Prince William reveals pre-wedding nerves
Friday 01 April 2011
As his wedding approaches, Prince William has confessed to being so nervous his knees were knocking in a wedding rehearsal.
The 28-year-old, who is due to tie the knot with fiancee Kate Middleton on April 29, admitted he had had sleepless nights about "the whole thing", but was looking forward to the big day.
William made the comments after demonstrating his work as a Search and Rescue (SAR) pilot on a training exercise out of RAF Valley, where he is based.
The royal, who joined C Flight, 22 Squadron in September, has already participated in 12 operational search and rescue missions - a similar amount to any of his contemporaries.
But rescuing people from life-threatening situations is not the only nerve-wracking element to the Prince's life.
When asked what elements of his impending wedding day were giving him sleepless nights, he said: "The whole thing!"
"I was telling everyone I did the rehearsal the other day and my knees started tapping quite nervously.
"It's quite a daunting prospect but very exciting and I'm thoroughly looking forward to it but there's still a lot of planning to be done in the last four weeks."
Speculation has been rife this week over where William celebrated his stag do, confirmed to have taken place over the weekend.
But the royal refused to be drawn on any details, despite admitting being slightly smug over outsmarting the media.
"It's quite good news always to outfox the media but it was a military operation and my brother and I are very proud of how it went," he said.
William, who got his helicopter wings in January last year, has completed around 35 operational SAR standby shifts at RAF Valley - each shift lasts 24 hours.
His rescue missions included someone with a suspected dislocated knee, a suspected heart attack, a rescue of a cliff-faller in Anglesey, as well as several medical transfers.
In the training mission, William piloted a Sea King helicopter to nearby Holyhead mountain where he and the three other crew members undertook a mock rescue of an injured walker - winching them to safety in a stretcher.
The Prince spoke glowingly of his pride over joining the Search and Rescue team, which he dubbed the "fourth emergency service", and said after a brief introduction he had found it "totally apparent" how important the job was.
"The skills the guys employ, the flying aspects, the general airmanship you need to have around you and all the others you need to survive the weather and whatever sort of situation you are thrown into," he said.
"It's definitely advanced flying and it's rewarding so put the two together and it's a fantastic job.
"It's rewarding because every day you come into work you don't quite know what's going to happen, it's quite exciting in that sense, it's unpredictable.
"But at the same time it's great that you get to go out and actually save someone's life hopefully or at least make a difference to somebody when you know that they are in trouble you do everything you can to get there."
He said the team was a "big family in the sky", adding: "Having witnessed it for the past few months, I'm very proud to be amongst the Search and Rescue guys and very privileged to be flying with some of the best pilots I think in the world.
"The guys do a fantastic job and they are very happy to do it. It's a job but it's emotional, it's physical and it's very demanding."
William said sometimes the job could get "hairy", joking "especially with someone like me at the controls".
He also said he enjoyed settling into life in Anglesey, where he and Miss Middleton were usually left alone.
"The beach is here and the general life is great to settle in and knuckle down to a proper job. We are left alone, it's good," he said.
William's comments came as his grandmother visits RAF Valley with the Duke of Edinburgh, where they will take a tour, meet Search and Rescue Force (SARF) personnel, and see some demonstrations.
Winchman Sergeant Ed Griffiths, who literally puts his life in the Prince's hands when they carry out rescues, said the royal was just like any other member of the team.
"He is a pilot, he is a junior officer in the RAF and that's how we treat him. He is part of the family here, he is one of the team," he said.
"We do depend on each other, there are times when our lives depend on each other.
"He is treated the same as anyone else would be on the field and any other member of the crew and that includes a bit of fun.
"We've spent a few pounds on Kate and William memorabilia and strategically secreted it around the place so he might open a locker and find stuff, or find his own face on a cushion or see his own face on a cup when you give him a cup of tea."
The Prince's "boss", Wing Commander Steve Bentley, Squadron Commander of 22 Squadron, agreed the royal was one of the team.
"He is obviously keen to be a member of the crew, he is keen to play his full part, his part of the team," he said.
"Search and Rescue relies on every member of the crew playing their full part and I am delighted to say Flight Lieutenant Wales really has embraced that wholeheartedly."
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