant following. 

Kate Garraway, Piers Morgan, Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York and Susanna Reid in November 2018 

He replaced television and radio host Larry King in the network’s evening line-up with his show Piers Morgan Live, which began in January 2011 before ending its run in March 2014.

It was around this time that the straight-talking host began presenting the hugely successful chat show Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, in which he quizzes high-profile celebrities including Sharon Osbourne and Trisha Goddard one-on-one.

The show, which began in February 2009 and is ongoing, has also featured appearances from Elton John, Rod Stewart and Captain Tom Moore – who raised millions for the NHS in a charity walk during the Covid-19 crisis.

Outside the world of journalism, Piers has also appeared as a judge on America’s Got Talent in 2006 and later on the British version of the show. He also won the US Celebrity Apprentice in 2007, which featured former US President Donald Trump.

Moving on from his past success, and his departure from GMB, Piers remains a highly popular MailOnline columnist in both the UK and US. He was appointed editor-at-large of the publication’s US operation in September 2014. 

Queen and Prince Charles back angry Prince William after he broke family silence to blast back at Harry and Meghan’s race claims and insist royals are ‘very much NOT racist’

By Rebecca English Royal Editor For The Daily Mail and Rory Tingle For Mailonline

The Queen and Prince Charles backed Prince William on Thursday night after he insisted the royals were ‘very much not a racist family’.

William yesterday became the first senior Windsor to address directly the string of allegations made by Harry and Meghan in their explosive Oprah Winfrey interview. 

He also confirmed the depth of the rift between him and his brother.

William admitted he had not even spoken to Harry about the TV show – four days after it aired. His reaction laid bare his clear hurt over the claims made by his brother and sister-in-law.

The prince’s comments were praised by insiders, who said the 38-year-old did ‘very well given the emotion and enormity of it all’.

Last night, royal insiders claimed that although William and Harry have not spoken in months, the elder brother is prepared to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the Duke of Sussex at the unveiling of a statue of their late mother.

Sources told the Mirror ‘both camps are prepared to come together’ and put on a ‘united front’ when the tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales is installed at Kensington Palace on July 1.   

The Queen and Prince Charles (pictured together in 2019) have backed Prince William after he spoke out to insist the Royal Family are ‘very much not a racist family’ as the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview continues to grow

The source added: ‘Tensions are undoubtedly running high but they both realise it is important to put any differences aside for the ceremony at least.

‘There is definitely a feeling that both camps are prepared to come together and put on a united front for such a special occasion.’

Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, the official homes of the Queen and the Prince of Wales, were both said to be supportive of William’s solo intervention on Thursday.

The prince was speaking as he and his wife Kate visited a school in east London to support a youth mental health support service. 

Aides had initially insisted the couple would not answer questions about the interview because it would ‘not be appropriate’ in a school setting.

This is not unusual on official engagements because royals like to keep the focus on the issue and the individuals they are supporting. But it is understood the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also determined not to amend their programme to avoid the subject.

When Sky News reporter Inzamam Rashid shouted out two questions on their departure William did not blink. ‘Sir, have you spoken to your brother since the interview?’ he asked.

The prince replied tersely: ‘I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I will do.’


Terse: William yesterday answered questions called out by Sky reporter on London school visit with Kate and an unnamed woman on whether the Royal Family was racist. ‘We’re very much NOT a racist family,’ William replied to the question

The Daily Mail understands that the once-inseparable brothers have not spoken for months. As William and Kate walked on, the reporter persisted: ‘Can you just let me know, is the Royal Family a racist family?’

William turned so his voice could be heard and said, clearly and firmly, despite his mask: ‘We’re very much not a racist family.’

The frustration in his voice, and on his face, was clear. Kensington Palace declined to comment, saying the duke had said all he wished to say. 

But sources confirmed that the questions were entirely spontaneous and the prince – although expecting a reporter might try to ask him something – had no idea what that might be.

His firm rebuttal came after Buckingham Palace issued a statement on Tuesday on behalf of the Queen expressing the family’s sadness at learning the ‘full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan’.

The statement said the issues they raised, particularly that of race, were very ‘concerning’.

Pictured: Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gesture during a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured School21 in Stratford, east London, to mark the return of children to classes this week and the rollout to secondary schools of a mental health project Kate launched in primary schools in 2018

But it made clear that the Queen and other senior royals were keen to stand their ground, adding: ‘While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.’

It is obvious from his comments yesterday that William is one of the family members whose recollections are markedly different to those of the Sussexes.

