Prince Williams has described how he was mentally affected after witnessing a boy almost the age of his son, Prince George, get brain damaged after a devastating car accident.
Speaking at ‘Time To Walk’ podcast, a show recorded for Apple series in which celebrities share memories and songs, Williams says it was as if ‘something had changed’ inside him after seeing five year old Bobby Hughes get brain damaged in 2017.
He revealed how he helped to save the life of a gravely injured boy while working as a helicopter pilot for the air ambulance service.
“I went to this one job. And it wasn’t very far,’ he says. ‘The maximum we flew was 15 minutes. And that was the great thing – you get the aircraft out as quick as you can. It was a short distance.
‘I still remember the crew who were on, great mates of mine. We had a paramedic and a doctor on and another pilot flying with me. And the call we get is very brief, not very detailed. So we were expecting a minor injury case.
‘Immediately it became clear that this young person was in serious difficulty, sadly been hit by a car. And, of course, there are some things in life you don’t really want to see.
‘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 real agony themselves. And that lives with you.
‘But our team got to work, and they stabilised the boy, and then it was a case of getting him out of there and into hospital. It all happened very fast. And we had the patient there in under an hour. It gives the patient the best chance of survival.
‘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. 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.
‘And so, you sort of have a reluctance to talk about it because you don’t want to hold each other up. You, you don’t want to, you know, burden other people. You also don’t want to think, ‘Oh, is it just me? Am I the only one who’s really affected by that?’
The future King of the UK describes how he was deeply affected by what he experienced that day.
He says weeks later his despair intensified. As he describes it, it was ‘like someone had put a key in a lock and opened it without me giving permission to do that’.
‘You just feel everyone’s pain, everyone’s suffering. And that’s not me. I’ve never felt that before.’
William attended the scene during his time as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance service between March 2015 and July 2017.
“It was like someone had put a key in a lock and opened it without me giving permission to do that.’ He continued.
‘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?’
‘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.
‘And that is where you can slip unnoticed into the next problem.
‘I think, until you’ve been through it, it’s hard to understand.
‘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 patient involved who made a recovery, albeit not a full recovery, but made a recovery.
‘That definitely helped.’
On Saturday night, December 4,, the boy’s mother, 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.’
He told us; ‘Anything I can ever do for you, don’t hesitate to ask me, for Bobby’s rehabilitation.’
‘I’ve looked into his eyes and, genuinely, he has got a kind heart. He’s a lovely man, amazing. I would be proud to call him my King one day.’