Roman Kemp has opened up about a detail that he has “stuck in his head” from the time the Princess of Wales visited his family home.
Kate Middleton teamed up with the radio presenter for a short film about mental wellbeing earlier this year, after she launched her early years development campaign.
“It was an honour but it was one of the weirdest things,” he said. “We had a Zoom call, just her and me.”
After the pair decided they would make a short film, Kate, who was the Duchess of Cambridge at the time, said she could visit Kemp at his flat.
“And i just said, ‘No, let’s go to my parents’. It’s a bigger house. I don’t want to bring royalty to a flat in Vauxhall,” Kemp joked.
He recalled the moment the royal sat at his kitchen counter with his mother, Shirlie Holliman, and father, Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp, as well as his sister Harley.
“The funniest thing was she didn’t have any shoes on because she was respectful enough to take her shoes off at the door,” he said. “That really stuck in my head because you never see royalty with no shoes.”
The princess appears comfortable going barefoot on occasion. In 2016, she and the Prince of Wales both took their shoes off while visiting the Gandhi Smriti Museum in India in accordance with local customs.
She also removed her footwear while visiting a mosque in Pakistan in 2019 as a show of respect.
Kate’s sister-in-law, the Duchess of Sussex, has previously suggested that going barefoot behind closed doors was not the norm for the Waleses, as she recalled her first meeting with her future in-laws in her and the Duke of Sussex’s Netflix docuseries, Harry and Meghan.
Meghan Markle said she was barefoot and wearing “ripped jeans” the first time Prince William and Kate went to meet her at her and Harry’s residence, but was surprised that “the formality on the outside carried through on the inside”.
During Kate’s appearance in the short film, which was released in February, she discussed the importance of mental wellbeing and relationships, and how nurturing children in their early years can build a society of healthy, happy adults.
Kemp has spoken candidly about his own struggles with mental health after the death of his close friend Joe Lyons, who was a Capital FM producer.
He also opened up about suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) linked to the moment he learned about Lyon’s death while live on air. He was told by the executive producer of his breakfast show about what had happened.
“Over the last year I developed really bad panic attacks,” Kemp, who takes antidepressants daily, said. “I was suffering a lot with walking into the radio studio and reliving that day again every day.
“I would have this kind of traumatic thing where if I was on the radio and I heard a door open to my left, I would go back to that point where I looked at my exec producer and she told me he was dead. I had this anxiety feeling hanging over me.”
Kem underwent EMDR (eye movement desensitisation reprocessing) therapy to help him overcome the PTSD.
According to the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP), EMDR therapy can help people process and recover from past trauma by using side-to-side eye movements combined with talk therapy.
The treatment was developed specifically for treating trauma or PTSD and is recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.