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Prince William of Wales

Prince William of Wales (William Arthur Philip Louis; born 21 June 1982), KG, is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As such, he is second in the line of succession to the thrones of 16 independent states, although he is resident in, and most directly involved with, the United Kingdom, the oldest of these realms.

Following his education at various schools around the United Kingdom, obtaining a degree from the University of St Andrews, and spending parts of a gap year in Chile, Belize, and countries in Africa, William enrolled in the military. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry – serving with his brother – and,[1] two years later, earned his wings by completing pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell.[2] In 2009, the Prince transferred to the Royal Air Force, was promoted to flight lieutenant and underwent helicopter flying training with the aim of becoming a full time pilot with the Search and Rescue Force.[3][4] As of 2010, he has completed his generic helicopter training and is now at RAF Valley's Search and Rescue Training Unit receiving training on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter.


Early life

Prince William was born at St Mary's Hospital in London, England, on 21 June 1982, the first child of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and third grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. According to a bet taker at a horse race at Windsor Castle in 2004, "We ran a bet before Prince William was born on what his name would be. About an hour before the announcement, a very large bet came in for 'William', and I've suspected that the wager came from the palace since."[5] Baptised in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 4 August 1982 (the 82nd birthday of his paternal great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother), by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, William's godparents were King Constantine II of Greece; Sir Laurens van der Post; Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy; Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster; Norton Knatchbull, Baron Brabourne; and Susan Hussey, Baroness Hussey of North Bradley. As a male-line grandchild of the sovereign and son of the Prince of Wales, William was styled His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales, though he was affectionately called Wombat or Wills by his parents.[citation needed]

It was reported that, at age seven, the Prince said to his mother that he desired to be a police officer when he was older, so that he might be able to protect her; a statement to which his brother responded: "Oh, no you can't. You've got to be King."[6] William's first public appearance was on 1 March 1991 (Saint David's Day), during an official visit of his parents to Cardiff, Wales. After arriving by aeroplane, the Prince was taken to Llandaff Cathedral, where he signed the visitors' book, thereby demonstrating that he was left-handed. On 3 June 1991, William was admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital after having been hit on the side of the forehead by a fellow student wielding a golf club. The Prince did not lose consciousness, but did suffer a depressed fracture of the skull and was operated on at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, resulting in a permanent scar.[7] William's mother desired that he, along with his younger brother, not just have "normal" experiences that other royal children had not had until later in life, if at all, but also more profound lessons, taking both boys to locales that ranged from Disney World and McDonald's to AIDS clinics and shelters for the homeless. She also bought them things typical teenagers used like video games.[8] Diana, Princess of Wales, who was by then divorced from the Prince of Wales, died in a car accident in 1997. William, along with his brother and father, was staying at Balmoral Castle at the time, and the Prince of Wales waited until early the following morning to tell his sons about their mother's death.[9] At his mother's funeral, William accompanied his father, brother, paternal grandfather, and maternal uncle in walking behind the funeral cortège from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.


Continuing on his father's precedent, William was educated at independent schools, starting at Jane Mynors' nursery school and the pre-preparatory Wetherby School, both in London.[10] Following this, he attended Ludgrove School and, after passing the entrance exams, was admitted to Eton College, where he studied geography, biology and history of art at A-Level, obtaining an A in geography, a C in biology and a B in history of art.[11][12] At Ludgrove he also participated in football – along with swimming, basketball, clay pigeon shooting, and cross-country running. At Eton he continued to play football, captaining his house team, and took up water polo.[13] The decision to place William in Eton went against the family tradition of sending royal children to Gordonstoun (William's grandfather, father, two uncles, and two cousins all attended); it did, however, make the Prince follow in the Spencer family footsteps, as both Diana's father and brother had attended Eton.[8] It was also agreed between the Royal Family and the tabloid press that William would be allowed to study free of paparazzi intrusion in exchange for regular updates of the Prince's life. Then chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, John Wakeham, said of the arrangement: "Prince William is not an institution; nor a soap star; nor a football hero. He is a child: in the next few years, perhaps the most important and sometimes painful part of his life, he will grow up and become a man."[8]

After graduating from Eton, the Prince took a gap year, during which he took part in British Army training exercises in Belize, and, for ten weeks, taught children in the town of Tortel, in southern Chile, as part of the Raleigh International programme. It was during his time in the latter location that he lived with other young teachers, sharing in the common household chores, including cleaning the toilet, and also volunteered as the guest disk jockey for the local radio station.[14]

