WILLIAM GIVES SUICIDE CALLERS THE ROYAL TREATMENT

Published on: February 24, 2003

If you want to kill yourself in Britain, you can get the royal treatment!

Prince William, who has a heart as big as his mom's, is secretly manning a suicide hotline for stressed-out students.

The real-life Prince Charming often works through the night, dealing with calls from desperate youngsters.

None of them know they're talking to the future King because he's asked for anonymity.

Pals of the late Princess Diana are not surprised by his dedication because the pinup Prince has inherited the same quiet concern for others displayed by Di, who often made unpublicized visits to hospitals and shelters.

"He's a chip off the old block," divulged a royal source.

"Di always made sure Wills and Harry knew they'd been born with a silver spoon in their mouths and the world was full of others less fortunate.

"She gave them a social conscience -- taking them with her on visits to hospitals and homeless shelters from an early age.

"Even though they were tragically young when she died, the message got through and it stuck."

Added a royal insider: "Wills and Harry have their own ideas about which charities they like to help, and a lot of them are ones their mother favored.

"Di set up a secret charity fund during her life to make discreet cash donations to her own favorite charities. It began with $150 of her own money, and by the time she died, she'd raised $2.4 million to hand out to needy causes!

"That was divided between Wills and Harry to start their own independent charitable trusts."

William, 20, enjoys contributing his time and effort as well as money.

The suicide hotline, called Nightline, operates every night from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. during school season at his college, St. Andrews University in Scotland.

The lifesaving service was set up after an alarming rise in students diagnosed with depression.

Volunteers like William answer phones in a call center at a secret location on campus.

"It's independently run by students for students," disclosed a former Nightline staffer.

"We had to go through an intensive training program before we were allowed to answer phones. Some of the calls were harrowing and lasted up to three hours."

Concluded a pal of the Prince: "No one knows who helps at Nightline and that appeals to William.

"To be doing something worthwhile without any public acknowledgment is typical of him."