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Prince William opens up about the ‘trauma’ of being an air ambulance pilot in emotional new interview

Prince William has opened up about the “trauma” of being an air ambulance pilot during a candid new interview.

The Duke of Cambridge worked as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) from 2015 to 2017, after serving as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot.

During a special episode of Apple Fitness+’s Time to Walk series, which premieres on December 6, the 39-year-old got emotional as he spoke about the “difficult situations” he was involved in.


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“Seeing patients and families ripped apart on almost a daily basis, that routine, you just get into a habit of head down and get on with it,” William said.

However, one particular incident involving a young boy who had been hit by a car in 2017 left him changed forever.

“Immediately it became clear that this young person was in serious difficulty… And of course there are some things in life you don’t really want to see,” he recalled.

“And all we cared about at the time was fixing this boy. And the parents are very hysterical, as you can imagine, screaming, wailing, not knowing what to do, you know, and in, in real agony themselves. And that lives with you.”

William continued: “I went home that night pretty upset but not noticeably. I wasn’t in tears, but inside, I felt something had changed. I felt a sort of, a real tension inside of me.”

“It really hit me weeks later. It was like someone had put a key in a lock and opened it without me giving permission to do that. I felt like the whole world was dying.”

“It’s an extraordinary feeling. You just feel everyone’s in pain, everyone’s suffering. 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?'”

Julien Behal Photography

“And I started to realize that, actually, you’re taking home people’s trauma, people’s sadness, and it’s affecting you,” he explained.

“I was lucky enough that I had someone to talk to at work in the Air Ambulance because mental health where I was working was very important.”

“Talking about those jobs definitely helped, sharing them with the team, and ultimately, in one case, meeting the family and the, the patient involved who made a recovery, albeit not a full recovery, but made a recovery.”

Working as an air ambulance pilot inspired the Duke to spread awareness about the importance of mental health.


William said: “We know mental health has been a taboo and a stigma for a long time all around the world. And it still is.”

“I’d like to think, in the U.K. here and the U.S., it’s much more talked about, and it’s opening up. But there’s still a deep-rooted fear of understanding it.”

“And we all need to go through a process of understanding why rather than just give in to those feelings and say, ‘Listen, it’s me. I’m the problem.’ It’s not. It really isn’t you.”

“And you’re not alone, and it’s okay. It’s about what you do next. It’s about having that boldness and that openness and that strength to go, ‘It’s going to be a long journey. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to get there.'”


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