Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, KG, KT, ADC (William Arthur Philip Louis;[fn 1] born 21 June 1982) is a member of the British royal family. He is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and since birth has been second in the line of succession to the British throne after his father.
William was educated at four schools in the United Kingdom and studied for a degree at the University of St. Andrews. During a gap year, he spent time in Chile, Belize, and Africa. In December 2006, he completed 44 weeks of training as an officer cadet and was commissioned in the Blues and Royals regiment. In April 2008, William completed pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, then underwent helicopter flight training and became a full-time pilot with the RAF Search and Rescue Force in early 2009. His service with the British Armed Forces ended in September 2013.
|Duke of Cambridge (more)|
Prince William in 2016
|Born||21 June 1982|
St Mary's Hospital, London, England
Catherine Middleton (m. 2011)
|Father||Charles, Prince of Wales|
|Mother||Lady Diana Spencer|
|Service/|| British Army|
Royal Air Force
|Years of service||2006–2013 |
|Unit||Blues and Royals|
RAF Search and Rescue Force
Prince William was born at Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London, at 9:03 pm on 21 June 1982 as the first child of Charles, Prince of Wales—heir apparent to Queen Elizabeth II—and Diana, Princess of Wales. His names, William Arthur Philip Louis, were announced by Buckingham Palace on 28 June. He was baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 4 August, the 82nd birthday of his paternal great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[fn 2] He was the first child born to a Prince and Princess of Wales since Prince John in 1905. William's parents affectionately called him "Wombat" or "Wills"—a name coined by the press.
Since his birth, William has been second in the line of succession to the British throne. At age seven, he reportedly told his mother he wanted to be a police officer when he was older so that he might be able to protect her; a statement to which his five-year-old brother Harry reportedly replied, "Oh, no you can't. You've got to be King."
William began accompanying his parents on official visits at an early age. In 1983, he accompanied them on a tour to Australia and New Zealand, a decision made by Diana. The decision was considered to be unconventional because the first- and second-in-line to the throne would be travelling together, and because of William's young age. His first public appearance was on 1 March 1991—Saint David's Day—during an official visit of his parents to Cardiff. After arriving by aeroplane, William was taken to Llandaff Cathedral where he signed the visitors' book, showing he is left-handed.
On 3 June 1991, William was admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital after being accidentally hit on the forehead by a fellow student wielding a golf club. He suffered a depressed fracture of the skull and was operated on at Great Ormond Street Hospital, resulting in a permanent scar. In a 2009 interview, he dubbed this scar a "Harry Potter scar" and said, "I call it that because it glows sometimes and some people notice it—other times they don't notice it at all".
William's mother wanted him and his younger brother Harry to have wider experiences than are usual for royal children. She took them to Walt Disney World and McDonald's, as well as AIDS clinics and shelters for the homeless, and bought them items typically owned by teenagers, such as video games. Diana, who was by then divorced from Charles, died in a car accident in the early hours of 31 August 1997. William, then aged 15, together with his 12-year-old brother and their father, were staying at Balmoral Castle at the time. The Prince of Wales waited until his sons awoke the following morning to tell them about their mother's death. William accompanied his father, brother, paternal grandfather Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and his maternal uncle Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, at his mother's funeral; they walked behind the funeral cortège from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.
William was educated at independent schools, starting at Jane Mynors' nursery school and the pre-preparatory Wetherby School, both in London. Following this, he attended Ludgrove School near Wokingham, Berkshire, and was privately tutored during summers by Rory Stewart. At Ludgrove, he participated in football, swimming, basketball, clay pigeon shooting, and cross country running. He sat the entrance exam to Eton College and was admitted. There, 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 Eton, he took up water polo and continued to play football, captaining his house team.
The decision to place William in Eton went against the family tradition of sending royal children to Gordonstoun, which William's grandfather, father, two uncles, and two cousins all attended. Diana's father and brother both attended Eton. The royal family and the tabloid press agreed William would be allowed to study free from intrusion in exchange for regular updates about his life. John Wakeham, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, said of the arrangement, "Prince William is not an institution; nor a soap star; nor a football hero. He is a boy: in the next few years, perhaps the most important and sometimes painful part of his life, he will grow up and become a man."
After completing his studies at Eton, William took a gap year, during which he took part in British Army training exercises in Belize, worked on English dairy farms, visited Africa, and for ten weeks taught children in southern Chile. As part of the Raleigh International program in the town of Tortel, William lived with other young volunteers, sharing in the common household chores—including cleaning the toilet—and also volunteered as a guest disc jockey at a local radio station. His interest in African culture prompted him to teach himself Swahili.
By 2001, William was back in the United Kingdom and had enrolled at the University of St Andrews. News of this caused a temporary increase in the number of applications to St Andrews, mostly from young women who wanted an opportunity to meet him. The extra attention did not deter him; he embarked on a degree course in Art History, later changing his main subject to Geography, and earned a Scottish Master of Arts degree with upper second class honours. While at university, he represented the Scottish national universities water polo team at the Celtic Nations tournament in 2004. He was known as "Steve" by other students to avoid any journalists overhearing and realising his identity.
