Prince William has opened up in a big way about the devastating death of his mother, Princess Diana, when he was a child. William worked with the BBC on a new documentary titled A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, in which he shared his own mental health struggles.
Prince William discussed his time working as an air ambulance pilot
In the documentary, Prince William shared the immense pain of losing his mother as well as the state of his mental health while working as an air ambulance pilot.
He noted that 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. You’re dealing with families who are having the worst news they could ever possibly have — on a day-to-day basis.”
The experience, he said, resulted in “raw emotion,” adding, “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.”
He stressed the importance of sharing emotions
During the discussion, Prince William also noted that it should be okay to feel comfortable discussing mental health concerns, explaining, “We are nervous about our emotions, we’re a bit embarrassed sometimes.”
He continued: “The British stiff upper lip thing, that’s great and we need to have that occasionally when times are really hard but 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.”
He felt ‘pain like no other pain’ when Princess Diana died
The documentary’s presenter, Dan Walker, asked William about having these discussions and the duke shared his perspective about the death of his mother when he was just 15 years old, noting: “I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’m trying to understand why I feel like I do, but I think when you are bereaved at a very young age, any time really, but particularly at a young age, I can resonate closely to that — you feel pain like no other pain.”
He added: “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.”
Despite the immense loss in his ife, he has found a connection with others, sharing, “It also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved,” explaining that you can see it “in their eyes’ when speaking to someone who has lost a loved one.
He explained, “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 about bereavement.”
Prince William further noted: “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. 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.”