The Princess of Wales was taken by surprise when a lifejacket she was wearing suddenly inflated during a visit to a Royal Navy air base.
The Princess, who is Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm, tried on the lifejacket during an exercise with rescue and survival equipment at the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset.
She burst into a fit of laughter when she pulled the cord, causing the lifejacket to quickly inflate.
‘She was a bit apprehensive to pull it’
Louise Evans-Hughes, a leading survival equipment technician, said she knew exactly what was going to happen the moment the lifejacket inflated.
Speaking afterwards, she said: “I told the Princess there might be a bit of a bang because sometimes when the Velcro rips open there is a bit of a noise.
“I think that was why she was a bit apprehensive to pull it. As soon as she pulled it, it inflated.
“I gave the Princess the option whether she wanted to put it on or whether one of my colleagues would put it on.
“I didn’t know if she would or not, but it was really nice that she got hands-on and got really engaged in what we do and making the kit work.”
Describing the Princess’s reaction to the lifejacket inflating, she said: “I see it a lot when we train the air crew pilots so it’s something that I see all the time so I knew what was going to happen and it was quite nice to watch her face.
“I think afterwards she said it was quite snug and didn’t realise how big it was going to go and I quickly let some air out so she wouldn’t be uncomfortable.”
During the visit the Princess spent time in the air traffic control tower and spoke over the radio with the crew of a Wildcat helicopter as it came in to land.
She also heard the roar of an F-35B Lightning from RAF Marham as it “buzzed” the control tower.