Prince William reveals emotional impact of his time as air ambulance pilot

Prince William on board his helicopter Credit: ITV News

Prince William has revealed what effect dealing with life and death moments had on him while he worked as an air ambulance helicopter pilot.

The Duke of Cambridge became emotional when he described meeting a former patient. His voice breaks when he recounts being introduced to the patient following an incident dealt with by the duke and his former crew from East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).

Speaking during an audio walking tour recorded for Apple, he described how he was "taking home people's trauma, people's sadness" and it was affecting him by making him sad despite a happy home and work life.

Prince William was a helicopter pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance

He has spoken in the past about how working for the EAAA affected his mental health, but the audio recording, made while walking around the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk, reveals how the incidents still live with him.

William, who served for two years as an air ambulance helicopter pilot, said about dealing with traumatic moments with the EAAA: "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."

With his voice breaking, he adds: "Because - it even makes me quite emotional now - when they come in and say 'thank you', and, 'Here he is. He's okay."'

He added: " still even affects me now. But I think, as a human being, when you see someone in such dire circumstances, basically at death's door, you can't help but not be affected by that."

In a lighter moment, William tells the story of how he was taken out of his "comfort zone" when, during a 2013 fundraising gala for the homeless charity Centrepoint, he "got up like a puppy" after Taylor Swift looked him in the eye and said "Come on, William. Let's go and sing."

They joined Jon Bon Jovi on stage and performed his band's hit Livin' On A Prayer, and William said about the experience: "Beneath my black tie, there was a lot of sweating going on. I felt like a swan, where I was trying to keep myself composed on the outside, but inside, the little legs are paddling fast.

Karaoke King: William takes to the stage with music royalty Credit: PA Images

"Now, a lot of people might think that I'm comfortable on stage. When I do speeches and things like that, I've done so many now, they're not a problem. But I've not done singing. At times, when you're taken out of your comfort zone, you've got to roll with it.

"And I think we've gotten to the stage in this life where we do micromanage ourselves. We do worry about: how do we look on social media? Who said what about me? What am I wearing? There's so many pressures, but I think making a fool of yourself is okay."

William begins his tour close to St Mary Magdalene Church where the monarchy traditionally attend the Christmas Day church service, and he reflected thatfamily memories associated with the day are becoming more important.

He said: "I have strong memories of walking down here, and my grandfather, he used to walk so fast that there'd be huge gaps and spaces between all of us walking down, and there'd be us at the back with little legs trying to keep up.

"You know, I think, over time, you start to feel quite attached to those moments and those memories before."

Apple will stream three special audio airings of the Time To Walk episode featuring William free of charge on Apple Music 1, the global radio station on Apple Music, on Monday.