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'Homeless' Prince William spends night on street

By Phil Han, CNN
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Prince William sleeps on street
  • Prince William spent a night sleeping near a bridge in central London
  • The event was organized to promote homeless charity, Centrepoint
  • The group slept in old sleeping bags and used cardboard boxes as shelter

London, England (CNN) -- A cold icy sidewalk isn't where you would normally expect to find a sleeping British royal, but it is where Prince William spent the night to highlight the plight of the homeless.

William, second in line to the British throne, spent a night near Blackfriars Bridge in central London last week in an event organized by homeless charity Centrepoint.

"I cannot, after one night, even begin to imagine what it must be like to sleep rough on London's streets night after night," Prince William said in a statement on the Charity's Web site.

Centrepoint's CEO, Seyi Obakin also spent the night alongside the prince and said it was a difficult and dangerous experience.

"There was no shielding from the bitter cold, or the hard concrete floor, or the fear of being accosted by drug dealers, pimps or those out to give homeless people a good kicking," Obakin said.

"One of the hairiest moments occurred when we were almost run over by a road sweeper which simply didn't see our small group huddled together, which just goes to show how vulnerable rough sleepers are."

The group encountered temperatures that dipped to minus four degrees Celsius and slept in old sleeping bags, using cardboard boxes as shelter.

"It was the coldest night we had in a very long time and once it was over I think the prince appreciated the fact that he, unlike many homeless young people, could go home to a warm place," Stuart Rogers, chief resources officer for Centrepoint told CNN.

"He didn't look his usual self given that he just spent the night outdoors and in rough clothes, but he didn't look too bad."