Prince William knows what it’s like to live on a prayer.
The Duke of Cambridge recently relived a cringeworthy moment that occurred a few years ago, when Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift got the royal a bit out of his comfort zone during a fundraising event at Kensington Palace in 2013.
William revealed the anecdote for an episode of Apple Fitness+ series “Time to Walk,” which was released on Monday. Apple is donating to three mental health charities ― the U.S.-based Crisis Text Line, Shout 85258 in the U.K., and Lifeline in Australia ― on behalf of the duke.
During the walk, he told a story that he couldn’t believe he was retelling, as the story leaves him “cringing.”
The royal said that during events like the one at the palace back in 2013, he tries to “be charming and interactive” with guests. But normally, he can relax a little bit when the handshaking is over and the performing begins, as he switches to off-duty. Though on this particular night, the royal was sitting next to Swift, while the group watched Bon Jovi perform.
“Little did I think what was going to happen next. I’m sat next to Taylor Swift. She’s on my left. And after Jon does his first song, there’s a pause, and she turns to me,” the royal said. “She puts her hand on my arm, looks me in the eye and says, ‘Come on, William. Let’s go and sing.’”
The prince said that “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 added that “if Taylor Swift looks you in the eye, touches your arm and says, ’Come with me,′ you basically do what she says.”
“I got up like a puppy and went, ‘Yeah, OK, that seems like a great idea ― I’ll follow you,’” William said.
“I walked up on stage in a trance, and then sort of halfway through Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ song, I wake up,” he said. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Am I standing on the stage singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” when I don’t even know the words?’”
Luckily, the audience’s cheers helped him get through the experience.
“I thought, ‘Well, if they’re enjoying it, then the night is for them. So sod it. I can’t be the doofus who’s going to ruin it for everyone,’” he quipped. The royal said that he “was trying to keep myself composed on the outside,” but on the inside, there was a lot of sweating.
“A lot of people might think that I’m comfortable onstage. When I do speeches and things like that, I’ve done so many now, they’re not a problem,” the royal said. “But I’ve not done singing.”
Swift recounted a different version of the tale when she appeared on “The Graham Norton Show” in 2014.
“I was very nervous for the whole thing because it was at Kensington Palace and it was my first royal encounter of sorts,” Swift said. “Jon Bon Jovi was on stage and he was about to sing ‘Living on a Prayer’ and he kinda pointed to Prince William and said something like, ‘I hear you like to do this at karaoke night, karaoke boy.’”
“He starts the song and Prince William looks over at me and says, ‘I don’t remember it now. It’s all gone now. I don’t remember the song now,’” Swift said, adding that the royal was “kinda freaking out a little bit.”
“He just looks at me and is like, ‘You gotta go with me, you gotta go with me’ and I was like, ‘All right,‘” she said. “And we got up there and started singing ‘Living on a Prayer.’ Like, I died.”
Kensington Palace karaoke aside, William also spoke about songs that are meaningful to him during his “Time to Walk” episode.
He named three songs that remind of his mother, the late Princess Diana, mornings with his children, and a personal favorite that gets him started for the week: AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”
“I have to say the first time I put it on, and I’ve heard it a million times now, I was kind of like, ‘Well, this is quite heavy for a Monday morning,’” the royal said of the song that helps him start his “grind.”
“But now when I listen to it, it’s the best tonic for a Monday morning,” he said, explaining that the tune not only “absolutely wakes you up,” but it also makes “you feel like you can take on anything and anyone,” he said.
“I’d imagine you’re going to walk quite fast listening to it, maybe with a skip in your step, with the head-banging. It’s a difficult song not to dance to or to nod along to.”
To hear more of William’s walk, visit Apple Fitness+.
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