A bleary-eyed Prince William greets wellwishers outside the Royal Marsden Hospital on Thursday.
He did his best to hide it, but that was one sleep-deprived prince who showed up to open a children’s cancer centre this week in Surrey, England.
Prince William had been up for about 30 hours by the time he arrived at the Royal Marsden Hospital, having just completed a 24-hour shift at RAF Valley in Wales, where he was doing his non-royal job of flying helicopter rescue missions.
He began his workday at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and it wasn’t until well in the afternoon on Thursday that he would have even been able to catch 40 winks.
It turned into a busy day all around for William, not to mention his sidekick Kate, who looked considerably more rested than her husband during the visit to the hospital, which has been a favourite cause of the prince -- his mother Diana was its royal patron before her death in 1997.
During his night-day shift in Wales, he had a couple of mercy missions to complete. The first was rescuing a woman who suffered head injuries after a fall in the mountainous Snowdonia national park region. He was called out again in the middle of the night to pick up a sailor off a ship cruising near the Isle of Man so he could quickly get to a sick relative’s bedside.
William to Sandhurst in Berkshire before heading back to base, where a flight to London awaited him.
Change into a suit, pick up Kate, quick limo ride, and presto, the Prince emerges at the hospital.
"It was a bit of an early morning," he joked as he greeted staff.
The eyes were a little droppy, but otherwise the Prince managed to avoid nodding off during the visit.
"If the Duchess is sprightlier than William, then that's the reason," a royal spokesman told People magazine, talking about the long night.
The visit was only the second royal engagement for the couple since they returned from their Canadian tour.
One wonders if the Prince was unwise to attempt a formal occasion after putting in an all-nighter. However, his mother’s connection to the hospital and his responsibility as hospital president trumped a little shut-eye.
Besides, what's a sleepless night or two when you're under 30?