Last week, there was a strange story about how Queen Elizabeth was very worried about Prince William’s use of private helicopters, like the private helicopter she gave him as a bribe to do more work. William and Kate have a dedicated private helicopter which they use constantly, sometimes to go to work events but mostly to gallivant around the country for non-work-related activities. William and Kate are far from the only royals to act this way – Prince Charles travels almost exclusively by private jet and helicopter, and the Queen frequently travels by helicopter too. But there’s more history and backstory with the Queen’s alleged “concerns” about royals using helicopters apparently. From Eden Confidential:
When it was disclosed last week that the Queen was having ‘sleepless nights’ over Prince William flying his wife and their children around in a helicopter, there was bemusement as to why she had become so worried. Now, however, a source close to the monarch has revealed the secret reason for her fear: she’s still haunted by a helicopter accident that killed the Captain of the Queen’s Flight and three others.
‘It put her off completely,’ the source tells me. ‘That’s why she’s so worried about William and his family.’
The source says the Queen, who is at Windsor Castle, will be ‘having words’ with the Duke of Cambridge when he returns from Norfolk, where he’s spending Christmas with Catherine and their three children.
It was in December 1967 that the Captain of the Queen’s Flight, Air Commodore John Blount, was killed when he was flying in a Westland Whirlwind that crashed near Newbury, Berkshire. Three other members of the Flight were killed. An inquest blamed metal fatigue in the gearbox. No royal was on board but Prince Philip had recently been flying the same aircraft. The Queen was so upset that she refused to contemplate rotary air travel altogether.
As a result, she did not set foot in a helicopter until, finally, she had no choice. During her 1977 Silver Jubilee, as my colleague Robert Hardman revealed in his book Our Queen, she was determined to visit all parts of her kingdom. Her ministers told her that if she wanted to visit Northern Ireland, the only safe way was in a chopper. She obliged, but with a heavy heart. And to this day, she dislikes them, especially in winter, and will not board one after dark.
The last time the Queen left Windsor, she traveled to Norfolk… by helicopter. That was in November. In October, she was hospitalized before she could travel – by helicopter – to Northern Ireland. While she might have had qualms about helicopters at some point in her life, she’s clearly gotten over it. I actually think all of this talk about the Queen’s concerns about William specifically might be something else. I wonder what preceded it? I feel like there was probably a close call with William recently, don’t you? Something was covered up. Maybe a technical malfunction in the air, or maybe William thought he could pilot the chopper and… he f–ked up, something like that. I wonder.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.