Prince George's billionaire godfather donates £1m to mental health research after Prince William's documentary

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster has made another donation during the pandemic. (Getty Images)

Prince George’s godfather has made a £1m donation to research into the mental health of the nation during lockdown, after Prince William’s documentary.

Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, is one of Britain’s wealthiest men and inherited a huge amount of land after his father died.

He has already donated £12.5m to NHS charities and to food distribution charities to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

But soon after Prince William’s documentary about mental health, which had football as a focus but had to acknowledge the lockdown, Grosvenor donated another £1m, to Oxford University’s research into the impact of COVID-19 on Britain’s mental health.

The duke, 29, said: “Mental health can affect anyone, anywhere. This crisis presents new and difficult challenges to so many people; whether that’s clinicians and key workers on the front line, grieving families, children struggling to understand social isolation, or anyone already suffering from anxiety or other mental health issues.

“While the impact of this crisis is being felt immediately, the longer-term mental health impact of COVID-19 could potentially be devastating if not addressed.

“I am really interested in Oxford University’s innovative mental health programmes, particularly the impact of the pandemic on youth mental health. These projects are vital pieces of work and will benefit us all as the effects of the virus become more apparent.”

Hugh Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster and Charlie van Straubenzee at Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding. (Getty Images)

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The grant will help the work of the University’s Department of Psychiatry which is examining the pandemic’s effect on a range of areas from anxiety and stress, to individuals being disconnected from their social, family and work lives.

Professor John Geddes, head of the university’s Department of Psychiatry, said: “We are enormously grateful for this generous gift which will enable us to scale up our research projects, especially into how Covid-19 is affecting young people’s mental health.

“I’m delighted how quickly and expertly our researchers have responded to this global threat. The pace of development means that funding them has been a challenge, and this donation is critically important.”

William, 37, started his documentary touring the country’s football teams, from premier league to grassroots, but the last leg of the Heads Up campaign was brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge with General Timothy Granville-Chapman, Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster and John Peace. (Getty Images)

Read more: Prince William talks homeschooling: 'You worry how little you know when you can't do Maths'

Instead, William spoke to some of the documentary participants by zoom, and spoke about his worries for the health of the nation after lockdown.

He said: “We are all going to struggle in dealing with the anxiety, the isolation, the uncertainty, job losses, it’s going to affect everyone in different ways.

“That does worry me a lot and we have to be mindful of looking after all of society going forwards.”

Grosvenor, often dubbed Britain’s most eligible bachelor, is a billionaire, who controls Grosvenor Group. The group owns 300 acres in the Belgravia and Mayfair neighbourhoods.