Prince William, first born son of Prince Charles and his then wife, Princess Diana, is second in line to the throne of the British Royal Family. He came into the world on 21st June 1982 at St. Mary’s hospital in Paddington, London. Since that time, much of Prince William’s life, including, reportedly, his first steps, have been televised by the world’s media. With his mother’s good looks and easy air, he is a very popular member of the monarchy with all generations and nationalities around the world.
Prince William’s parents split up in his childhood and were divorced in 1996 when he was a young teen. Always said to be very close to his mother, and bearing a striking physical resemblance to her with his blond hair and sparkling blue eyes, his life was blighted by tragedy as his mother, Princes Diana, was killed in a car accident while holidaying in France in 1997. She had always been keen on shielding Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, from the media spotlight. She wanted him to grow up as normally as possible for the second in line to throne of the British Royal Family and Prince William was often taken by his mother to fun parks, zoos and on other regular family days out. He also reported in later years that she did her best to make him aware of how lucky he was in his position and that not everyone lived such a privileged life. Perhaps because of this, Prince William has retained a common touch and easy manner which the older generation of the Royal Family could not command. As a result, Prince William continues to enjoy the support and liking of a large proportion of the British people, even to the point of there being talk of whether Queen Elizabeth II should abdicate, and also her son, Prince Charles, allowing Prince William to take the throne.
That said, Prince William, as one might expect, has led a life of privilege. He attended illustrious primary and preparatory schools in London with the sons and daughters of the aristocracy and the rich. Then, as most Royals, Prince William went to boarding school, first Ludgrove School, Berkshire, and then, in July 1995, the exclusive Eton College. Prince William studied for ‘A’ levels in Biology and History of Art. Always sporty, he captained his house team at football (soccer) and swimming.
Then, like many modern students, Prince William took a gap year. He spent a period of that year in Belize, South America, for an army training exercise, part of it in Chile, volunteering with the organisation Raleigh International, on a dairy farm, and also a period of fifteen weeks in Africa, learning about nature conservation; all these placements were seen as vital training for the adult role he would later take up as a member of the British Royal Family on his own official engagements and with patronage of certain organisations.
Upon his return from his gap year, Prince William broke with Royal tradition for his continuing education. Instead of opting for a degree course at either Oxford or Cambridge University, he read History of Art at St. Andrew’s University, Scotland. It has only been relatively recently that members of the British Royal Family have attended public universities, but Prince William was the first one not to enter Oxford or Cambridge University. After a year of study, he changed his degree course to Geography, graduating with an upper second class degree, in 2005.
At the beginning of the following year, Prince William returned to the tradition of a military career for members of the British Royal Family. He entered Sandhurst Royal Military Academy as an officer cadet, as his younger brother, Prince Harry, had done the previous year.
Prince William’s passing out parade was on 15th December 2006, whereupon he joined the Blues and Royals regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant. He later trained as a troop commander of an armoured reconnaissance unit, and in 2008, he also performed a rotation of attachments to the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, preparing him for his later role of commander of all the armed services when he ascends the throne. Most recently, in January 2009, Prince William began training to pilot a Sea King search and rescue helicopter. His course is due for completion in 2010, and after that, it is planned that Prince William will be an operational pilot with RAF Search and Rescue. It is anticipated that he will serve in this capacity for approximately three years.
Like most of the British Royal Family, Prince William is a keen and accomplished sportsman. He is the president of England Football Association, which befits a keen Aston Villa soccer fan, and Vice Royal Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union. His love life is currently receiving much media attention. As second in line to the British throne, Prince William is a very eligible bachelor; however, he has maintained a long-term relationship with Catherine Middleton (whom he calls Kate) almost consistently since his early university days.
If/when Prince William ascends the British throne (being second in line after his father, Prince Charles) he will be crowned King William V.