Prince William has joked about sharing the relief of parents across the nation as his children went back to school after what he called a “long five months” of homeschooling.
William and his wife Kate had been homeschooling Prince George and Princess Charlotte since March after their school, Thomas’s Battersea, closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The family of five, including two-year-old Prince Louis, spent lockdown in Anmer Hall, their Norfolk home on the Sandringham estate.
However Thomas’s reopened on Monday, and it’s likely that the family is back in London to resume more of their royal duties.
William, 38, made the comment while in Northern Ireland as he met various members of the emergency services, thanking them for their work during the pandemic.
He said: “I think every parent is breathing a sigh of relief that school has started again.
“Five months – it’s been wonderful, but it’s been a long five months.”
William and Kate sympathised with the nation’s parents many times during lockdown, with the prince once remarking that he was struggling to help seven-year-old George with his maths work.
William’s trip to Northern Ireland marked Emergency Services Day, and the royal met workers involved in a peer support group to help with mental health issues.
He opened up about his own experiences when he was an air ambulance pilot, some of which have led to his focus in his royal work on mental health.
He said: “For me it was the sadness, I really felt the sadness, I’d absorb the jobs I’d gone to.
“Sadly with the Air Ambulance you get a lot of deaths and I didn’t realise (the impact) – I would go to the next one and the next one.”
The father-of-three told workshop attendees it was natural to be upset by what they see on their calls.
“We’ve got to somehow change that culture, where we feel it’s okay to say ‘listen, this was horrendous, I really didn’t enjoy seeing that, it was really brutal’.
“How do we talk about it?” he asked.
The Duke of Cambridge also reflected on how he had been unable to recruit any celebrities to speak about their struggles when he first started his campaign work.
He said: “This was six or seven years ago and not one celebrity wanted to talk about it in public… and now look at it.”
William was one of two royals out and about on Wednesday, with Camilla also on an engagement.
The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Cambridge both met hard-working dogs on their visits, with Camilla visiting medical detection dogs, working to sniff out coronavirus, and William getting a moment with five-month-old Irish setter Tara, who has been trained to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).