What Prince William Does That Terrifies the Queen

It apparently keeps Her Majesty awake at night.

Prince William Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince William is a very experienced helicopter pilot, but that doesn’t stop his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, from worrying about him as he frequently transports his family back and forth from their homes at Kensington Palace in London and Anmer Hall in Norfolk via this mode of transportation.

William is often at the controls, flying himself, wife Kate, and children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis the 115-mile distance between their two residences. This practice has left Her Majesty “very worried” and has been kept “awake at night” by fear, The Sun on Sunday reported, via PEOPLE.

It has long been understood that heirs to the throne don’t fly together in the unspeakable event that tragedy might strike, but these rules have been relaxed with the Cambridges so the family of five can spend more time together, the Daily Mail reports.

The Queen has told courtiers that she would “like William to stop flying himself, particularly in bad weather, as helicopters are not the safest form of transport,” the Sun on Sunday reported. “It keeps the Queen awake at night, and she is understandably very worried.”

The article continued “She knows William is a capable pilot but does not think it is worth the risk for all five of them to carry on flying together and can’t imagine what would happen. It would spark a constitutional crisis.”

Behind father Prince Charles, William is second in line to the throne, with children George, Charlotte, and Louis third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

William is a skilled pilot, completing his Royal Air Force training in 2010 and later going on to serve as a search and rescue pilot for years, often flying in harsh weather conditions. He then went on to work as an air ambulance pilot. William is often piloting his family’s helicopter rides, though sometimes there is another pilot and crew flying the family.

Her Majesty, according to the Mirror, is reportedly still haunted by a 1967 helicopter accident that killed the captain of the Queen’s Flight, Air Commodore John Blount, and three others in Newbury, Berkshire. No royals were on board the crash.

“It put her off completely,” a source told the Daily Mail, per the Mirror. “That’s why she’s so worried about William and his family.”

As a result of the 1967 crash, the Queen reportedly only uses helicopters when she has no other choice, especially dislikes them in winter, and won’t board one after dark. Her Majesty has reportedly had, according to the Daily Mail, “several conversations” with William, asking him to stop amid her fears an accident could threaten the line of succession to the British throne.

“The Queen has told William she is worried that, however good he is as a pilot, bad weather and accidents can strike at any time,” per the Daily Mail. “She thinks the future is bright with them at the helm after Charles, but if something happened to him and the family, it doesn’t bear thinking about.”

The Cambridges are reportedly looking for a home in Windsor to cut down the need for regular helicopter trips. For their part, Buckingham Palace said about the matter that it “doesn’t comment on private conversations,” per PEOPLE.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.