By 2001 William was back in the United Kingdom and had enrolled, under the name William Wales,[15][16] at the University of St Andrews. News of this caused the number of applications to St Andrews to swell, mostly from young women who wanted an opportunity to meet the Prince.[17] The extra attention did not deter him, though, and he embarked on a degree course in art history, later changing his main subject to geography, and going on to earn a Scottish Master of Arts degree with upper second class honours in geography – the highest honours of any heir to the British and other Commonwealth realms' thrones. While at university, Prince William also represented the Scottish national universities water polo team at the Celtic Nations tournament in 2004.[13] He was known as “Steve” by other students to avoid any journalists overhearing and realising his identity.[18]

Royal duties and career

William began to accompany his parents on official visits at an early age; his first overseas royal tour was with his parents to Australia and New Zealand in 1983,[19] a decision made by the Princess of Wales that was considered to be unconventional; not only was William so young, but both the second and third in line for the throne would be travelling together.[8] However, he accompanied either both parents or his father on subsequent tours, and, upon graduation from university, began to undertake duties of his own, as well as obtaining experience in the private workforce when he worked with land management at Chatsworth House and interned at HSBC.[8]

Military career

File:Trooping the Colour, Saturday June 16th 2007.jpg
Prince William (second from left) in uniform, with the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour, 2007.

Having decided to follow a military career, in October 2005 William attended the four day Regular Commissions Board at Westbury in Wiltshire where he underwent selection to judge his suitability to become an Army officer. Having passed selection, William went up to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2006.[20] Successfully completing the course, William graduated from Sandhurst on 15 December 2006, the graduation parade being attended by the Queen and the Prince of Wales, along with other members of the Royal Family, and William officially received his commission as a lieutenant at midnight. With his rank obtained, the Prince, under the name of William Wales, followed his younger brother[21] into the Blues and Royals as a troop commander in an armoured reconnaissance unit, after which he spent four months in training for the post at Bovington Camp, Dorset.

Once officially enrolled and commissioned in the Armed Forces, William expressed a desire to participate in active service; in this there was a recent precedent of the service of his grandmother's uncle Edward VIII who, as Prince of Wales, served in France during the First World War; his great-grandfather George VI who also served during World War I (with the Navy at the Battle of Jutland and in France with the Air Force); and his paternal grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who served with distinction during World War Two. More recently, his uncle the Duke of York served in the Falklands war. Though Major General Sebastian Roberts, general officer commanding the Household Division, had said William being deployed was possible, the Prince's position as second in line to the throne, and the convention of ministers advising against the person in that position being put into dangerous situations, cast doubts on William's ability to see combat. These doubts increased after Prince Henry's deployment was cancelled in 2007, due to "specific threats". William, instead, went on to training in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, obtaining his commission as a sub-lieutenant in the former and flying officer in the latter (both broadly equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the Army). With this complete, the Prince undertook an attachment with the Air Force, undergoing an intensive four-month training course at RAF Cranwell,[22] which, upon completing the course on 11 April 2008, he was presented with his RAF wings by his father,[2] who had himself received his wings after training at the same college.[23] It was later revealed that it had been during this secondment that Prince William had helped to man a C-17 Globemaster to Afghanistan, during which he assisted in the repatriation of the body of Trooper Robert Pearson.[24] The Prince had been affectionately known by his fellow airmen, and his callsign was designated, as Billy the Fish, a pun on his title, which also uses a part of his father's title for his surname.[25]

William then moved to train with the Navy for two months, from June to August 2008, during which time he spent three weeks at the Britannia Royal Naval College, training on units of the surface fleet, and submarines, as well as with the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Marines, before deploying for a further five weeks on HMS Iron Duke in the Caribbean.[26] It was during this tour that the Prince took part in a secret underwater mission,[27] as well as helping to identify and capture a small vessel that had been transporting an approximate £40 million worth of cocaine,[28][29] and taking part in other raids.[30]

Due to William's future role, a long term career in the military was considered out of the question; due to his position, his desire to see active service was always unlikely to be granted. William originally joined the military on a short-service commission lasting three years. However, it was announced in September 2008 that the Prince would be extending his time in the forces, first by taking on another secondment in the autumn of 2008 (including working at the MOD and non-operational flying with the Army Air Corps),[31]. Then it was announced that he would transfer from the Army to the RAF in order to train as a full time search and rescue helicopter pilot; this role enables him to take an active role as a member of the armed forces without him being deployed on combat operations. In January 2009 William transferred his commission to the RAF and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. He has started training to become a helicopter pilot with the RAF's Search and Rescue Force. In January 2010, he graduated from the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury, where he had been under the instruction of Squadron Leader Craig Finch.[32] On the 26 January 2010 he transferred to the Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley on Anglesey to receive training on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter. He is expected to graduate from RAF Valley in late summer 2010.[33] Once his training is completed in 2010, it is expected that William's operational tour will last 30 to 36 months.[34] It was announced on 15 April 2010 that William will remain at RAF Valley for his operational tour, being assigned to No. 22 Squadron and initially performing co-pilot duties.[35]

Royal duties

File:2007 WSJ Prince William.jpg
William during the opening ceremony of the 21st World Scout Jamboree.

