Prince William speaks about Princess Diana’s death and how it affected work as air ambulance pilot5 min read

0
25

The Duke of Cambridge has spoken with aching honesty about the loss of his mother, calling it a ‘pain like no other’.

Prince William told how it affected his work as an air ambulance pilot, which saw him confronted by loss on a daily basis.

He said the job left him with ‘a very depressing, very negative feeling, where you think death is just around the door everywhere I go’, adding: ‘That’s quite a burden to carry and feel.’ 

The Duke of Cambridge has spoken with aching honesty in BBC documentary A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health about the loss of his mother, calling it a ‘pain like no other’. He discussed the issue with footballers including Peter Crouch and England manager Gareth Southgate

The Duke of Cambridge has spoken with aching honesty in BBC documentary A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health about the loss of his mother, calling it a ‘pain like no other’. He discussed the issue with footballers including Peter Crouch and England manager Gareth Southgate

The future king’s remarkably frank admissions come in a BBC documentary, A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, which sees him discuss the issue with footballers including Peter Crouch and England manager Gareth Southgate.

With suicide still the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, William has made the issue of mental health a cornerstone of his public work.

During tomorrow’s documentary, the prince also stresses the limits of a stiff upper lip. 

‘We are nervous about our emotions, we’re a bit embarrassed sometimes,’ he says. 

‘The British stiff upper lip thing – that’s great and we need to have that occasionally when times are really hard. 

‘There has to be a moment for that. But otherwise we’ve got to relax a little bit and be able to talk about our emotions because we’re not robots.’

The prince has previously spoken about the death of his mother Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 when he was 15 and Prince Harry just 12.

But until now, Harry has been the prince more open to discussing his grief.

During the documentary, presenter Dan Walker asks the father-of-three about the importance of such discussions – particularly in light of the death of the princess.

William says: ‘I think when you are bereaved at a very young age… you feel pain like no other pain.

‘And you know that in your life it’s going to be very difficult to come across something that’s going to be an even worse pain than that.’

Prince William said being bereaved at a very young age makes you 'feel pain like no other pain'

Prince William said being bereaved at a very young age makes you ‘feel pain like no other pain’

But, he adds optimistically: ‘It also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved.’

He says you can see bereavement ‘in their eyes’ when speaking to those who have lost a loved one. 

‘They want to talk about it, but they want you to go first, they want to have your permission that in that particular conversation – one on one – it’s ok to talk.’

Check this out  Stella Maxwell storms the runway in 80s inspired graphic-print ensembles

Discussing the emotional pressures of his time as a pilot in the East Anglian Air Ambulance between 2015 and 2017, he admits he took the stress home with him.

The duke has previously revealed that one of his first ‘call-outs’ was to a young man who had taken his own life, which he found particularly shocking. 

William told how one of the worst aspects of the role was dealing with families who had just lost a loved one – particularly a child.

In tomorrow’s discussion he goes even further, admitting that at times he found it almost impossible to cope with the grief he was seeing daily.

During the documentary, the guests – including football stars Thierry Henry, Danny Rose and Jermaine Jenas – make some ‘extraordinary revelations’ on everything from body image and depression, to the impact of career-ending injury

During the documentary, the guests – including football stars Thierry Henry, Danny Rose and Jermaine Jenas – make some ‘extraordinary revelations’ on everything from body image and depression, to the impact of career-ending injury

Speaking about the ‘raw, emotional’ realities of working with the air ambulance, he says: ‘You’re dealing with families who are having the worst news they could ever possibly have – on a day-to-day basis. 

‘It leaves you with a very depressing, very negative feeling, where you think death is just around the door everywhere I go. And that’s quite a burden to carry and feel.’

He speaks candidly of the ‘particular, personal’ resonance he felt with some families, and adds: ‘That raw emotion, I just thought listen, I can’t – I could feel it brewing up inside me and I could feel it was going to take its toll and be a real problem.

‘I had to speak about it… when you see somebody at death’s door, with their family all around them, it’s a very hard thing to describe. 

‘Even though you don’t necessarily know the individual or the family, you share someone’s pain – because we all do. We all have families, we can all relate to it.’

The prince says the biggest lesson he had learned through his work was to talk about his issues. 

Although William is not believed to have sought professional help like his brother, he has talked previously about speaking to colleagues, family and friends. 

‘That’s the thing with mental health – we can all relate to it. We see it day-to-day around us… let’s talk about it. It would make a big difference,’ he says.

During the documentary, the guests – including football stars Thierry Henry, Danny Rose and Jermaine Jenas – make some ‘extraordinary revelations’ on everything from body image and depression, to the impact of career-ending injury.

It was filmed earlier this month at Cambridge United Football Club, which has pioneered several major mental health initiatives. 

The prince says: ‘There needs to be a turning point where we can pass the message on to men everywhere that it’s ok to talk about mental health. We have to normalise the whole conversation.’

Prince William runs mental health campaign Heads Together with his wife Kate and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health is on BBC1 tomorrow at 10.30pm.