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Prince William of Wales (William Arthur Philip Louis; born 21 June 1982), KG, is the elder son of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and the late 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 16 independent states, although he is resident and most directly involved with the United Kingdommarker, the oldest realm.

Following his education at various schools around the United Kingdom, obtaining a degree from the University of St Andrewsmarker, and spending parts of a gap year in Chilemarker, Belizemarker, 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, two years later, earned his wings by completing pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwellmarker. As of 2009, the Prince has transferred to the Royal Air Force, been promoted to flight lieutenant and is training to be a full time pilot with the Search and Rescue Force.

Early life

Prince William was born at St Mary's Hospitalmarker in Londonmarker, Englandmarker, 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 Castlemarker 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." Baptised in the Music Room of Buckingham Palacemarker on 4 August 1982 (the 82nd birthday of his paternal great-grandmother), 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.

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." William's first public appearance was on 1 March 1991 (Saint David's Day), during an official visit of his parents to Cardiffmarker, Walesmarker. After arriving by aeroplane, the Prince was taken to Llandaff Cathedralmarker, where he signed the visitors' book, thereby demonstrating that he was left-handed. On 3 June 1991, William was admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospitalmarker 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 Hospitalmarker, resulting in a permanent scar.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 Disneylandmarker and McDonald's to AIDS clinics and shelters for the homeless. She also bought them things typical teenagers used like video games. Diana, Princess of Wales, who was by then divorced from the Prince of Wales, died in a car accidentmarker in 1997. William, along with his brother and father, was staying at Balmoral Castlemarker at the time, and the Prince of Wales waited until early the following morning to tell his sons about their mother's death. 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 Abbeymarker.


Continuing on his father's precedent, William was educated at independent school, starting at Jane Mynors' nursery school and the pre-preparatory Wetherby Schoolmarker, both in London. Following this, he attended Ludgrove Schoolmarker and, after passing the entrance exams, was admitted to Eton Collegemarker, 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. At Ludgrove he also participated in football captaining his house team along with swimming, basketball, clay pigeon shooting, and cross-country running; and at Eton he took up water polo. The decision to place William in Eton went against the family tradition of sending royal children to Gordonstounmarker (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. 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 of his life, he will grow up and become a man."

After graduating from Eton, the Prince took a gap year, during which he took part in British Army training exercises in Belizemarker, and, for ten weeks, taught children in the town of Tortel, in southern Chilemarker, 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.

By 2001 William was back in the United Kingdom and had enrolled, under the name William Wales, at the University of St Andrewsmarker. 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. 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.

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 Zealandmarker in 1983, 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. 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 Housemarker and interned at HSBC.

Military career

William graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurstmarker 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 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 served at the Battle of Jutland in the same conflict 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 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 the end of which, on 11 April 2008, he was presented with his RAF wings by his father, who had himself received his wings after training at the same college. It was later revealed that it had been during this secondment that Prince William had helped to man a C-17 Globemaster to Afghanistanmarker, during which he assisted in the repatriation of the body of Trooper Robert Pearson. 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.

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 Collegemarker, 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 Caribbeanmarker. It was during this tour that the Prince took part in a secret underwater mission, as well as helping to identify and capture a small vessel that had been transporting an approximate £40 million worth of cocaine, and taking part in other raids.

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 on non-operationally flying with the Army Air Corps),. 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 and is currently attending the Defence Helicopter Flying Schoolmarker at RAF Shawburymarker. Once his training is complete in 2010, it is expected that William's operational tour will last 30 to 36 months.

Royal duties

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 Nigeriamarker. 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, By July 2005, he was on his first overseas tour, traveling to New Zealandmarker 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. In July 2007, Prince William accompanied his 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, 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."

John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand announced in November 2009, that Prince William will be touring Aucklandmarker and Wellingtonmarker, on behalf of his grandmother in her role as Queen of New Zealand. As the Queen's representative, Prince William will open the new building of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.

Personal interests

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. However, 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 has written the foreword to a book for the first time. 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 Crossmarker aid distribution centre, to pack emergency supplies for countries that were affected by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunamimarker. Later, in September, after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, William granted his patronage to Centrepoint, a charity that assists the homeless. His mother had been patron of Centrepoint, and he had accompanied her on visits to its headquarters and projects.

Prince William also worked in the children's unit at the 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. The same year, he spent two weeks in North Wales with a mountain rescue team of Mountain Rescue England and Wales. 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".

The Prince also became a patron of the Tusk Trust in December 2005, a charity that works towards conserving wildlife and initiating community development, including providing education, across Africa. 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", he carried out his first official duty with the trust in launching a bike ride across the African continent in 2007.


Prince William plays polo both professionally and for charitable causes, and is a fan of football, supporting Aston Villa F.C. 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 Walesmarker 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.

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 Housemarker. In May 2007, William became patron of the English Schools' Swimming Association.


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." 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 flatmate, and whom William began dating in 2003. Nothing was ever officially released from either Buckingham Palace or Clarence Housemarker regarding any relationship between William and Middleton; however, Middleton 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. Media attention became so intense that William had to make a specific request to the paparazzi that they keep their distance from Middleton, and she, in March 2007, complained of media harassment by the Daily Mirror. It was reported in April 2007 that the couple had split, though in June, Middleton attended a party at Lulworth army barracks as the guest of Prince William, in July attended the Concert for Diana, which had been organised by Princes William and Harry, in August she accompanied William on holiday in the island of Des Rochesmarker in the Seychellesmarker, and in October joined Prince Charles and Prince Henry for a shooting party at Balmoralmarker. In June 2008 Middleton attended, along with the Royal Family, 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 every day 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. However, for the male-line grandchildren of Elizabeth II, 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, although with the same caveat.

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 will 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.

Military ranks


Prince William processing to St. George's Chapel to be installed as a Knight of the Garter


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

Honorary military appointments


United Kingdom

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 Scottishmarker 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 Englandmarker, Great Britainmarker, and the United Kingdommarker with surviving offspring from William I onwards except for these five: King Henry V, King Henry VIII (their lines are both extinct), King George IV, King William IV (neither of whom had any surviving legitimate children), and King Edward VIII. 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, 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



External links

 in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland

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