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The Duke of Cambridge has revealed a Tina Turner hit brings back treasured memories of his mother singing it at the “top of her voice” with her sons as she drove them to school.
William shared the poignant “family moment” in an audio walking tour recorded for Apple and described how Diana Princess of Wales took him to a homeless shelter to teach him the important lesson – there is life outside “palace walls”.
His children appear to have inherited his love of music and the duke recounts Princess Charlotte going “crazy” dancing to Shakira, and how an AC/DC song is a “Monday morning” track that gets him “back into the grind of the week”.
During his recording, made while walking through the Queen’s Sandringham estate, the future king covered a wide range of topics from the emotional effect of working as an air ambulance pilot to being out of his “comfort zone” singing on stage with Taylor Swift and Jon Bon Jovi.
In the candid chat, William said he still “secretly” likes the Turner song The Best, one of a number Diana would play to ease the anxiety as she took him and the Duke of Sussex back to school, thought to be Ludgrove in Berkshire.
The duke said: “Because sitting in the backseat singing away, it felt like a real family moment. My mother, she’d be driving along singing at the top of her voice and we’d even get the policeman in the car, he’d be occasionally singing along as well.”
With birdsong in the background, he added: “You’d be singing and listening to music right the way up to the gates of school when they dropped you off and that’s when reality kind of sunk in – you really were going back to school.
“Because before that you’re lost in songs – want to play it again, just to keep that family moment going. And when I listen to it now it takes me back to those car rides and brings back lots of memories of my mother.”
It was during his five years at Ludgrove that William suffered a golfing accident that left him with his “Harry Potter” scar, but he made lifelong friends at the school including Harry Aubrey-Fletcher, who is a godparent to Prince Louis.
William strolled around Sandringham in Norfolk sharing personal stories and the three songs, played in full, as part of the Time To Walk series featured on the Apple watch, for the technology company’s Fitness+ subscribers.
Dolly Parton, Anthony Joshua and Naomi Campbell have also recorded an audio walking tour, like William, to encourage the public to get active for their mental health.
The duke said his mother took him to a homeless shelter to meet people “down on their luck”, adding: “She wanted to make sure that I understood that life happens very much outside of palace walls, and this is what’s going on. This is the real world here.”
William, who holds patronage roles with the homeless charities Centrepoint and The Passage, said: “And we sat there, and we listened. It really brings it to life when you hear somebody sit in front of you and talk very movingly and very openly about the challenges they’ve been up against.”
In a lighter moment during the walk William said Shakira’s track Waka Waka is loved by Charlotte, and his daughter dances to the song – apparently mimicking the Colombian singer’s video moves – and dresses as a ballerina for the performance.
The duke said: “One of the songs that the children are loving at the moment is Shakira, Waka Waka. There’s a lot of hip movements going along with a lot of dressing up.
“Charlotte particularly is running around the kitchen, in her dresses and ballet stuff. She goes completely crazy with Louis following her around trying to do the same thing.”
William said he was “amazed” how his three children had inherited him family’s love of music and “most mornings there’s a massive fight between Charlotte and George as to what song is played in the morning”.
To keep order in the Cambridge household the duke said he alternates between his two eldest children as to who can pick the music.
He says about his final music choice: “There’s nothing better than, on a Monday morning, when you’re a bit bleary-eyed after the weekend and trying to get yourself back into the grind of the week, listening to AC/DC – Thunderstruck.”
The duke adds: “It absolutely wakes you up, puts your week in the best mood possible, and you feel like you can take on anything and anyone.”
During his walk, William reveals the impact of dealing with life and death moments when he was a helicopter pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) – becoming emotional as he describes meeting a former patient.
The duke’s voice breaks when he recounts being introduced to the un-named person who recovered, but not fully, following an incident dealt with by the duke and his former EAAA crew, and he says: “It even makes me quite emotional now.”
– 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.