The outing at the Old Fire Station yard on the Sandringham House grounds doubled as a playdate with cousins Peter and Zara Phillips

By Stephanie Petit
September 09, 2019 11:33 AM

Prince William has been looking back on his family photo albums — and found the perfect snap to share in conjunction with a new initiative he helped launch on Monday.

Before stepping out to launch a texting service aimed at helping first responders at Harcombe House, which provides physical and mental health support to members of the U.K.’s fire and rescue services, William’s office at Kensington Palace shared an Instagram post featuring a throwback photo from 1988 of the royal playing on fire truck as young boy. He’s joined by younger brother Prince Harry and their late mother, Princess Diana — and the outing at the Old Fire Station yard on the Sandringham House grounds doubled as a playdate with cousins Peter and Zara Phillips.

William and Harry sported matching light blue coats and gold firefighter helmets as Diana carefully watched them explore the vintage fire engine.

The Instagram post and William’s outing are honoring 999 Day in the U.K., an annual holiday on the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month which celebrates police, fire and emergency medical services.

“As a society, we owe our wellbeing, and indeed our lives, to the men and women in our emergency services who work tirelessly to protect us in some of the most difficult circumstances,” William said in a statement shared on Instagram. “It is only fitting that we should recognise the vital role that they play, and pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities.”

Prince William
| Credit: Ben Birchall - WPA Pool/Getty

William, 37, promoted a new texting service through Crisis Text Line during Monday’s outing. Members of frontline emergency service communities, retired or serving, and their families can text BLUELIGHT to 85258 to be connected to a trained and supervised crisis volunteer.

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Prince William
| Credit: Ben Birchall - WPA Pool/Getty

William opened up about his most “daunting incidents” as an air ambulance pilot before he retired in 2017.

“As a team, we travel to some very daunting incidents and we have been though some incredibly tough times together, witnessing some appalling tragedies,” he wrote. “One of the first call outs I made was to a young man who had [died by] suicide; it was an incredibly tough day and had a profound effect on all of us, not least in my determination now to draw attention to this issue.”