Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is 41 years old in 2023. He is the eldest son of King Charles III and Diana, Princess of Wales, and the heir apparent to the British throne.
He is also one of the most popular members of the royal family, both in the United Kingdom and abroad. In this article, we will explore his background, personal life, role as a royal, and the reasons behind his popularity and impact.
Prince William’s Background and Early Life
On June 21, 1982, Prince William entered the world at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. When he was born, he made history by becoming the first British heir apparent to have his birth announced to the public and born in a hospital.
William Arthur Philip Louis was named after his grandpa, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather on his father’s side. Prince Harry, who was born in 1984, is his younger brother.
William’s formative years were spent both at Kensington Palace and at his parents’ rural homes. Diana tried to give him and his brother Harry a “normal” childhood by taking them on public transit, taking them to fast food restaurants, taking them to homeless shelters, and even bringing them to orphanages. She also pushed them to explore their passions in areas like the performing arts, music, and athletics.
William attended London’s Ludgrove School and Wetherby School for his early schooling. After that, he went to Windsor’s Eton College, where he flourished in both the classroom and extracurricular pursuits. He was well-liked by both students and faculty. He received three A-levels in geography, biology, and art history when he left Eton in the year 2000.
Early appointments and duties
William was appointed as a Counsellor of State in 1999 when he turned 17. This meant that he could act on behalf of the monarch when she was absent or incapacitated. He also became a patron of several charitable organizations, such as Centrepoint, The Passage, and Tusk Trust.
In 2000, William accompanied his father on an official visit to Chile, where they participated in a volunteer program for young people. In 2001, he visited Kenya with his brother and father to attend the funeral of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice. In 2002, he represented his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, at the National Service of Thanksgiving for her Golden Jubilee.
William enrolled at the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2001, where he studied art history and later switched to geography. He chose St Andrews because he wanted to have a more normal university experience away from the media attention. He also met his future wife, Catherine Middleton, who was a fellow student there.
William graduated from St Andrews in 2005 with a Master of Arts degree with upper second-class honors. He then decided to pursue a military career and joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2006. He trained as an officer cadet for 44 weeks and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry.
Military and air ambulance service
William served as a troop leader in an armored reconnaissance unit for two years. He also completed attachment courses with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force (RAF). In 2008, he graduated from RAF College Cranwell as a flying officer and joined the RAF Search and Rescue Force as a helicopter pilot.
William flew more than 150 missions during his four-year service with the Search and Rescue Force. He was involved in rescuing people from various emergencies, such as shipwrecks, floods, fires, and accidents. He was praised for his professionalism and dedication by his colleagues and superiors.
In 2013, William left the military and became a full-time working royal. However, he still maintained his flying skills by taking regular training sessions with the RAF. In 2015, he joined the East Anglian Air Ambulance as a pilot for two years. He donated his salary to charity and balanced his flying duties with his royal engagements.
Prince William’s Personal Life
Pre-wedding relationship with Catherine Middleton
William met Catherine Middleton at St Andrews University in 2001. They became friends and later started dating in 2003. They kept their relationship private for several years until they were photographed together on a skiing holiday in Switzerland in 2004.
William and Catherine faced some challenges in their relationship due to media scrutiny and public pressure. They briefly broke up in 2007 but reconciled later that year. They moved in together at a cottage near William’s RAF base in Wales in 2010.
Marriage and children
In October of 2010, while on vacation in Kenya, William popped the question to Catherine. As a token of his love and devotion, he presented her with his mother’s engagement ring. On November 16, 2010, they made their engagement public.
On April 29, 2011, William and Catherine wed at Westminster Abbey in London. Millions of people across the globe tuned in to see the wedding, which was also recognized as a holiday in the United Kingdom. After their wedding, the pair was officially referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
They welcomed Prince George on July 22, 2013, Princess Charlotte on May 2, 2015, and Prince Louis on April 23, 2018. Their London residence is Kensington Palace, while their Norfolk home is Anmer Hall. They have earned a rep as doting parents who want nothing more than the best for their kids.
Prince William’s Role as Duke of Cambridge
As the Duke of Cambridge, William performs official duties and engagements on behalf of the monarch and the country. He also supports various causes and initiatives that reflect his interests and values.
William is a patron of over 30 charitable and military organizations. He focuses on issues such as conservation, mental health, homelessness, and emergency workers. He also undertakes projects through The Royal Foundation, which he founded with his brother Harry in 2009 and later joined by Catherine and Meghan Markle.
Some of the notable charities that William supports are:
- Tusk Trust: A conservation organization that works to protect wildlife and habitats in Africa.
- Centrepoint: A homelessness charity that provides accommodation, education, and employment opportunities for young people.
- The Passage: A homelessness charity that offers support and services to people living on the streets.
- Wales Air Ambulance: A charity that provides emergency medical care by helicopter to people in Wales.
- London’s Air Ambulance Charity: A charity that delivers advanced trauma care by helicopter to people in London.
William is passionate about conservation and wildlife protection. He has visited several countries in Africa and Asia to learn about the challenges and solutions for preserving biodiversity and combating illegal wildlife trade. He has also spoken at various international forums and events to raise awareness and mobilize action for this cause.
In 2014, William launched the United for Wildlife initiative, which brings together seven conservation organizations to collaborate on tackling the global wildlife crisis. The initiative focuses on four areas: improving site protection, strengthening law enforcement, reducing demand for illegal wildlife products, and engaging young people.
In 2020, William announced the Earthshot Prize, which aims to inspire and reward innovative solutions for the most urgent environmental problems facing the planet. The prize will award five winners every year for the next decade with £1 million each to scale up their projects.
