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Smooth sailing! Prince William goes rowing with Royal Navy crew for Mental Health Awareness week

The Prince of Wales joined Royal Navy crew for a rowing trip as he marked the start of Mental Health Awareness week with a slick new video.

The six-minute clip – which was uploaded on the Prince and Princess of Wales’ YouTube account today – opens with the royal arriving at Dorney Lake in Windsor to meet members of the HMS Oardacious.

The campaign was founded in 2019 to provide mental health support to those working in submarines.

The father-of-three, 40, met with Lieutenant Commander Hugo Mitchell-Heggs and his team who are crossing the Atlantic in their new eco-friendly boat this December.

The group included marine engineer and submariner Izzy Rawlinson, who will lead the first all-women’s team to cross the Atlantic next year.

The Prince of Wales, 40, met with HMS Oardacious crew members. The campaign was founded in 2019 to provide mental health support to those working in submarines

The Prince of Wales, 40, met with HMS Oardacious crew members. The campaign was founded in 2019 to provide mental health support to those working in submarines

William was also introduced to marine engineer Jon Norfolk and Lieutenant Callum Fraser, who joined Hugo in rowing the Atlantic four years ago. 

After being introduced to the group, William happily boarded the new boat to row along the lake.

However, the bashful royal joked that he might not be able to keep up with the professionals and may accidentally ‘slap oars’ with one of them.

Although Hugo assured William that the boat should remain upright at all times, William laughed: ‘If we capsize, we’re going well!’ 

Before stepping foot in the boat, William asked the team what they eat on their longer journeys at sea.

Looking back on his Atlantic trip, Hugo said: ‘We took 50 odd days’ worth [of food] – which means we could really tuck into the Haribos and Percy Pigs.’

This then promoted William to joke that the team’s snack supply had probably been demolished by ‘day two’.

Recently, the team raced against 42 other teams to cross the Atlantic – where they faced 40-foot waves and tropical storms.

Prince William speaks with Lieutenant Commander Hugo Mitchell-Heggs outside Eton College Rowing Club

Prince William speaks with Lieutenant Commander Hugo Mitchell-Heggs outside Eton College Rowing Club

Pictured: The Prince of Wales threw himself into the rowing but joked he might accidentally 'slap oars' with one of the professionals

Pictured: The Prince of Wales threw himself into the rowing but joked he might accidentally ‘slap oars’ with one of the professionals 

While rowing alongside them, William asked: ‘Was it the physical toll or the mental toll? What was the hardest thing for you guys to manage?’ 

Callum replied: ‘The physical toll tends to be one of those things where everything gets slightly harder each day.

‘But the thing we really have to work at is how we work together as a team and that mental challenge around it.’

Hugo then added: ‘[It’s] understanding each other’s vulnerabilities and showing empathy. 

‘That was how we got past the real psychological hurdles and just being really open with our emotions like that. I think that was something we were really good at.’

As a result of their various challenges, Hugo’s team have helped to raise over £600,000 for military charities and organisations that support veterans and their families.

Pictured: Lieutenant Callum Fraser (left), marine engineer Jon Norfolk (centre) and submariner Izzy Rawlinson (right)

Pictured: Lieutenant Callum Fraser (left), marine engineer Jon Norfolk (centre) and submariner Izzy Rawlinson (right)

Pictured: the new eco-friendly boat the team will be using to compete in competitions to raise money for military charities and organisations that support veterans and their families

Pictured: the new eco-friendly boat the team will be using to compete in competitions to raise money for military charities and organisations that support veterans and their families

Following their excursion on the late, the group returned to Eton College’s Rowing Centre – where William asked the rowers about how they mentally cope with the stresses of their jobs.

Hugo said: ‘We focus so much on our physical health but actually, acknowledging that psychological health is the same.

‘Everyone gets anxiety to various degrees. If you engage with it and have things in your back pocket to address those things one by one, you’re in a much better position to [show] your potential.’ 

Showing his understanding of their demanding occupations, William continued: ‘Submarine service, you have to have a certain mentality to do your job.

