Prince William says losing mom Diana at a young age was a 'pain like no other'; reveals it affected his work as an air ambulance pilot
Prince William still misses his mother and got a tad bit emotional while speaking about the loss of Princess Diana, calling it a "pain like no other". The Duke of Cambridge spoke about 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 future king's truthful admissions came in a BBC documentary, 'A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health'.
The documentary sees the father-of-three discuss the issue with footballers, including Peter Crouch and England manager Gareth Southgate. According to Daily Mail, with suicide still the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, the royal has made the issue of mental health a cornerstone of his public work.
During the course of the documentary, which releases on May 19, 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."
The Duke adds, "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." William has spoken numerous times about the death of his mother Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 when he was 15 and his brother, Prince Harry, was 12.
During the documentary, presenter Dan Walker asks the prince about the importance of such discussions, particularly in light of the death of the late 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."
However, being the optimist that he is, Prince William adds, "It also brings you close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved." According to him, 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."
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. Speaking about the "raw, emotional" realities of working with the air ambulance, Prince William shared, "You’re dealing with families who are having the worst news they could ever possibly have – on a day-to-day basis."
He continued, "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." The Duke also spoke candidly about the "particular, personal" resonance he felt with some families, adding: "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. But until now, Harry has been the prince more open to discussing his grief. 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. The upcoming documentary was filmed earlier this month at Cambridge United Football Club, which has pioneered several major mental health initiatives.