Mental health advocacy
William is a strong advocate for mental health awareness and support. He believes that mental health is as important as physical health and that people should not be afraid or ashamed to seek help when they need it. He has shared his own experiences of coping with grief, stress, and trauma as a way of encouraging others to open up.
In 2016, William, Catherine, and Harry launched the Heads Together campaign, which aims to change the conversation around mental health and reduce stigma. The campaign partners with various mental health charities to provide resources and services for people of all ages and backgrounds.
In 2019, William launched Shout, a free text messaging service that connects people in crisis with trained volunteers who can provide support and guidance. The service is available 24/7 and has helped over 500,000 people since its inception.
William is committed to helping homeless people find dignity, hope, and opportunities. He has been involved with homelessness charities since he was a teenager, when he accompanied his mother Diana on her visits to shelters and hostels. He has continued this tradition by spending time with homeless people and listening to their stories.
In 2009, William slept on the streets of London for a night as part of an event organized by Centrepoint. He wanted to experience firsthand the harsh realities faced by homeless people every day. He also wanted to raise awareness and funds for Centrepoint’s work.
In 2020, William launched The Big Issue’s Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA), which aims to prevent a wave of homelessness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The alliance brings together experts, policymakers, businesses, charities, and individuals to find solutions and offer support to those at risk of losing their homes or jobs.
William is an avid sports fan who enjoys playing and watching various sports. He is especially fond of football (soccer), rugby, polo, tennis, golf, skiing, and cycling. He uses his passion for sports as a way of connecting with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
William is also a patron of several sports associations and events. He is the president of The Football Association (FA), which governs football in England. He attends FA Cup finals and other matches involving the England national team. He also supports grassroots football initiatives that promote inclusion, diversity, and social change.
William is also the vice patron of The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), which governs rugby in Wales. He attends Six Nations matches and other games.
He also supports grassroots rugby initiatives that foster talent and community spirit.
William is also the patron of The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC), which hosts the Wimbledon Championships, the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. He attends the finals and presents the trophies to the winners. He also supports the development of tennis in schools and clubs across the U.K.
William is also the patron of The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which celebrates excellence in film, television, and games. He attends the annual BAFTA Awards ceremony and presents the Fellowship Award, the highest honor of the academy. He also supports the promotion of creative talent and diversity in the industry.
Prince William’s Popularity and Impact
William is one of the most popular and influential members of the royal family, both in the U.K. and abroad. He has a high level of public approval and trust, as well as a large following on social media. He is seen as a modern, relatable, and responsible royal who balances his duties with his personal life.
William has a positive public image that reflects his personality, values, and achievements. He is described as friendly, charming, humble, compassionate, and courageous by those who have met him or worked with him. He is also praised for his sense of humor, style, and charisma by the media and fans.
William is admired for his dedication to his role as a royal and his commitment to his causes. He is respected for his leadership skills, diplomatic abilities, and vision for the future. He is also appreciated for his loyalty to his family, friends, and country.
Privacy and the media
William values his privacy and tries to protect it from the media intrusion and paparazzi harassment that he faced since childhood. He witnessed how his mother Diana suffered from the constant scrutiny and pressure from the press, which contributed to her death in a car crash in 1997. He also experienced how his relationship with Catherine was affected by the media attention and speculation.
William has taken legal action against several media outlets that violated his privacy or published false or defamatory stories about him or his family. He has also issued statements or complaints to correct or condemn inaccurate or intrusive reporting. He has also appealed to the public and the press to respect his privacy and that of his family.
Titles, honors, and arms
William holds several titles, honors, and arms that reflect his status and achievements as a royal. He is currently His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus. He is also a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, an Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Coningsby, an Honorary Colonel of the Irish Guards, an Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen, and a Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen of New Zealand.
William’s coat of arms consists of a shield with three lions passant guardant in pale or (the Royal Arms of England), differenced by a label of three points argent (a mark of cadency for a first son), charged on the central point with an escallop gules (a personal emblem taken from his mother’s arms). His supporters are a lion rampant guardant or (the Royal Arms of England) crowned with a coronet composed of crosses patée and fleurs-de-lis (a mark of difference for a child of the sovereign) on the dexter side; and a unicorn argent armed, crined, and unguled or (the Royal Arms of Scotland) gorged with a coronet composed of crosses patée and fleurs-de-lis on the sinister side.
Comparison to other Royals
William is often compared to other royals in terms of his popularity, influence, and style. Some of the royals that he is frequently compared to are:
- His father Charles: William is seen as more popular than his father Charles, who has lower approval ratings due to his past controversies, such as his divorce from Diana and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. William is also seen as more modern than his father Charles, who is perceived as more traditional and conservative.
- His brother Harry: William is seen as more responsible than his brother Harry, who has been involved in several scandals, such as wearing a Nazi costume at a party, being photographed naked in Las Vegas, and giving an interview to Oprah Winfrey that criticized the royal family. William is also seen as more loyal than his brother Harry, who stepped back from his royal duties and moved to California with his wife Meghan Markle.
- His grandmother Elizabeth: William is seen as more relatable than his grandmother Elizabeth, who has been on the throne for nearly 70 years and has maintained a dignified and reserved demeanor. William is also seen as more progressive than his grandmother Elizabeth, who has been slow to adapt to social changes and cultural diversity.
- His mother Diana: William is seen as similar to his mother Diana, who was also very popular and influential as a royal. William shares his mother’s charisma, compassion, and courage, as well as her passion for humanitarian and social causes. William also honors his mother’s legacy by continuing her work and keeping her memory alive.