The Duke of Sussex Prince Harry in Austin, Texas
Prince Harry, seen here at the tracks ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix, shared his memory of King Charles III manning the Wessex Helicopter during his appearance at the "21st Living Legends of Aviation" ceremony on Jan. 19, 2024. Photo: Formula 1/X Formula 1/X

Prince Harry joked about King Charles III as he attended last Friday's "21st Living Legends of Aviation" ceremony in Beverly Hills, following news on his father's scheduled surgery for an enlarged prostate.

The Duke of Sussex recalled a fond memory he had as a child with his father when quizzed by the event's host, actor John Travolta, about his first flight experience. He asked: "What can you remember about your first flight?"

Standing up from his seat, the 39-year-old royal at first jokingly replied, "It's classified," much to the delight of the audience. Then he talked about the time when he first rode the Wessex Helicopter with his father and said: "I think I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, Wessex Helicopter, and I jumped into it very excited."

Prince Harry then joked: "And then my father jumped in behind the controls, and I was terrified." Footage shared on X showed how the audience laughed and clapped at his joke.

He also poked fun at Travolta's time spent with Princess Diana, saying that he was only one year old when the actor danced with his mother. The "Grease" star met Princess Diana at the White House in 1985 and was famously pictured sharing a moment with her on the dance floor.

All jokes aside, the Duke of Sussex delivered an inspirational speech after he was inducted as a "Living Legend of Aviation". He began his speech with a heartfelt thank you for the "incredible honour" and congratulated his fellow honorees, adding that he is "proud to be recognised among such a dynamic and inspiring group of individuals".

He continued: "And while this award recognises the achievements of individuals, it is important to remember that aviation only advances by celebrating each and every person, from design and factory to mechanics and safety stuff. All these individuals are the true 'Living Legends of Aviation' in my book because without them, we'd never leave the ground."

The Duke of Sussex, in his speech, also shared that flying for him "has been a transcendent experience. A close encounter with magic, an invitation to both protect freedom and to feel free". He called it "an opportunity to ground oneself, without actually being grounded". He considered his three years of flight training "to be one of life's greatest lessons" which "triggered a vast array of feelings".

Prince Harry attended the "21st Living Legends of Aviation" ceremony after Kensington Palace announced on Tuesday that Kate Middleton had an abdominal surgery and will remain at The London Clinic to recover. Then on Wednesday, Buckingham Palace announced that the monarch is due for a "corrective procedure" this week to treat an enlarged prostate, a condition common among men.

On Monday, King Charles III was photographed looking downcast while driving his electric Audi near Sandringham, where he has been staying since the weekend as he prepares for surgery. He reportedly flew back to his Norfolk estate from Scotland with Queen Camilla last Friday, where he was also pictured looking pensive as he sat in the backseat.

Buckingham Palace announced His Majesty's prostate diagnosis because he is keen to raise awareness about his condition. Despite concerns about his health, Queen Camilla assured during a visit to the Aberdeen Art Gallery in Aberdeen, Scotland last Thursday that he is doing well.

When asked about the monarch upon her arrival, she replied: "He's fine, thank you very much. Looking forward to getting back to work."

It is understood that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were already informed of King Charles III's prostate diagnosis and of Kate Middleton's surgery. They have sent their well-wishes respectively to the monarch and to the Princess of Wales.