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Prince William has been urged by the Queen to stop flying helicopters with his family because she is ‘terrified’ that disaster could strike.
The 96-year-old monarch has had ‘several conversations’ with William, 39, asking him to ‘stop flying himself, particularly in bad weather’ amid fears an accident could threaten the line of succession.
The family (pictured together in 2017) have flown together, often with a pilot and crew but sometimes with William at the controls, since they asked for permission to do so after the birth of Prince George in 2013.
Unofficial rules usually prevent senior royals from flying together, but the regulations have been relaxed since William’s children were born, allowing for the young family to spend more time together.
William, Kate and their children – George, eight, Charlotte, six, and Louis, four, – split their time between Kensington Palace in London and Anmer Court in Norfolk, and regularly fly the 115 miles between the two homes.
William is second in line to the throne behind his father Charles, the Prince of Wales, while his son George is third in the order of succession.
A source close to the Queen told the Sun earlier this year: ‘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,’ the source added. ‘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.’
The family have flown together, often with a pilot and crew but sometimes with William at the controls, since they asked for permission to do so after the birth of Prince George in 2013.
The unofficial rules were relaxed further following the arrivals of Charlotte and Louis, allowing the family to fly together. At the time, a Palace official said: ‘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.’
Prince William is a competent pilot who has flown with the Royal Air Force, serving as search a rescue pilot at RAF Valley on Anglesey in North Wales, and the East Anglia Air Ambulance.
The family is now thought to be looking for a home in Windsor, to avoid the need for regular helicopter trips.