Queen urges Prince William to stop flying in helicopters with Kate & kids over safety fearsDecember 18, 2021
THE Queen has urged Prince William to stop flying in helicopters with wife Kate and their children amid safety fears.
Her Majesty is said to be “terrified” disaster could strike – threating the succession.
A source close to the 95-year-old monarch revealed she raised concerns with the future king, saying she is “terrified” disaster could strike.
An unwritten rule stops senior royals from flying together.
But the protocol has been relaxed as William’s family grew and began to split their time between London and Norfolk.
William, 39, is in line to take the throne after his father Charles, 73, serves as king, followed by his son Prince George, eight.
A change in the line of succession could elevate Prince Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, to the throne — after the pair quit royal duty for life in California.
The Queen had several conversations with William who has previously flown his family the 115 miles from Kensington Palace to their home at Anmer Hall, Norfolk.
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And it comes after a major probe was launched after two near-misses in one royal helicopter flight.
The Cambridges have released a family photo in Jordan for their Christmas card — and it is believed William and Kate flew there together with George, six-year-old Charlotte and Louis, three.
William is a confident and capable flier who served five years as an RAF search and rescue pilot and with the air ambulance.
But a source close to the Queen — who lost Prince Philip at age 99 in April — said: “Her Majesty has told close friends and courtiers that she would like William to stop flying himself, particularly in bad weather, as helicopters are not the safest form of transport.
“It keeps the Queen awake at night and she is understandably very worried.
“She knows William is a capable pilot but does not think it is worth the risk for all five of them to carry on flying together and can’t imagine what would happen. It would spark a constitutional crisis.
“The Queen has told William she is worried that, however good he is as a pilot, bad weather and accidents can strike at any time.
“The Queen is delighted in the way William and Kate have risen to the challenge in recent years and knows the monarchy is safe in their hands.
"She thinks the future is bright with them at the helm after Charles but if something happened to him and the family it doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Mobile phone footage shot in May shows Wills walking hand-in-hand with his three children and wife to a helicopter at Kensington Palace. They often fly together in a chopper crewed by a team and a pilot.
But William — who was loaned a Bell 429 GlobalRanger aircraft in April — is also known to get behind the controls when family members are on board.
The alert comes after a string of helicopter-related scares involving royals, with the Queen’s Sikorsky S-76 chopper suffering a fault in September and a planned flight that month cancelled due to bad weather.
Sophie Wessex also suffered a near-miss in 2017. Two years later, the Duchess of Cornwall endured two serious incidents in one flight on the Queen’s chopper.
She knows William is a very confident and capable pilot but does not think it is worth the risk for all five of them to carry on flying together and can’t imagine what would happen. It would spark a constitutional crisis.
It was first forced to veer off course as it was within 200ft of an aircraft carrying parachutists which took off from an airfield at Chatteris, Cambs. And it later had to avoid a glider near the Duchess’s home at Highgrove, Gloucs.
The Civil Aviation Authority launched a review of safety rules governing royal air travel.
UK air safety board Airprox concluded that regulations governing separation zones around royal flights “introduced more ambiguity and complexity than clarity”.
The Royal Family spent £2.1million on helicopter trips last year. Most were for official engagements, while Kate and Wills shared a chopper during their week-long tour of Scotland in May.
Prince Charles is next in line to the throne followed by William, his children, then Harry and his offspring — with scandal-hit Prince Andrew at number nine.
A change in the line of succession could see Harry replace his dad Charles as king. Meghan would become queen and succession would then pass to their children Archie, two, and six-month-old Lilibet.
That would cause a constitutional conundrum after the Sussexes quit royal duty to live in California.
Technically, William should never be on the same flight as his father or his children.
But in 2014, following the birth of George the previous year, William and Kate asked the Queen for permission to all fly together for their tour of Australia.
A Palace official said at the time: “While there is no official rule on this, and royal heirs have travelled together in the past, it is something the Queen has the final say on.”
It is understood the protocol has been relaxed further since the births of Charlotte and Louis.
Will’s lifelong love of flying
PRINCE William’s lifelong love of flying choppers was sparked when he flew with his father as a boy.
Just last week, the duke revealed he kept a photo of the trip on his wall and “adored” being airborne with Prince Charles, who is also a pilot.
Wills, 39, trained as an RAF search and rescue pilot and served for three years in Anglesey, taking part in 156 operations and saving 149 people.
He also flew for the East Anglia Air Ambulance for two years and has admitted harbouring hopes of a return.
Wills was loaned a £5.4million chopper in April so that he could keep his flying hours up for his pilot’s licence.
Describing being a pilot, he said: “The moment I started the helicopter training, I realised that it was better than anything.
“It was one of those things that I just instantly took to and thought, ‘This is really cool’. I really enjoy it.”
Kate and Wills are rumoured to be looking for a home in Windsor to be nearer the Queen and schools for the children — therefore avoiding the need to fly by helicopter.
William qualified as a pilot when he graduated from his RAF training course in Wales in 2010.
He made daring rescues in Sea King helicopters before qualifying as a captain in 2012. He was also a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance between 2015 and 2017.
In 2011, Kate revealed in a chat to partners of service personnel that she “worried” every time he flew.
The Queen celebrates 70 years on the throne next year and is on “light duties” after a health scare.
She is set to take a helicopter to Sandringham this month for her Christmas break.
A spokesman said: “We do not comment on private conversations.”
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