Prince William is opening up about the night nearly a decade ago he sang and danced with Taylor Swift and Jon Bon Jovi, and what the experience taught him about not taking himself too seriously.
William recalled that while watching Bon Jovi perform at a fundraising gala in 2013 for Centrepoint, a U.K. homeless charity, Swift put her hand on his arm and said to him, "Come on William, let's go and sing."
With that invitation, William said he got up on stage and sang and danced to Bon Jovi's hit song "Livin' On a Prayer."
"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," he said. "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.'"
William said that while he felt like he was "in a trance" and couldn't remember the song lyrics, the crowd loved it, which kept him going.
"Beneath my black tie, there was a lot of sweating going on. I felt like a swan, where I was trying to keep myself composed on the outside, but inside, the little legs are paddling fast," he said, adding that the experience taught him, "At times, when you're taken out of your comfort zone, you've got to roll with it."
"I think we've gotten 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?'" William continued. "There's so many pressures, but I think making a fool of yourself is OK."
William recalled the experience while leading a guided audio walk on a special Christmas episode of Apple Fitness+'s "Time to Walk," an audio fitness experience in which a guest host walks listeners through a location that is meaningful to them.
While walking through the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, where he and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their three children have a country home, William spoke about how his family has a love for music.
He said one song in particular, Tina Turner's "The Best," brings back fond memories of his mother, the late Princess Diana, who died following a car crash in Paris in 1997, when William was just 15 and his younger brother, Prince Harry, was 12.
"When I was younger, Harry and I, we were at boarding school. And my mother used to play all sorts of songs to kind of while away the anxiety of going back to school," said William. "And one of the songs I massively remember and has stuck with me all this time, and I still, to this day, still quite enjoy secretly, is Tina Turner's 'The Best,' because sitting in the backseat, singing away, it felt like a real family moment. And my mother, she’d be driving along, singing at the top of her voice. And we'd even get the policeman in the car, he'd be occasionally singing along, as well."
"And when I listen to it now, it takes me back to those car rides and brings back lots of memories of my mother," he said.
William said his children, Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3, have inherited his "family's love for music." He described a typical morning scene of George and Charlotte fighting over what song is played, but said the current family favorite is "Waka Waka" by Shakira.
"There’s a lot of hip movements going along. There's a lot of dressing up," explained William. "Charlotte, particularly, is running around the kitchen in her dresses and ballet stuff and everything. She goes completely crazy with Louis following her around trying to do the same thing."
"It's a really happy moment where the children just enjoy dancing, messing around and singing," he said.
William used his episode of "Time to Walk" to draw attention to the importance of mental health and using physical activity as a coping tool.
The prince, who has made breaking the stigma of mental health a focus of his work, spoke about how talking with other people helped him get through mental health struggles he faced as an air ambulance pilot early in his career.
He also spoke about his conversations more recently with front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic, and the importance of mental fitness in addition to physical fitness.
"There are a number of ways that you can be affected by your circumstances, your environment, your upbringing," said William. "Being through difficult childhoods, broken families, traumatic experiences, whatever they might be, they massively have an impact in later life."
"And we all need to go through a process of understanding why rather than just give in to those feelings and say, 'Listen, it's me. I'm the problem,'" he said. "It's not. It really isn't you. And you're not alone, and it's OK. It's about what you do next. It's about having that boldness and that openness and that strength to go, 'It's going to be a long journey. It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to get there.'"
Apple will stream three special audio airings of Prince William's "Time to Walk" episode for free on Apple Music 1 on Monday, Dec. 6.