Prince William has described feeling like ‘the whole world was dying’ after attending an accident where a little boy had been hit by a car.
The future king has opened up about the emotional impact of working as an Air Ambulance pilot in an extraordinarily candid podcast interview.
William, who flew helicopters with East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) from March 2015 to July 2017, became emotional as he described how he felt dealing with life and death situations on a daily basis.
The accident which seems to have left the biggest impression on the Duke of Cambridge involved a child, who would have been a similar age to his eldest son, George.
William said the youngster was ‘in serious difficulty’ having been hit by a car and his parents were ‘hysterical.’
The crew dealt with the situation and got the patient to hospital but William said the trauma stayed with him for weeks afterwards.
‘I went home that night pretty upset but not noticeably. I wasn’t in tears, but inside I felt something had changed,’ he said.
‘I felt a sort of, a real tension inside of me. And then, the next day, going back in again to work, you know, different crew. On to the next job.
‘And that’s the thing, you’re not always all together. So then you can’t spend a day processing it.’
William doesn’t name the boy in question but the parents of youngster Bobby Hughes have told the Mail on Sunday that they believe he was referring to their child.
Bobby was left with brain damage after being hit by a car outside his house in Essex in 2017.
Mum, Carly, 40, said: ‘William told us how it affected him as a father and how he felt our pain.’
‘He’s amazing, a credit to our country… I’ve looked into his eyes and, genuinely, he has got a kind heart.’
William opened up about his mental health in the programme, titled: ‘Prince William: Time To Walk’, which he recorded for Apple.
The series features celebrities sharing stories and some of their favourite songs as they go for a walk.
The duke choose to record his on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk as he takes a three mile stroll between St Mary Magdalene Church and his home at Anmer Hall.
William said the impact of attending the accident ‘really hit him weeks later.’
‘I felt like the whole world was dying. It’s an extraordinary feeling. You just feel everyone’s in pain, everyone’s suffering,’ he said.
‘And that’s not me. I’ve never felt that before. My personal life and everything was absolutely fine.
‘I was happy at home and happy at work, but I kept looking at myself, going, ‘Why am I feeling like this? Why do I feel so sad?’
‘And I started to realise that, actually, you’re taking home people’s trauma, people’s sadness, and it’s affecting you. But I can’t explain why I had that realisation what was going on because a lot of people don’t have that realisation.’
In the wide-ranging interview, the Duke of Cambridge also revealed a Tina Turner hit brings back treasured memories of his mother singing it at the ‘top of her voice’ with her sons as she drove them to school.
He still ‘secretly’ likes the song The Best as it was one of a number Princess Diana would play to ease the anxiety as she took him and brother Prince Harry back to school, thought to be Ludgrove in Berkshire.
The duke said his mother also took him to a homeless shelter to meet people ‘down on their luck’, adding: ‘She wanted to make sure that I understood that life happens very much outside of palace walls, and this is what’s going on. This is the real world here.’
He said his children appear to have inherited his love of music and the duke recounts Princess Charlotte going ‘crazy’ dancing to Shakira.
The track Waka Waka is apparently loved by Charlotte, and his daughter dances to the song – mimicking the Colombian singer’s video moves – and dresses as a ballerina for the performance.
His final music choice – a song by the rock band AC/DC – was chosen because it helps to get him ‘back into the grind of the week.’
‘There’s nothing better than, on a Monday morning, when you’re a bit bleary-eyed after the weekend and trying to get yourself back into the grind of the week, listening to AC/DC – Thunderstruck,’ William said.
The duke adds: ‘It absolutely wakes you up, puts your week in the best mood possible, and you feel like you can take on anything and anyone.’
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