Maybe royals like making radio because it means that you can’t see their faces. Prince William, for instance, has been photographed a lot, ever since he was born, but his voice isn’t quite as familiar as his face. Is it a chance for us to see them afresh?
The Royal family have been enjoying the wireless over the past few years. Prince Charles has made interview appearances discussing music and the arts on Classic FM and Radio 3, and earlier this year gave an interview about gardening and nature to Simon Armitage for his Radio 4 series, The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed. The Duchess of Cornwall hosted Emma Barnett at home for a morning on Radio 5 Live last year, and, at the beginning of 2021, the Queen sent in a goodwill message to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4. Prince William is, as in so many things, carrying on the family tradition.
Except that, this time, he hasn’t trodden the safe realms of BBC radio and Classic FM. His radio excursion, a 38-minute audio ramble and conversation called Time to Walk, is an Apple initiative, available internationally on the digital radio station Apple Music 1 and on demand via Apple’s Fitness+ subscription. It’s easiest to listen to if you have an Apple Watch; otherwise, hope for repeats on Apple Music.
There is a sense of global positioning here. William was not just talking to Britain, but to the world; there is an American feel to the peppy introduction, and the broadcast is available in 165 countries. Time to Walk is a series, in its second season, in which celebrities lead listeners on a walk around somewhere they know, discussing the health benefits of walking among reflections from their own lives, as well as picking a few of their favourite songs. You’re supposed to get your walking shoes and headphones on and listen while you, yourself, go for a 40-minute ramble. Previous walk leaders have included Dolly Parton and Anthony Joshua.
There’s an intimacy and companionship to the experience, which has no host or interviewer. Prince William seemed to like this. “It feels like I’ve been on a walk with a best mate, or my wife,” he said at the end, which is perhaps a slightly surprising thing for someone to say after they’ve been talking about themselves for the best part of 40 minutes.