At the age of 21, Prince William was appointed as a Counsellor of State, and began his royal duties by first serving in that capacity when the Queen was abroad to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2003, in Nigeria. For his 21st birthday, William also accompanied his father on a royal tour of Wales, where they visited the Anglesey Food Fair and opened a centre for the homeless in Newport.[36] By July 2005, he was on his first overseas tour, travelling to New Zealand on behalf of his grandmother in her role as Queen of New Zealand, to participate in World War II commemorations, and, for the 30th anniversary of his father's charity, The Prince's Trust, William and his brother were interviewed together for the first time by Ant & Dec.[36] In July 2007, Prince William accompanied his grandmother's cousin The Duke of Kent, who is President of the UK Scout Association, in opening the 21st World Scout Jamboree, celebrating the centennial of the founding of the Scout Movement.

It was said in Tina Brown's 2007 biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, that Prince William had, like his father, expressed a desire to become Governor-General of Australia,[37] though fulfillment of the idea was considered doubtful by then-Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, who said: "We have for a long time embraced the idea that the person who occupies that post should be in every way an Australian citizen."[38]

In January 2010, Prince William toured Auckland and Wellington, on behalf of his grandmother in her role as Queen of New Zealand. As the Queen's representative, Prince William opened the new building of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.[39] Speculation in late 2009 that William would be taking over increasing numbers of the Queen's ceremonial and state duties has been denied by the Palace.[40]

Personal interests

File:Prince William, 2007.jpg
Prince William playing polo in 2007.

Following his parents' examples, William took interest in various causes from a relatively early age. The late Princess of Wales' work with HIV/AIDS aid and prevention, and the Prince of Wales' work with the natural environment and the inner-city disadvantaged, directed William into those areas. He also showed a desire to focus on the needy in Africa, sometimes working with his brother's charity, Sentebale.

On 23 January 2009, it emerged that Prince William had written the foreword to a book for the first time.[41] The cover of Home from War – the autobiography of a soldier from the prince's regiment who was seriously wounded in a Taliban ambush – notes the Prince's contribution.

Humanitarian and environmental causes

William was first familiarised with HIV/AIDS in the mid 1990s when his mother would take the Prince and his brother to visit shelters and clinics for those suffering from the disease. In January 2005, Prince William and his brother volunteered at a British Red Cross aid distribution centre to pack emergency supplies for countries that were affected by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.[42] Later, in September,[43] William granted his patronage to Centrepoint,[44] a charity that assists the homeless. During the period when his mother had been patron of Centrepoint, he had accompanied her on visits to its headquarters and projects.

Prince William also worked in the children's unit at The Royal Marsden Hospital for two days of work experience in 2005, as well as helping out in the medical research, catering, and fund raising departments.[42] The same year, he spent two weeks in North Wales with a mountain rescue team of Mountain Rescue England and Wales.[42] In May 2007, William became patron of both organisations (His mother had also previously been patron of the Royal Marsden Hospital) and he became attracted to Mountain Rescue England and Wales in order to, in his words, "highlight and celebrate the vital, selfless and courageous work of our mountain rescue organisations".[42]

The Prince also became a patron of the Tusk Trust in December 2005,[43] a charity that works towards conserving wildlife and initiating community development, including providing education, across Africa.[45] William became associated with the organisation after he witnessed its work first hand when he was in Africa. Saying "rural African initiatives that foster education, responsibility and participation in the local community light the way to conservation",[46] he carried out his first official duty with the trust in launching a 5,000-mile (8,000 km) bike ride across the African continent in 2007.[43]


Prince William plays polo both professionally and for charitable causes[47] and is a fan of football, supporting Aston Villa F.C.[42] In May 2006, he became President of England's Football Association and vice royal patron of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in February 2007 (supporting the Queen as patron of the WRU). The same year, the WRU's decision to name a new cup for test matches between Wales and South Africa the Prince William Cup caused controversy, with some believing it would have been more fitting to name the trophy after Ray Gravell.[48][49][50]

Also in 2006, the Prince, along with other Sandhurst officers, took part in running one mile to support the charity Sport Relief, as he had done in 2004 with a team from Clarence House. In May 2007, William became patron of the English Schools' Swimming Association.[42]


