The public is getting a new and in-depth look at the high-risk, high-thrill day job of Britain’s Prince William just as the prince is considering taking a step back to focus on fatherhood and royal duties.
William, 30, is one of the stars of the new “Helicopter Rescue” show set to premiere on the BBC next month. On the show, Prince William opens up about being a search-and-rescue pilot in the Royal Air Force (RAF), a role that has previously garnered him headlines – as when, in August, he completed two rescues in four days – but never before been seen in such an up-close way.
“I don’t think there’s any greater calling in life… to be able to see a son or daughter’s face when you bring their mother or father back from the edge of death,” he says on the show, according to the BBC. “It’s quite powerful.”
Prince William became an RAF search-and-rescue captain last May. His No. 22 Squadron is based in Anglesey, close to where the rescue took place and where he and wife, Kate Middleton, set up home, prior to her becoming pregnant with the couple’s first child.
Now that Middleton, 31, is expecting and spending most of her time in London, royal watchers are wondering whether Prince William will shift from full-time pilot to full-time father and royal.
“An insider tells us Prince William has submitted his formal notice with the search-and-rescue effort at the Royal Air Force Valley in Anglesey, Wales,” said Brody Brown, a reporter for Us Weekly magazine.
Also adding to the speculation is the fact that William’s current tour of duty is due to end this September.
“It’s going to be very difficult for him to move on from this role that he so enjoyed,” said Vicki Arbiter, royal contributor for ABC News.
Prince William himself acknowledged the difficulties of choosing between family life, his professional career and his royal duties when he spoke to ABC News’ Katie Couric last year, prior to the pregnancy news.
“It’s a really difficult one because I really enjoy my time in the Air Force and I’d love to continue it, but the pressures of my other life are building,” he said.
Middleton is due to give birth in July.