Prince William is ‘no racist’ says charity boss pal who spent the night sleeping rough with future king

PRINCE William's charity boss pal has insisted the future king is not racist after allegations were made against the Royal Family.

Seyi Obakin spent the night sleeping rough with the Duke of Cambridge in London 12 years ago and has considered him a friend ever since.

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The chief executive of Centrepoint, a charity which supports homeless young people and of which William is patron, once camped out in secret with the Duke so he could experience sleeping rough.

And he has insisted the Duke is not racist.

"I have never seen a hint of racism," Mr Obakin told The Telegraph. "Never."

"I have worked with him in close proximity for years. He has met my family.

"He’s never treated us with anything other than decency, dignity and respect."

Prince William took over from his mother as the patron of Centrepoint 16 years ago when he was 23 – the first patronage he took on.

Speaking of how William grasped the role, Mr Obakin explained: “He said ‘if I’m going to do it I need to understand how this stuff works, can I volunteer?’

He’s never treated us with anything other than decency, dignity and respect.

"He came along a number of times and worked as part of a multi-ethnic team serving a multi-ethnic group of young people, talking to them about their housing benefit problems and ringing up the benefits office.

“One of the young people came in and said ‘You look like somebody famous,’ and he replied, ‘Yeah, people have said that to me before’ and just carried on. The kid was none the wiser.”

Then, as Centrepoint marked its 40th birthday in 2009 the Prince wanted to do more to highlight the issue of homelessness.

Mr Obakin asked him: “'What about taking that one notch up and sleeping out yourself?'

“Never in a million years did I think he would say yes. Then I thought ‘My god, what have I done? I’ve just invited the future king of England to sleep rough on the street.”


Centrepoint holds an annual sleep out for supporters, which is safe, controlled and fenced-off – but that was not what William had in mind.

Mr Obakin said: “He said ‘If I’m going to this I don’t want something genteel, something protected. I want an authentic experience.

"We agreed not to tell anyone. I did not even tell my wife."

They picked a December night and slept in their sleeping bags accompanied only by Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the Prince’s then private secretary.

“People said to me afterwards there must have been security but there wasn’t," Mr Obakin insisted. "There was just us."

“We did exactly what a young person who has nowhere to live would do.

"If you are sleeping rough people spit at you, people kick you. So we walked around looking for a spot and found this little cul-de-sac and got some wheelie bins to mark out our space.”

His comments come as the Royal Family faces allegations of racism after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a series of revelations in their interview with Oprah.

Meghan claimed there had been conversations with Harry and a "family" member about what colour their son Archie's skin would be – although they did not say who.

Prince William is understood to have led discussions on how to respond to the allegations and was the first royal to publicly speak out against them.

As he visited a school for an engagement, he told reporters the royals are "very much not a racist family".

The Royal Family also said in a statement that it was deeply saddened by the claims, adding that it would look into them internally.

The Queen is now reportedly set to appoint a diversity tsar to modernise the monarchy.

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