Prince William brought ‘immediate calmness’ and made everyone feel ‘at ease’ when meeting men who have lost a child for his BBC documentary, one of the grieving fathers reveals
- Duke of Cambridge’s, 37, new BBC mental health documentary will air tonight
- BBC One documentary is called Football, Prince William And Our Mental Health
- Prince William will meet Rob Allen and Peter Allen from the Sands United charity
- Appeared on This Morning and said the royal made team feel ‘at ease’ instantly
- Rob said he was ‘nervous’ to meet the royal on the anniversary of his son’s death
Prince William brought an ‘immediate calmness’ when meeting a grieving father who lost his son on the anniversary of his death during his new mental health documentary.
Peter Allen, from Northamptonshire, belongs to Sands United charity, which supports men and other bereaved family members who have lost children before or shortly after birth by bringing them together through a shared love of sport.
He appeared on This Morning today where they spoke about meeting the Duke of Cambridge, 37, for his new BBC documentary Football, Prince William And Our Mental Health.
Peter said that while he was ‘nervous’ to meet the royal on the anniversary of his son Benjamin’s death, William made the football team feel ‘at ease’ immediately.
Prince William, 38, brought an ‘immediate calmness’ when meeting men affected by the death of a young child during his new mental health documentary Football, Prince William And Our Mental Health
Peter Allen (pictured) , from Northamptonshire, told on This Morning that while he was ‘nervous’ to meet the royal on the anniversary of his son Benjamin’s death, William made the football team feel ‘at ease’ immediately
He said: ‘I remember when he came to see us, it was October last year. It was the anniversary of when we lost Benjamin, so it was a poignant day for me.’
‘I was nervous, I had clammy hands, but as soon as he came through the door an immediate calmness came over me.
‘It was such a privilege to speak to him, he made us feel so at ease.’
Meanwhile another grieving father Rob, also from Northamptonshire, said that the team helps members cope during tough milestones like Christmas and birthdays as they know they’re ‘standing shoulder to shoulder’ with those experiencing the same thing.
He said: ‘I think the single biggest thing that’s unique about our football team, is that everyone has their own story -but football gives everyone a release.
The Prince was followed for the past year for the BBC film as he travelled around the country promoting his Heads Up initiative (he is pictured with Rob Allen)
Rob (pictured left), also from Northamptonshire, explained the team helps members cope during tough milestones like Christmas and birthdays
‘On these important times like Christmas and birthdays when we notice our losses more, football helps it not overwhelm you and be at peace for 90 minutes.
‘You know standing shoulder-to-shoulder we’re all battling for the same thing we wear our children’s names on our shirt so they’re always with us.’
In the documentary, which airs tonight on BBC1, Prince William also spoke about his own coping methods with anxiety.
The Prince said: ‘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 when I gave speeches I couldn’t see anyone’s face.
Prince William’s Heads Up initiative aims to raise awareness about mental health and encourage football supporters to speak about their problems or support a fellow fan
‘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 helped with my anxiety…’
The Prince was followed for the past year for the BBC film as he travelled around the country promoting his Heads Up initiative, which aims to raise awareness about mental health and encourage football supporters to speak about their problems or support a fellow fan.
William, pictured giving a speech in November last year in London, revealed in the documentary that removing his contact lenses has helped him to overcome anxiety about speaking to mass audiences
The avid Aston Villa fan revealed football has become more important to him as he has got older: ‘You know it’s weird because, I’ve always loved football but I love football more now than I’ve ever loved it before and I don’t know what it is, whether it’s because I’m a parent now and I need football more in my life, I don’t know maybe it is that.’
William also spoke openly about the issues surrounding male suicide, saying: ‘It’s scary and it’s frightening and it’s real.’
The duke believes the continuing ‘stigma’ around mental health stems from the internalised grief and sadness the country felt after two world wars and people’s desire to forget the experience and ‘get on with life’.
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