The Royal Wedding is mere days away, but Canada is still on the last Windsor milestone – it was only two weeks ago, after all. The Prime Minister’s Office announced Tuesday afternoon what Canada’s official gift to the new royal baby is going to be.
Prince Louis likely already has everything any baby — royal or otherwise — could ever need, so in lieu of a registry item (do royal babies have those?) the nation will be donating to two charities in his name. The government will donate $50,000 each to the Toronto-based charities Stella’s Place and Jack.org which both support youth mental health initiatives – an issue close to Prince William’s heart. The littlest royal will also be sent a traditional Haida blanket – a nod to William and Kate’s 2016 visit to the B.C. island of Haida Gwaii.
In recent years, Will has established himself – along with brother Harry – as an advocate for mental health awareness, de-stigmatization and support. He’s spoken candidly about how the death of his mother, Princess Diana, affected him mentally and how staying silent on how they were feeling hurt both him and Harry. These donations are in honour of the work the royal family is doing to help youth and others speak out about mental illness.
Stella’s Place is an organization that helps young adults to better understand their own mental health, offers support to those who need it and creates a community in which people can share their experiences. The organization was created by Donna Green after seeing her daughter Stella struggle with depression and anxiety in her youth and focuses on providing services to those 16 to 29 who need support. Today Stella herself is a spokesperson and advocate for the organization.
Jack.org was similarly started by parents of a teen who suffered from mental illness. After their son Jack took his own life in 2010, Eric Windeler and his wife Sandra Hanington started an organization in his honour to educate young Canadians about mental health. They empower student leaders to lead the conversation on mental health to spread awareness and break down the stigmas surrounding it.
In terms of royal baby gifts, this one is pretty thoughtful. It’s also not unusual for Canada (and other nations) to offer donations over onesies. When Prince George was born in 2013, Canada (under Stephen Harper) made a $100,000 donation to a “child-focused charity” and sent a Canadian handcrafted blanket and a selection of Canadian children’s books in both official languages. Princess Charlotte was gifted a $100,000 donation to Immunize Canada (she was born during World Immunization Week) and a Canada Goose Bunny Bunting Snow Suit.