Prince William Explains How A Debilitating Medical Condition Helped His Anxiety

·4-min read
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images


Prince William has discussed how his eyesight issues surprisingly helped him overcome his anxiety when delivering speeches.

In a new BBC documentary, Football, Prince William And Out Mental Health, which will air on Thursday, the Duke of Cambridge spoke about how his ageing eyesight affected him for several years.

‘My eyesight started to tail off a little bit as I got older, and I didn't used to wear contacts when I was working, so when I gave speeches I couldn't see anyone's face,’ he admitted.

However, the royal noted that while he struggled with his vision, it also helped him cope with the anxiety he's felt when addressing a room of people.

‘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 helped with my anxiety...'

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

According to the NHS, eye muscles start to weaken from the age of 45 which is part of the natural ageing process.

The Duke is regularly called on to deliver speeches and speak in public with his wife, Kate Middleton.

The 37-year-old also touched on what’s it’s like to have children after you’ve lost a parent. William lost his mother, the late Princess Diana, in August 1997 when he was aged 15.

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

‘Having children is the biggest life-changing moment, it really is,’ he told footballer Marvin Sordell whose father was absent during his childhood.

'And I agree with you. 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. It’s a very different phase of life, and there’s no one there to kind of help you.'

During the documentary, the royal also spoke about male suicide, describing it as ‘scary’ and ‘frightening.

'It is one of the biggest killers of young men under 45,’ he told players at West Bromwich Albion Football Club.

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'As pain and grief goes, and I've heard this from sadly too many families who have been bereaved by suicide, it is one of the rawest forms of grief because you're left with so many unanswered questions. '”Could I have done more, should I have done more, why did they do it?”’

'Men seem to have a real issue with opening up and being able to talk about it. If we can have a major impact on lowering suicide rates, that's a success from this campaign.'

Prior to lockdown in the UK, the father-of-three launched The Heads Up Weekends which sees every football team dedicate their matches to the organisation in order to highlight the importance of discussing mental health.

The project is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic which has seen football matches across the country paused.

Football, Prince William And Our Mental Health will be broadcast on Thursday May 28 at 8.05pm on BBC One.

For more information on looking after your mental health, visit the NHS website here and read information from Mind charity here. To contact the Samaritans, call 116 123 or send an email to (24 hours response time).

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