Prince William has spoken in candid detail about how he found himself overwhelmed by parenthood because of the devastating impact of his mother’s early death.
In an unusually heartfelt interview, he described how becoming a father had brought back emotions ‘in leaps and bounds’ and how having children was ‘one of he most amazing moments in life, but also one of the scariest’.
Speaking in a BBC1 documentary about mental health to be broadcast this week, the Duke revealed how he could be caught unawares by unexpected emotions, and how he relies on his wife for support.
Prince William (right) revealed that becoming a father was overwhelming due to his mother’s early death
He opens up about his feelings on parenthood in a BBC mental health documentary set to be broadcast on Thursday
He said: ‘Me and Catherine particularly, we support each other and we go through those moments together and we kind of evolve and learn together.
‘But I think emotionally things come out of the blue that you don’t ever expect, or maybe you think you have dealt with.’
William – who is father to George, six, Charlotte, five, and Louis, two – was just 15 when Princess Diana died and he rarely talks about the impact. Yet he opened up when talking to footballer Marvin Sordell, who has spoken about his own depression and suicide attempt.
The former England U21 player said of becoming a father three years ago: ‘It was the hardest time of my life. I grew up without my father… and now I’ve got a child. I don’t really know how I’m dealing with this and I really struggled with my emotions at that time.’
Alongside wife Catherine (second right), William has three children – six-year-old George (bottom left), five-year old Charlotte (bottom middle) and two-year-old Louis (right)
The Duke of Cambridge discussed his feelings upon becoming a father with former-England Under-21 striker Marvin Sordell (pictured) who has 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’re saying. Having children is the biggest life-changing moment, it really is and I agree with you.
‘I think when you’ve been through something traumatic in life like you say, your Dad not being around, my mother dying when I was younger, your emotions come back, in leaps and bounds because it’s a very different phase of life and there’s no one there to kind of help you. And I definitely found it very, at times, overwhelming.
‘So 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.’
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 get talking about the issue.
Last year, he took part in a similar film in which he talked to footballers including Peter Crouch and England manager Gareth Southgate about the loss of his mother, calling it a ‘pain like no other’.
An aide said: ‘The Duke is really passionate about football and felt that it would be a great medium through which to tackle men’s mental health, in which it has traditionally been far harder to reach people.
William (third right) is a big football fan and has spearheaded the ‘Heads Up’ mental health campaign alongside major figures in the sport to persuade men to talk about their emotions
‘How do you reach normal blokes 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 is not the first time that William has talked about parenthood but he has previously focused on the practicalities of nappy-changing, night shifts and lack of sleep.
When George was born in 2013, he joked that he was ‘a little rascal who wriggles around a lot’, adding: ‘The only legacy I want to pass on to him is to sleep more and maybe not have to change his nappy so many times.’
When Charlotte was born two years later, he revealed that it was ‘the smallest thing’ that brought him close to tears.
‘It puts it all in perspective,’ he added, musing on his own vulnerability, ‘the idea of not being around to see your children grow up…’
Football, Prince William And Our Mental Health airs on BBC1 at 8.05pm on Thursday.