Prince William Said His Poor Eyesight Helps Him to Deal With Anxiety

In Prince William's documentary on men's mental health, titled Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health, he speaks about his experience of anxiety.

london, united kingdom december 11 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 24 hours after create date and time prince william, duke of cambridge attends a service of thanksgiving for the life and work of sir donald gosling at westminster abbey on december 11, 2019 in london, england sir donald gosling, chairman of national car parks ncp an honorary vice admiral of the royal navy and former owner of the motor yacht leander g, died on september 16 2019 photo by max mumbyindigogetty images
(Image credit: WPA Pool)

Prince William's latest documentary on mental health will air in the U.K. tonight on BBC One. Titled Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health, the documentary will see William speak to soccer players and fans across the U.K., with the aim of confronting the stigma associated with men's mental health.

In a preview clip released by the BBC (opens in new tab), William discusses his own experiences of anxiety when speaking in public. "Certain days, especially certain speeches as well when I was growing up, you definitely get a bit of anxiety," he says.

William inadvertently landed on an unusual technique to manage his anxiety ahead of important speeches: not wearing contact lenses. "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 actually when I gave speeches I couldn’t see anyone’s face," he says. "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 helps with my anxiety."

In the same documentary, William speaks to former soccer player Marvin Sordell about the trauma of losing his mother, Princess Diana (opens in new tab), at a young age, and how that trauma resurfaced when he had children. "Having children is the biggest life-changing moment, it really is," he says. "I think when you’ve been through something traumatic in life...my mother dying when I was younger, the emotions come back, in leaps and bounds."

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Emily Dixon
Morning Editor

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.