Even royals get anxiety ahead of big events

By Stephanie Petit
May 28, 2020 10:32 AM

Prince William is perfectly fine when he forgets his glasses or contacts.

The royal dad, who is passionate about promoting mental well-being, took part in the new documentary Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health to confront the stigma associated with men's mental health. In a preview of the documentary released by the BBC, William shares that he experiences anxiety ahead of public speaking engagements. However, his poor vision has actually helped him overcome it.

"My eyesight started to tail off a little bit as I got older, and I didn’t use to wear contacts when I was working, so actually when I gave speeches I couldn’t see anyone’s face," Prince William, 37, said. "And it helps, because it’s just a blur of faces and because you can't see anyone looking at you — I can see enough to read the paper and stuff like that — but I couldn’t actually see the whole room. And actually that really helps with my anxiety."

Prince William
Prince William
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge talks to players of Everton F.C. Seamus Coleman, Tom Davies, Jordan Pickford, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Theo Walcott during his visit Everton Football Club's official charity Everton in the Community as part of the Heads Up campaign on January 30, 2020 in Liverpool, England. HRH is President of the Football Association. (Photo by Chris Jackson
Prince William
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

In the same documentary, Prince William spoke candidly about becoming a father to his three children — Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2.

Former soccer player Marvin Sordell, who is also in the film, confided to the royal that becoming a father "was the hardest time in my life. You know, I found it really tough . . . I grew up without my father . . . I really struggled with my emotions at that time."

The Duke of Cambridge family
Prince William, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George
| Credit: Kensington Palace/Twitter

William agrees as he opens up about losing his mom Princess Diana, who died following a car crash in Paris in 1997.

"Having children is the biggest life-changing moment, it really is," Queen Elizabeth's grandson said. "I think when you’ve been through something traumatic in life, and that is like you say, your dad not being around, my mother dying when I was younger, the emotions come back, in leaps and bounds."

"Me and Catherine, particularly, we support each other and we go through those moments together and we kind of evolve and learn together," William added. "I can completely relate to what you're saying about children coming along — it's one of the most amazing moments of life, but it's also one of the scariest."

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The new film fits in with William's ongoing Heads Up campaign across British soccer. The royal is using the popular sport as an anchor to help raise the issue of mental well-being in men, and it features many prominent British footballers as he meets players, fans and managers from grassroots to the elite as part of the campaign. It also tells the stories of men from across the U.K. who have been affected by mental health issues.