CNN's Max Foster had been chasing the interview with William for two years
Foster says William was tired, elated and grappling with becoming a father
Foster says interview at Kensington Palace was relaxed, informal
Foster: Prince William could be any new dad, doing things his own way
“What is Prince William like?” It’s a question I often get asked, and in this interview I think people will, for the first time, get a real sense of his character.
I would love to say it was purely down to me, but it probably has more to do with the moment. William was less than two weeks into parenthood when I spoke to him. He was tired, elated and still grappling with how he’d changed since becoming a father.
I could sense how he had been consumed by his new way of life – I’ve been there myself and other fathers will pick up on it too. He may be a prince but he’s doing it the old-fashioned (non-royal) way.
He and his wife are the ones getting up at night and changing the nappies/diapers. William was the one who, outside the hospital, fixed his son’s car seat in, then drove home for the first time with his new family. He’s a royal duke and he has people who can do all these things for him, but he’s doing it himself.
As a result, this heir to the throne has been given a rare insight into what it’s like to be ordinary, and we’re able to connect with him.
I met William at Kensington Palace. I had been chasing an interview with him for more than two years, so I wasn’t there by chance, but in the end it all felt quite informal and relaxed. It was almost as if we had bumped into each other as we both walked into a room at the same time. We started chatting, he was on great form and I knew immediately that he was going to give a great interview.
The plan was to discuss African conservation and specifically a new award scheme organized by one of his charities, the Tusk Trust. Inevitably we ended up chatting about fatherhood as well. The conversation continued as we walked out of the main building, past the small cottage he’s currently occupying with his family and into their walled garden where the interview would take place.
The duke only had his press secretary with him and neither of them raised any notable questions or concerns. In fact before I knew it, the cameras were rolling and the interview was under way. I had decided not to rely on notes and just have a conversation. It worked. William was very comfortable and revealing about his conservation work, and I can’t wait for people to see the full version of the interview in next month’s special.
The subject of Prince George came up several times during the discussion about conservation, and his father was happy to talk about his son in his own right too. I was struck by how he had what felt like a particularly tight family unit. It was the way he said: “For me, Catherine, and now little George are my priorities … and Lupo (the dog).”
I also thought it was interesting that he isn’t sending out a message about modern monarchy in the way that he’s handling things, he’s just doing it his own way, being himself. It could be any new dad, and that’s what I like about the interview.
His honesty even stretched to admitting he’s looking forward to going back to work … something other new dads will relate to, but perhaps won’t admit quite as easily. There’s more next month when we air what’s set to be a stunning documentary.