Prince William has spoken candidly about how he found himself overwhelmed with parenting because of the devastating impact of his mother’s early death.
In an unusually sincere interview, he described how becoming a father had brought back the emotions “by leaps and bounds” and that having children was “one of the most amazing moments in life, but also one of the scariest.”
Speaking in a BBC1 mental health documentary airing this week, the Duke revealed how to get caught unexpectedly by unexpected emotions and how to rely on his wife for support.
Prince William (right) revealed that becoming a father was overwhelming because of his mother’s early death
He talks about his feelings about parenting in a BBC documentary on mental health that airs on Thursday
He said: “Me and especially Catherine, we support each other and we experience those moments together and we evolve and learn together.
“But I think emotionally things come out of the blue that you never expect, or maybe you think you coped.”
William – who is the father of George, six, Charlotte, five, and Louis, two – was only 15 when Princess Diana died, and he rarely talks about the impact. Still, he opened up during a conversation with soccer player Marvin Sordell, who has talked about his own depression and attempted suicide.
The former English U21 player said to become a father three years ago: “It was the most difficult time of my life. I grew up without my father … and now I have a child. I don’t really know how I handle this and I was really struggling with my emotions at the time. ‘
In addition to wife Catherine (second right), William has three children – six-year-old George (bottom left), five-year-old Charlotte (bottom center), and two-year-old Louis (right)
The Duke of Cambridge discussed his feelings when he became a father to former England striker under 21 Marvin Sordell (pictured), who suffered from mental health issues in the past and recently became a father himself
In response, a clearly moved William 37 said, “I can relate to what you are saying. Having children is the biggest life-changing moment, really, and I agree.
“I think if you’ve been through something traumatic like you say, your dad was not around, my mom died when I was younger, your emotions come back, by leaps and bounds because it’s a very different phase of life and there’s no one around to help you. And I certainly found it overwhelming at times.
“So I fully understand what you say about children who come by. It is one of the most amazing moments in life, but also one of the scariest. ‘
The Duke took part in the documentary Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health about the Heads Up campaign that hopes to use football to persuade men to discuss the matter.
Last year, he took part in a similar film in which he spoke to footballers, including Peter Crouch and English manager Gareth Southgate, about the loss of his mother, calling it a “pain like no other.”
An assistant said, “The Duke is really passionate about football and thought it would be a great medium to tackle men’s mental health, which has traditionally been much more difficult to reach.
William (third right) is a big football fan and led the Heads Up mental health campaign alongside big figures in sports to convince men to talk about their emotions
“How do you reach normal boys who don’t talk about their feelings or seek help? Football can reach men of all ages and backgrounds. Heads Up is a very personal campaign for him. ‘
This isn’t the first time William has talked about parenting, but rather has focused on the practicalities of diaper changes, night shifts, and sleep deprivation.
When George was born in 2013, he joked that he was “a little bitch who wriggles a lot,” adding, “The only legacy I want to pass on to him is sleep more and maybe not change his diaper too often.”
When Charlotte was born two years later, he revealed that it was “the smallest thing” that nearly brought him to tears.
“It puts it all in perspective,” he added, pondering his own vulnerability, “the idea of not being around to watch your kids grow up …”
Football, Prince William And Our Mental Health airs on BBC1 at 2.05pm on Thursdays.