Business

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Britain's Prince William appeals for people to ditch 'stiff upper lip' in frank discussion about his struggles with mental health

  • Britain’s Prince William spoke out about his struggles with mental health
  • Climate change one of the biggest topics on Davos agenda
  • German chancellor says 'all her efforts' going towards 'well-ordered' Brexit
  • 'Capitalism is not immoral, it's amoral' - says Bono
  • Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is preparing to debate Brexit with UK Chancellor Philip Hammond at the World Economic Forum in Davos tomorrow
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and British naturalist, documentary maker and broadcaster David Attenborough attend a conversation during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and British naturalist, documentary maker and broadcaster David Attenborough attend a conversation during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Gavin McLoughlin in Davos

Britain’s Prince William has spoken out about his struggles with mental health and appealed for people to ditch the ‘stiff upper lip’.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prince William said that he began to have difficulties from his work in the air ambulance service.

“I was dealing with a lot of trauma on a day-in, day out basis…stuff that your body is not programmed to deal with,” he said.

He said British people in particular are “very embarrassed about revealing our emotions”, saying he believed this dated back to wartime, and that a generation had at that time decided the best way to deal with mental health problems was not to talk about them.

“They then completely by accident passed that on to the next generation,” he added.

“Now there’s a generation here that are finally realising that this is not normal and we should talk about it.”

Bono, U2 singer and co-founder of the One campaign, attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in DavosREUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Bono, U2 singer and co-founder of the One campaign, attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in DavosREUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

He said mental health issues were a common thread linking much of his charity work, in areas ranging from addiction to homelessness.

In an interview with Prince William, nature broadcaster David Attenborough said that it was "difficult to overstate" the extent of the climate change problem, one of the biggest topics on the agenda.

But it looks like many of the attendees have a bit of work to do when it comes to managing their own carbon footprints.

One aircraft chartering company – Air Charter Service (ACS) -  is predicting as many as a record 1,500 private jet flights over the week.

“The week of the forum is unlike any other busy private jet event, such as the Super Bowl or Champions’ League final – it’s unique for the industry in that we receive bookings from a number of our offices around the world, rather than just the one or two offices in the region where the event is being held,” said ACS private jets director Andy Christie.

“We have had bookings from as far as our operations in Hong Kong, India and the US – no other event has the same global appeal.”

Mr Attenborough issued a dire warning on the future of the planet at the event - saying humans can wipe out whole ecosystems without even realising it.

Read more: Britain should not be treated like Ireland was on Nice and Lisbon referendums - Pierre Moscovici

In an interview with Prince William at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Attenborough said that it was "difficult to overstate" the extent of the climate change problem.

Earlier, German chancellor Angela Merkel told Davos that the relationship between the UK and the EU is “in Britain’s hands”.

Mrs Merkel said “all of her efforts” are going towards a “well-ordered” Brexit.

“We want to have a good future partnership as regards foreign policy, security policy, defence, we are absolutely dependent on good cooperation with Britain. But we are also a trade area and the less complicated, the easier our relations are, the better for all of us. But it is now naturally in Britain’s hands,” she told an audience in Davos.

Mrs Merkel said Europe’s needs to be united and pool its resources in order to compete with the US and China.

“If we don't do this we will become somebody who will be guided by other forces,” adding that she wants to boost the euro to be a powerful currency on the world stage, like the dollar.

Meanwhile, Bono told the World Economic Forum that capitalism has taken more people out of poverty than any other political philosophy.

The U2 singer said "unlocking" private sector funds can help achieve amazing things in developing countries.

"Capitalism is not immoral, it's amoral," Bono said.

"It has taken more people out of poverty than any other 'ism' but it is a wild beast and if not tamed it can chew up a  lot of people along the way"

He said that in some countries people who had their lives chewed up are pushing politics towards populism.

"We have to have some humility about what we can achieve in  the private sector but if we can unlock it it's amazing what you can pull off."

He added that young activists were driving change in business, and were loyal to ideas rather than brands.

"Even great businesses can go extinct, like a species, if they don't adapt and evolve."

Speaking at Davos 2019, one senior Chinese official said democracy is not working well in the West and western countries need political reforms.

Fang Xinghai, vice-chair of China’s Securities Regulatory Commission, said the West "cannot just turn your attention to other countries and try to paper over the difficulties you are experiencing."

He said the rise of China is a factor in the geopolitical turmoil that has arisen, but that the most important factor is that the West is facing "tremendous difficulties".

"Democracy as you described is not working very well and you have to realise that. You need political reforms in your countries. I say that in all sincerity," Mr Fang said.

He said he doesn't know why some American policy thinkers see China as a strategic rival.

"Is China a dangerous country? I think not. We are just there to modernise ourselves."

Mr Fang said that if US President Donald Trump wants to create jobs that add lots of value to products  in the US, he needs an export market and China is the economy that can take these exports.

"The road to create high value added jobs in the US passes through Beijing."

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is preparing to debate Brexit with UK Chancellor Philip Hammond at the World Economic Forum in Davos tomorrow.

Mr Varadkar will take part in a panel discussion alongside Mr Hammond and a number of other European leaders, focusing on the continent's future.

Mr Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are travelling to Switzerland this afternoon. Mr Donohoe is due to take part in a panel discussion on international tax, alongside OECD secretary general Angel Gurria.

Mr Varadkar is also due to hold bilateral meetings with political leaders and the heads of companies with big operations in Ireland.

Both he and Mr Donohoe will also attend the IDA's annual dinner for executives of big international companies, part of the agency's efforts to win foreign direct investment.

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