Prince William just unexpectedly left Britain. Here's why

In a surprise move, Prince William left his family residence of Anmer Hall in Norfolk, England– where he and wife Kate Middleton and children George, Charlotte, and Louis have been quarantining since March 2020 due to the global coronavirus pandemic — to travel overseas. Well, technically, over one sea specifically: the Irish Sea. The reason? No, William has not performed his own version of "Megxit." The unannounced trip to Belfast on Sept. 9, 2020 was very much in line with his official duties as a senior royal

According to People, the Duke of Cambridge's well-intentioned sojourn was made to meet with frontline workers in Northern Ireland in an effort to recognize their efforts to promote mental health awareness within their ranks. As Vanity Fair noted, Prince William's trip to Belfast to meet with members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Police College occurred on Sept. 9, 2020, which coincided with the U.K.'s official Emergency Services Day. (The date itself is a reference to the emergency phone number 9-9-9, Britain's version of 9-1-1.) 

In addition to his visit to the Police College, the Duke of Cambridge also confabbed with staff and participated in the force's Wellbeing Volunteer Training course, a program that aims to train members to provide mental health support to fellow colleagues and peers, per PeopleAll that being said, the meaning of William's trip to Belfast was seemingly also made for a reason close to the senior royal's heart — read on to find out.

Prince William's trip outside of Britain was for a personal cause

The advent of Belfast's police force's Wellbeing Volunteer Training course overlaps with Prince William's own passions and interests — namely the Heads Together campaign. According to the initiative's official website, it's "spearheaded by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge." Heads Together's main prerogatives are to "tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health with fundraising for a series of innovative new mental health services" — all of which fits in neatly with the reasons for William's Belfast trip. 

The purpose of the prince's visit is especially relevant when it comes to frontline workers in both the U.K. and Northern Ireland amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to data reported in May 2020 by the U.K.'s Centre for Mental Health, first responders "are at greater risk of developing mental health problems as a result of Covid-19" due to a combination of the nature of their work and the overwhelming pressure of the unprecedented workload.

"Each and every day, people from teams across the blue light community are called to the scenes of dreadful incidents," Prince William said in a speech to attendees at Northern Ireland's Police College (via People). "But as you care for us in our time of need, so too must we ensure that we are there for you when you need it the most."