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In pictures: What really happened when Prince William sold The Big Issue

This is how the day unfolded when Prince William sold The Big Issue on a central London street.

Photos of Prince William decked out in the red hat and tabard of a Big Issue seller went viral around the world in recent weeks. But what was really going on?

It was all part of a plan for how William wants to do more to end homelessness, using his 40th birthday on June 21 as a starting point. You can read more about the prince’s views on homelessness and poverty, including a self-penned article, in this week’s edition of The Big Issue magazine, available from your nearest vendor. We just can’t promise he’ll be selling it himself this time.

Here’s how the day unfolded.

A slow start gave Prince William and Big Issue seller Dave Martin a chance to chat.

Prince WIlliam and Big Issue seller Dave Martin in red Big Issue hats and tabards stand in conversation as an elderly woman walks past
A slow start gave Prince William and Big Issue seller Dave Martin a chance to chat. Image: Andy Parsons/Big Issue

There were more than a few double-takes as Londoners struggled to believe their eyes. Mind that lamp post!

William and Dave attract attention. Image: Andy Parsons/Big Issue

But passers-by soon began to recognise royalty in their midst.

‘Big Issue! Get your Big Issue!’ Photo: Andy Parsons/Big Issue

Most Big Issue sellers are keen for a conversation with customers, given how many people walk on by. The Duke of Cambridge was no different.

Prince WIlliam and Big Issue vendor Dave Martin chat to customers in central London
Prince William and Big Issue vendor Dave Martin chat to customers in central London. Photo: Andy Parsons

And hundreds across the country carry a card reader for ease of use. It also means they have money going into a bank account, a crucial step in breaking the cycle of poverty and accessing other services.

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It didn’t take long before William was in his element, joking and laughing with punters.

Prince William
Photo: Andy Parsons

Fans and tourists had a chance for a rare photo and William and Dave were happy to oblige.

Royal Marines stationed nearby stopped to get a copy as well.

William served in the army, navy and air force in a seven-year military career, while brother Harry was captain general of the royal marines before returning his military ranks in February 2021.

Photo: Andy Parsons

After selling an impressive 30 copies, the pair retired to nearby homelessness charity The Passage to talk further and set the world to rights.

This is the same charity where Princess Diana took William and Harry when they were boys to learn about life outside the palace.

“Thank you for looking after me.” Prince William said. “When you first do it, I can see it’s daunting. You just don’t quite know what’s going to happen or how it’s going to go.”

Prince William and Dave Martin
The Duke of Cambridge with vendor Dave Martin Photo: Andy Parsons

Read more about what happened when Prince William sold The Big Issue:

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Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

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