Prince Harry Was “Terrified” By King Charles Piloting a Helicopter

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Jan 23, 2024

Prince Harry shares a childhood memory riddled with turbulence: a helicopter flight with his father, King Charles, at the helm that left him “terrified.” At the Living Legends of Aviation Awards on Friday, the Daily Mail reports that Harry joked about a vivid childhood memory.

The event’s host, John Travolta, asked Harry about his first flight experience, and it was more memorable than most.

Prince Harry Jokes About His Father’s Pilot Abilities

The Duke of Sussex joked with the crowd of the 21st annual awards about his experience, saying, “I think I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, Wessex Helicopter, and I jumped into it very excited. And then my father jumped in behind the controls, and I was terrified.”

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Prince Harry laugh during the Invictus Games Opening Ceremony on September 10, 2014 in London, England. The International sports event for 'wounded warriors', presented by Jaguar Land Rover.

Source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince Harry’s joke was captured by a fan and shared to X, formerly known as Twitter.

Prince Harry Is Honored With the Living Legends of Aviation Award

The Living Legends of Aviation soared to new heights this year, inducting Prince Harry alongside three other esteemed figures. In attendance were William Shatner, Kenny G, Kurt Russel, and more. The 25-year-old organization honors “those who have made significant contributions to aviation/aerospace.”

United Kingdom’s Prince Harry speaks during the opening ceremonies of the the2017 Invictus Games

Source: Defence/Picryl

This was one of many awards Prince Harry has earned for his achievements in aviation, even earning a medal of achievement from his father.

How Long Has Prince Harry Been Flying?

The Duke of Sussex served as a helicopter pilot during his decade in the British Army. He flew training missions in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. The Duke also flew in combat missions in Afghanistan.

Prince Harry visits troops participating in the "Spring Storm" NATO military exercises on May 17, 2014 near Kanepi, Estonia. Prince Harry is on a two-day visit to Estonia.

Source: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Prince Harry’s dedication paid off in 2010 when he graduated from the Army Aviation Centre’s rigorous eight-month Pilot Course, securing his Flying Wings. Prince William also earned his flying wings in 2008.

King Charles Has Been a Life-Long Pilot

According to his royal biography, King Charles began pilot training at Royal Air Force (RAF) Cranwell in March 1971. His Majesty had years of experience in flying, taking lessons while studying at Cambridge, and flew himself to the RAF.

Prince William, Prince of Wales, King Charles III, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Anne, Princess Royal and Sir Timothy Laurence walk behind the coffin during the procession for the Lying-in State of Queen Elizabeth II on September 14, 2022 in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II's coffin is taken in procession on a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where she will lay in state until the early morning of her funeral. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.

Source: Jeff J Mitchell - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The then-Prince of Wales qualified as a helicopter pilot in 1974, and joined the 845 Naval Air Squadron, a few years before he married Princess Diana.

What Is the Living Legends of Aviation Award? 

Celebrating the heroes of the skies, the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy orchestrates the prestigious Living Legends of Aviation Awards. The nonprofit works to spark children’s interest in aviation through education. Lauren Sánchez, the American media personality and news anchor, received the Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award.

The seal of Living Legends of Aviation

Source: Living Legends of Aviation

Alongside Prince Harry, the ranks of aviation royalty welcomed three more esteemed figures: Steve Hinton, Fred George, and Marc Parent.


Who Is Steve Hinton?

From 1979 to 1989, Steve Hinton, a daring American pilot, etched his name in history by claiming the world speed record. He won six Unlimited-class air races, including two national championships.

Steve Hinton in front of a plane

Source: Museum of Aviation

While Hinton retired from racing in 1990, he worked as a stunt person in Hollywood, receiving nominations from the World Stunt Awards for the Taurus Award for Best Aerial Work in “Pearl Harbor.”


Who Is Fred George?

Beyond his impressive piloting expertise, Navy pilot Fred George is a renowned aviation journalist. He is well known for captivating readers with his insightful articles in FLYING Magazine. According to AV Web, George has more than 7,000 flight hours logged for flying almost 200 aircraft.

Fred George accepting an award

Souce: Gulfstream

With numerous awards for his articles written about aviation, George is a reputable source for those who love to fly and learn about the world of aviation.


Who Is Marc Parent? 

Marc Parent has been a major player in the aerospace industry in Canada throughout his 40-year career. Since earning his private pilot’s license at 17 years old before his driver’s permit, Parent has worked with jets as an engineer for decades.

CAE’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Marc Parent, received the Living Legends of Aviation's highest award, the Industry Leader of the Year Award. Marc Parent (left), is presented with the award by Pete Bunce, President and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association (GAMA).

Source: 2022 Living Legends of Aviation

“For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about aviation and driven by the desire to make the world safer. I feel humbled to be joining the ranks of some of the most iconic figures of this industry,” Marc Parent said in a statement.


Where Was Meghan Markle?

The Duchess of Wales Meghan Markle was not in attendance for her husband’s induction into the Living Legends of Aviation. According to Hello, Markle stayed home with one of their children who “became unwell.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry walking together. Meghan is wearing a brown hat and light brown coat and Harry is wearing a gray jacket and blue tie.

Source: Mark Jones/Wikimedia Commons

Harry attended the event solo as major health concerns plague the members of the U.K. but the Royal Family.


King Charles Is Seeking Treatment for His “Enlarged Prostate” 

Last Wednesday, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles would be seeking treatment for an enlarged prostate. Hoping to break down barriers and encourage early detection, the King shared his diagnosis on social media, urging men to take their health seriously.

King Charles III standing in front of a crowd of people

Source: CC BY-NC-SA

A Royal Source tells People Magazine that the King will be returning to his duties after recovering from his treatment and fulfilling his constitutional requirements without fail.


Kate Middleton Also Went Into Surgery 

Also last Wednesday, Kensington Palace announced that Kate Middleton had “planned abdominal surgery” at the London Clinic the day before. A source tells People Magazine that the Princess of Wales is “doing well” after the surgery.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge hears from families and key organisations about the ways in which peer support can help boost parent wellbeing while spending the day learning about the importance of parent-powered initiatives, in Battersea Park on September 22, 2020 in London, England.

Source: Jack Hill - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William left the London Clinic last week, where Princess Kate is recovering from a 10-to-14-day hospital stay.