Prince William spent his second day in New York City at the Ten House fire station.
Located just a two-minute walk away from where the World Trade Center once stood, the fire station played a critical role in responding to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Multiple station members died as a result of the tragedy, which severely damaged the building itself. The station has since been restored.
Upon his arrival on Tuesday, September 19, William, 41, was greeted by firefighters and an excited crowd of onlookers who cheered as he entered the building. He shook hands and spoke with the first responders about their experiences in the field before getting a tour of the fire station. William later sat down for a round table discussion about mental health, a cause that is close to his heart.
“It was apparent that he understood the topic,” Lt. Drew Kane, a firehouse member and social worker, told People. “You could just tell in his presence that he knew what he was talking about with firsthand experience.”
William, for his part, previously served as an air ambulance helicopter pilot and an RAF Search and Rescue pilot. In a 2021 episode of Apple Fitness+’s Time to Walk series, William opened up about his experiences in the military. “I felt like the whole world was dying,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary feeling. You just feel everyone’s in pain, everyone’s suffering. And that’s not me. I’ve never felt that before.”
Before he left the station on Tuesday, members gifted William with rubber fire trucks, pens, notebooks and T-shirts for his three young children — Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 — whom he shares with wife Princess Kate.
William subsequently greeted the fans standing behind metal barricades outside the station. He shook hands and chatted with the delighted crowd. When asked whether he would ever bring his children to New York, William smiled and replied, “One day I’d love to.”
Another onlooker, Alyssa Budihas gave William three “I Love NY” T-shirts for his kids. “I was just so overwhelmed in the moment I think I thanked him for coming to visit us and I told him that I had brought some ‘I Love New York’ shirts for the children and he thanked me and handed them off to his chief of staff,” she told Hola! USA of the interaction.
William recapped his visit via X on Tuesday night, writing, “An honour to meet with first responders at FDNY 10 House. A job which requires bravery and heroism of the highest order, to members of the @FDNY – and the families, loved ones and friends who support you – thank you for all you do.”
Earlier in the day, the future king of England attended the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit, where he announced the 15 finalists for this year’s awards. The Earthshot Prize was founded by William in 2020 to award leaders, innovators and activists who are tackling the problem of climate change. The 2023 winners will be announced during an awards ceremony in Singapore on November 7.
In an interview during the Summit, William reflected, “There are people out there doing incredible things that will have a massive impact on our futures.”