‘You’re in a metal tube for months on end. Lots of your life’s pleasures are away – you don’t have sunlight or fresh air.’

Hugo added: ‘You go from being a civilian to this whole new world where you’re working with ship mates and a whole new dynamic.’

Speaking from his own experience, the royal added: ‘Understanding our support networks is crucial because a lot of people don’t have those support networks.

‘I think in the military, we’re very good at forming close bonds and realising the only way we’re going to get through all this is by helping each other.’

On Friday, the Prince and Princess of Wales published a short trailer for a video marking Mental Health Awareness Week.

The short 15-second clip showed the merest glimpse of the Prince of Wales preparing to push off with mental health charity HMS Oardacious from a serene-looking riverbank with a four-man Royal Navy Submariners crew. 

The caption accompanying the cameo clip reads: ‘A special video for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek coming this Sunday’ accompanied by a pair of eyes and a boat emoji. 

HMS Oardacious’s Royal Navy Submariners row oceans to raise money for mental health charity projects. Posting shortly after, the charity wrote on Twitter: ‘Such an honour to be part of this. #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.’

In the video, the Prince is seen sat, wearing shades and blue rowing gear with his hands on the oars of the vessel.

Rowing royal: Prince William is seen in the short teaser clip in a four-man boat as he joined mental health charity HMS Oardacious for a trip on the river

Rowing royal: Prince William is seen in the short teaser clip in a four-man boat as he joined mental health charity HMS Oardacious for a trip on the river

The royal doesn’t speak, but a voice from a fellow crewmember can be heard saying: ‘Let go of the lines, push off when you’re ready.’

The clip opens with a calming river view, as the vessel is prepped for the outing, with ropes unfurled and oars dipped.

It’s the latest in a high-production clip shared by Kensington Palace; following the Coronation, the Prince and Princess of Wales released a stunning behind-the-scenes video of theme at the historic event.

The video, released by the Wales’s official YouTube account, showed William and Kate meeting crowds of royal fans on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace the evening before the coronation.

It also showed the family getting ready in their Kensington Palace apartment – number 1A – on the day. Prince William, 40, and Kate, 41, live with their children Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and Prince Louis, four, in the private home when staying in London.

The Prince and Princess of Wales have shown their commitment to mental health causes this week: Kate Middleton , 41, was beaming as she greeted royal fans at Anna Freud's London base on Thursday

The Prince and Princess of Wales have shown their commitment to mental health causes this week: Kate Middleton , 41, was beaming as she greeted royal fans at Anna Freud’s London base on Thursday

Mental Health Awareness Week began tomorrow, with the Prince and Princess of Wales annually showing their support for the awareness week.  

The Princess of Wales said she believes emotions should not be ‘over medicalised’, particularly among young people who tend to ‘latch onto labels of any sort’.

Yesterday, the Princess of Wales chatted to young people about their anxieties during a visit to the Anna Freud Centre last week.

Kate, 41, was beaming as she arrived at Anna Freud’s London base on Thursday, where she joined a series of roundtable discussions about the mental health challenges facing youngsters today.

She told officials: ‘In the caveman ages our worlds were quite small so we were able to deal with that fight or flight response…”

By comparison, she suggested that modern society and the effect of social media had a notable effect on mental health and wellbeing.

Instead she said children should be encouraged to learn mental health skills that will help them not just in school, but in all aspects of their lives.

Wearing a £3,000 green Suzannah teadress with Alessandra Rich two-tone heels and a pair of Accessorize earrings costing around £8, the Princess spent time at the centre with a group of secondary schoolchildren who have been taking part in interactive activities that explore how to deal with their own anxious feelings.

As she chatted about her work on mental health, she added: ‘The more you learn, the more you read, the more interesting a perspective you get… it’s great to keep up to date.’

She went on: ‘I’ve learnt a huge amount. And then you go down into fields of philosophy, as well as psychology and neuroscience.’

The Princess noted that there was “so much synergy” between conversations on all aspects of mental health and that no individual element could be considered alone.

She then joined a round table discussion involving sector experts who chatted about how to better support the mental health of future generations.

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