Prince William worked as mental health crisis volunteer during COVID-19 lockdown

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has revealed he has been anonymously volunteering on a crisis helpline during England's COVID-19 lockdown.

The 37-year-old has been volunteering for Shout 85258, a mental health charity that offers support via text message to people suffering crises in their personal lives. 

After undergoing training for his new role as a crisis volunteer, the Duke of Cambridge offered support and guidance to people - mainly youth - often experiencing severe distress. As noted by BBC News writer and Shout volunteer Tony Smith, crisis volunteers (CVs) are on the frontline of services for young people who are often suffering from mental illness. 

"I'm going to share a little secret with you guys, but I'm actually on the platform volunteering," the prince divulged to fellow volunteers during a video call last month, later shared to the Cambridges' official Twitter account.

Like the other 2000 volunteers at the 24/7 service, William has been messaging those in need under a pseudonym - so those requiring help are unaware they are talking to a member of the royal family. 

Kensington Palace announced William's involvement in the charity to mark Volunteers' Week, which concludes on Sunday (local time).

A new photograph, taken by the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, of William with two of their three children - Prince George, six, and Princess Charlotte, five - volunteering on the Sandringham Estate has also been released.

In a special statement issued to commemorate Volunteers' Week, the Queen praised those who had given up their time to work unpaid, saying: "As Volunteers' Week draws to a close, it is inspiring to reflect on the many thousands of people, who through their acts of generosity and kindness, have achieved so much for the greater good.

"I have been following with interest how men and women from around the world, including my own family, have been helping and recognising the vital role of the volunteer.

"I send my best wishes to all those who give themselves so freely and selflessly in the service of others."

The Cambridges and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - Prince Harry and Megan Markle - helped to launch Shout 85258 in 2019, investing £3 million in the service via their Royal Foundation.

In a little over a year since its launch, more than 300,000 people have received support through the messaging service. 

Around 65 percent of those texting are aged under 25, the charity confirmed, with the majority seeking mental health support.

Meanwhile the Duchess of Cambridge, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester and Sophie, Countess of Wessex have been calling self-isolating, vulnerable Britons as part of the Royal Voluntary Service's NHS Volunteer Responders scheme.

The countess has also been privately volunteering to support efforts in local communities, BBC News reports, working once a week with Mealforce and Helpforce. These charities help to provide daily meals for NHS workers across London.