During his years in university, Prince William participated in typical college life, going to bars and socialising with his friends; of himself he said: "I'm not a party animal, despite what some people might think."[8] Like his father before him, William's private life became the subject of tabloid speculation and gossip, especially around his relationship with Kate Middleton, who had been one of William's university flatmates and whom William began dating in 2003. Nothing was ever officially released from either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House regarding any relationship between William and Middleton. Middleton, however, did attend the Prince's passing-out parade at Sandhurst, marking the first high-profile event that she attended as William's guest. The relationship between Prince William and Middleton was followed so closely that bookmakers took bets on the possibility of a Royal Wedding and the retail chain Woolworths produced memorabilia bearing the likenesses of the two.[51] Media attention became so intense that William had to make a specific request to the paparazzi that they keep their distance from Middleton and him, in March 2007, complained of media harassment by the Daily Mirror.[51] It was reported in April 2007 that the couple had split,[51][52] though in June, Middleton attended a party at Lulworth Army Barracks as the guest of Prince William,[53] in July attended the Concert for Diana, which had been organized by Princes William and Harry,[54] in August, she accompanied William on holiday in the island of Des Roches in the Seychelles, and in October joined Prince Charles and Prince Harry for a shooting party at Balmoral. In June 2008, along with the Royal Family, Middleton attended William's investiture into the Order of the Garter.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 21 June 1982 – : His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales

The Prince's style and title in full: His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. As a British prince, William does not use a surname for everyday purposes. For formal and ceremonial purposes, Prince William has used the name of the area over which his father holds title, i.e. Wales (as Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie use York, per their father, Prince Andrew, Duke of York). Past precedent is that such area-based surnames are dropped from usage in adulthood, after which either title alone or family surname is used.[55] For the male-line grandchildren of Elizabeth II, however, there is currently some uncertainty over the correct form of family surname to use, or whether there even is a surname. The Queen has stipulated all her male-line descendants who do not bear the titular dignity of prince shall use Mountbatten-Windsor as their family surname although Letters Patent exist stipulating the name Windsor, but with the same caveat.[56]

Should his father accede to the throne, William will immediately obtain the titles of Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay and it is expected that he would be invested as Prince of Wales, though the latter is not automatic. If Prince William succeeds to the throne and uses his first given name as his regnal name, he would be known as William V. Should he marry before the death of the Queen, it is customary for him to receive a dukedom.

Prince William succeeded Lord Attenborough in 2010 as the BAFTA Academy's fifth President.

Military ranks

  • Flag of United Kingdom 16 December 2006  – 16 December 2006: Cornet (Second Lieutenant), The Blues and Royals (short service commission)[57]


File:Garter 2008 Charles William.JPG
Accompanied by his father, Prince William processes to St. George's Chapel to be installed as a Knight of the Garter

Appointments </dt>

  • Flag of United Kingdom(England & Wales only) 23 April 2008 – : Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG)[63]

Medals </dt>

Prince William, upon his appointment to the order, became the 1,000th member of the register of the Order of the Garter;[64] he was officially invested by the Queen into the order on 16 June 2008, at a service at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.[65] The last time a monarch had appointed their grandchild into the Order of the Garter was in 1894, when Queen Victoria invested Prince Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Honorary military appointments

Flag of Canada Canada </dt>

Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom </dt>

Honorific eponyms



Through his maternal grandfather, Prince William is descended from King Henry IV, King Charles II and King James II and VII. Should he become king, William will be the first monarch since Queen Anne to be descended from Charles I. Through his mother, William is of English descent and of remote Irish and Scottish descent. Through the Spencer family, he is also distantly related to several American presidents and British prime ministers.

Prince William is descended from all kings and queens of England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom with surviving offspring from William I onwards except for these eighteen: King Henry V, King Henry VI, King Henry VIII (their lines are all extinct), King George IV, King William IV (both of whom outlived their legitimate children), William II, Richard I, Richard II, Richard III, Edward V, Edward VI, Jane, Mary I, Elizabeth I, William III, Mary II, Anne, and King Edward VIII.[69] He is also descended from many of the pre-Union monarchs of Scotland and the pre-Conquest monarchs of England. He is also descended from many notable foreign monarchs including, Peter I of Russia ("Peter the Great"), Catherine II of Russia ("Catherine the Great"), George I of Greece, Christian IX of Denmark, Afonso I of Portugal, Andrew II of Hungary, Ferdinand II of Aragon, Isabella I of Castile, and early French kings.

See also

  • Royal William, a German red rose named after Prince William shortly after his birth.
  • British prince



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