In their two-hour conversation with US chat show host Miss Winfrey, Harry and Meghan attacked the Royal Family from all sides.

The claimed they had experienced open racism from family members and staff, and alleged a member of Harry’s family even expressed ‘concern’ about ‘how dark’ their unborn son would be.

They also said the family had been uniquely unsupportive of the pressures they were going through, leaving Meghan feeling suicidal and fuelling their decision to quit the UK.

Harry said he felt let down by his father, who, he claimed, refused to take his calls at one point, and admitted there was still a gulf between him and his brother.

Prince William speaks with a child during a visit to School 21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus disease lockdown restrictions in east London, March 11, 2021

The Duke of Cambridge plays with a child in the playground during a visit to School21 in Stratford, east London, this morning 

Their accusations have left the Royal Family reeling and prompted a huge debate about the racism both within the monarchy and the UK more generally. 

The fact that William was asked about the row on an official engagement shows what unprecedented territory the Royal Family has found itself in.

Buckingham Palace has seen its every word and action under scrutiny, with the claims prompting debate about the future of the monarchy in Commonwealth realms such as Australia, where the Queen is still head of state.

While it was clear yesterday that William had not wanted to be put in the position of discussing the falling-out with his brother and sister-in-law, neither had he wanted to be seen dodging the question. 

He may even have wanted to get his personal rebuttal off his chest.

Pictured: Call of duty: Child offers a high five to Kate, who wore a pink coat and matching mask on the visit to School 21 in east London

Kate wore a pink £389 Max & Co coat and a £65 pink Boden jumper during the visit, where she was seen speaking to schoolchildren 

The couple were at the school to mark children’s return to classes and the rollout to secondary schools of a mental health project for pupils which Kate launched in primary schools in 2018

Race claims and a battle of Wills 

Pictured: Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on A CBS Primetime Special premiering on CBS on March 7

These are the bombshell race allegations the Sussexes made in their Oprah Winfrey interview – triggering William’s frustrated reply to a reporter yesterday.

  • Discussing why baby Archie is not a prince, Meghan spoke of ‘concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’. 
  • Asked if there were concerns her child would be ‘too brown’ and it would be a problem, Meghan told Miss Winfrey: ‘If that is the assumption you are making, that is a pretty safe one.’
  • Harry said none of his relatives spoke out in support of Meghan after stories with ‘colonial undertones’ were published, adding: ‘That hurts.’
  • In an extra clip that did not make the final two-hour cut, Miss Winfrey asked Harry if they left the UK due to racism and he said: ‘It was a large part of it.’
  • In additional footage, Meghan said the Press treated her worse than Kate, saying: ‘If a member of [Harry’s] family would comfortably say ‘we’ve all had to deal with things that are rude’…rude and racist are not the same.’ 

William and Kate were yesterday visiting School 21 in Stratford to mark the return to classes and the rollout to secondary schools of a mental health project for pupils that Kate launched in primary schools in 2018.

The course materials have been accessed a million times since the launch three years ago.

During the visit William and Kate talked to teachers about the benefits for pupils. They were welcomed by co-head teachers, Stephanie Shaldas and Edmund Coogan, and were introduced to some of the youngest pupils at a play session.

Kate, in a pink Max & Co coat, knelt down to talk to children in a pop-up cafe, while William helped a girl building a wall in the playground’s construction area. 

Later he sat on a raised floor talking to a little boy who was brandishing a clipboard as Kate went to a water play area and then joined children in a sand pit hunting for treasure.

‘Is it fun to be back with all your friends?’ she asked them.

Kate and William then joined teachers and staff involved in the Mentally Healthy Schools project to talk about its aims and impact on children.

They sat in a circle outside the school because of Covid restrictions. After the television reporter’s questions were fired at William, it looked as though he may have apologised to Miss Shaldas for bringing his family’s traumas into the playground.

Andrea Silvain, a deputy head at the 1,200-pupil free school, said the last year of lockdowns had brought teachers and parents closer together and families had appreciated the help that the mental health website had given.

‘We’ve had some very positive feedback from parents,’ she said.

‘People have been through this lockdown together,’ William replied.

Children at School 21, which educates around 1,200 pupils aged from four to 18, will be given access to lessons on issues such as anxiety and depression.

Ironically, the lessons are on a website financed from an initial £800,000 grant from the then royal foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Kate has championed the idea of early intervention by experts to help children struggling with mental health problems. 

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