He sat, wearing an expensive jumper, at an antique desk, adorned with photos of him, his wife and brother, and even a snap of his dog, Lupo. Floral cushions lie on comfortable cream sofas.
She perched at the polished stone bench of her light-filled kitchen, cabinets finished in dark-grey stained oak, surrounded by sleek metallic appliances, wearing a floral print blouse.
From Kensington Palace and Malibu, California, they chatted via their laptops like old friends – a completely unexpected FaceTime call between William and Lady Gaga, the prince and the pop star, talking openly about their mental health issues.
Their conversation came just a day after Prince Harry revealed he sought counselling to help deal with the emotional turmoil he experienced following his mother’s death.
Harry said his older brother played a crucial role in him seeking help.
The two princes and William’s wife Kate have actively spearheaded the Heads Together campaign to promote awareness about mental health and eliminate the embarrassment many people feel when talking about the issue.
William was inspired to get Lady Gaga involved in the campaign after reading an open letter she wrote in 2016, revealing her struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder after being sexually assaulted at age 19.
Lady Gaga touched on the shame surrounding the condition and the fact that it can affect anyone, regardless of who they are and what their good fortune is.
“In my life I go, ‘Oh my goodness, look at all these beautiful, wonderful things that I have, I should be so happy,’” she told William.
“But you can’t help it if in the morning when you wake up you are so tired, you are so sad, you are so full of anxiety and the shakes that you can barely think.
“There’s a lot of shame attached to mental illness. You feel like something’s wrong with you,” Lady Gaga told William during the video call, which was posted on the royal family’s Facebook page.
“Even though it was hard, it was the best thing that could come out of my mental illness — was to share it with other people,” she said.
William agreed more people should be encouraged to seek help and not suffer in silence.
“It’s really important to have this conversation,” he said. “You won’t be judged. It’s so important to break open that fear and that taboo which is only going to lead to more problems down the line.”
William, who has admitted to his own difficulties in coping with his mother’s death, agreed that an open dialogue is crucial for anyone.
“It’s time that everyone speaks up and feels very normal about mental health,” he said. “It’s the same as physical health.”
The two ended the call by making plans to meet when Lady Gaga visits Britain in October.
In an interview with CALMzine, published by the British organisation CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably, a partner of Heads Together), William vowed the next generation of royals will be open and honest about their emotions.
“There may be a time and a place for the ‘stiff upper lip,’ but not at the expense of your health,” he said.
“Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings.
“Over the past year we have visited a number of schools together where we have been amazed listening to children talk about some quite difficult subjects in a really clear and emotionally articulate way – something most adults would struggle with.”
This is a sharp departure from the family’s legendary aversion to showing emotion, for which his grandmother may be the best example.
William doesn’t mention her or his own upbringing, but continues: “For too long there has been a taboo about talking about some important issues.
“If you were anxious, it’s because you were weak. If you couldn’t cope with whatever life threw at you, it’s because you were failing.
“Successful, strong people don’t suffer like that, do they? But of course, we all do. It’s just that few of us speak about it.”