Reflecting on a 2013 fundraising gala for the homeless charity Centrepoint, the Duke of Sussex said he “still does not know what came over [him]” when he joined US singer Taylor Swift to sing on stage with Jon Bon Jovi. While the event still makes him cringe, he said it is “OK to make a fool of yourself” from time to time.
The royal opened up about the experience in his Christmas episode of the Apple Fitness+ Time to Walk podcast series, noting: “I can’t believe I’m actually telling you this story.”
After arriving at the event, he said he was “nearly knocked off [his] feet” because Swift and Bon Jovi were there.
But despite being struck by the two stars, singing was very much not on the cards.
Prince William said: “I went inside, met everybody, a lot of handshaking to do those nights, a lot of chatting. I try and be charming and interactive.
“Occasionally, you’re not having a good day, and it’s a little harder to come by.
“When I sat down to watch Jon Bon Jovi do his performance, I thought: ‘That’s it. My job is done. I’ll get a dinner in a minute, and I might be able to have a chat to some people, and, you know, I’m off-duty a little bit now.’”
Swift, who was sat to the Prince’s left, had other ideas.
He added: “Little did I think what was going to happen next.”
The Duke explained how Swift turned to him after just the first song and made her intention clear.
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He said: “To this day, I still do not know what came over me. Honestly, even now I’m cringing at what happened next, and I don’t understand why I gave in.
“But, frankly, if Taylor Swift looks you in the eye, touches your arm and says, ‘Come with me…’
“I got up like a puppy and went, ‘Yeah, OK, that seems like a great idea. I’ll follow you.’”
The Prince walked up “in a trance” and after just a few words, he “woke up”.
He admitted he barely knew the words, but upon realising that those attending the gala were “all loving it and cheering away”, decided that he wasn’t going to ruin anybody’s night by walking off the stage.
He said: “At times, when you’re taken out of your comfort zone, you’ve got to roll with it. And I think we’ve got to the stage in this life where we do micromanage ourselves.
“We do worry about: how do we look on social media? Who said what about me? What am I wearing?
“There’s so many pressures, but I think that making a fool of yourself is OK.
“It’s OK to not take yourself too seriously and have those moments where you let go and you just go, ‘Do you know what? I’m OK with this.’”
In the podcast episode, Prince William also discussed how his two younger children, Princess Charlotte, six, and Prince Louis, three, enjoy dancing “around the kitchen” to a song by Shakira.
He also described more upsetting moments of his life, including an experience which left him confronted with the mortality of his eldest son, Prince George.
Find out how you can listen to the podcast episode here.