William returned to St Andrews in February 2011 as patron of the university's 600th Anniversary Appeal.
To prepare for his eventual management of the Duchy of Cornwall, in 2014 William enrolled in a vocational agricultural management course at Cambridge, which was organised by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL), of which his father is patron. According to a CNN report in 2014, the duchy is "a £760 million (about $1.25 billion) entity established in 1337 to provide a private income for use by the reigning monarch's eldest son", which William will inherit when his father becomes king.
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. He passed selection and was admitted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2006. After completing the course, William was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at Sandhurst on 15 December 2006; the graduation parade was attended by the Queen and the Prince of Wales, along with other members of the Royal Family. William officially received his commission as a lieutenant at midnight. As "Lieutenant Wales"—a name based on his father's title Prince of Wales—he followed his younger brother into the Blues and Royals as a troop commander in an armoured reconnaissance unit, after which he spent four months training for the post at Bovington Camp, Dorset.
Though Major-General Sir Sebastian Roberts, General Officer commanding the Household Division, had said William's deployment was possible, the Prince's position as second-in-line to the throne and the convention of ministers advising against placing that person into dangerous situations cast doubts on William's chances of seeing combat. These doubts increased after Prince Harry's deployment was cancelled in 2007 due to "specific threats". William, instead, went on to train 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 army rank of lieutenant. After completing his training, William undertook an attachment with the Royal Air Force, undergoing an intensive, four-month training course at RAF Cranwell. Upon completing the course on 11 April 2008, he was presented with his RAF wings by his father, who had received his own wings after training at Cranwell. During this secondment, William flew to Afghanistan in a C-17 Globemaster that repatriated the body of Trooper Robert Pearson.
William was then seconded to train with the Royal Navy from June to August 2008, during which 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 the Royal Marines. He spent a day on submarine HMS Talent. During a five-week deployment on HMS Iron Duke in the Caribbean, he took part in a joint operation with the United States Coast Guard that identified and captured a speedboat carrying 900 kg (2,000 lb) of cocaine worth about £40 million. The ship also took part in other raids.
Because of William's future royal 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 unlikely to be fulfilled. William originally joined the military on a short-service commission lasting three years. It was announced in September 2008, however, that he would be extending his forces career in 2008 by accepting another secondment that included working at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and non-operational flying with the Army Air Corps. It was later announced that he would transfer from the Army to the RAF to train as a full-time search and rescue helicopter pilot, a role that would enable him to take an active role in the armed forces without being deployed on combat operations.
In January 2009, William transferred his commission to the RAF and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. He trained 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. On 26 January 2010, he transferred to the Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley, Anglesey, to receive training on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter; he graduated from this course on 17 September 2010. This made him the first member of the British royal family since Henry VII to live in Wales.
It was announced on 15 April 2010 that William would remain at RAF Valley for his operational tour; he was assigned to C Flight No. 22 Squadron and initially performed co-pilot duties. His operational tour was expected to last 30 to 36 months.
William's first rescue mission as co-pilot of an RAF Sea King was a response to an emergency call from the Liverpool Coastguard on 2 October 2010. William—who was excited to take part in an active mission—and the other three crew members, flew from their base at RAF Valley to an offshore gas rig in Morecambe Bay, from where a man who had suffered a suspected heart attack was airlifted to hospital. In November 2011, he participated in a search-and-rescue mission involving a cargo ship that was sinking in the Irish Sea; William, as a co-pilot, helped rescue two sailors.
William was deployed to the Falkland Islands for a six-week tour with No. 1564 Flight from February to March 2012. The Argentine government condemned the Duke's deployment to the islands close to the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Falklands War as a "provocative act".
In June 2012 Prince William gained a qualification to be captain or pilot in command of a Sea King rather than a co-pilot. His active service as an RAF search-and-rescue pilot ended in September 2013.
In 2014, it was announced that William would accept a full-time role as a pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) based at Cambridge Airport. Despite his qualifications as a military helicopter pilot, William needed a civil pilot's licence and further training before being permitted to take command of the Air Ambulance. Although his position was paid, Kensington Palace announced that William would donate his full salary to the EAAA charity. He underwent part of his training as an EAAA pilot at Norwich Airport. On 13 July 2015, William started his new job, which he felt was a natural progression from his previous role as an RAF search-and-rescue pilot. He left his position with EAAA in July 2017 to assume a more active role in royal duties on behalf of his grandmother the Queen.
Upon graduation from university, William began to undertake his own public duties and privately obtained work experience by interning in land management at Chatsworth House and in banking at HSBC.
At the age of 21, Prince William was appointed as a Counsellor of State; he first served in that capacity when the Queen was in Nigeria attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2003. For his 21st birthday, William accompanied his father on a tour of Wales, visiting the Anglesey Food Fair and opening a centre for the homeless in Newport. By July 2005, he embarked on his first solo overseas tour, travelling to New Zealand, to participate in World War II commemorations on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II in her role as Queen of New Zealand. 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 television personalities Ant & Dec.
According to Tina Brown in her 2007 biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, William had, like his father, expressed a desire to become Governor-General of Australia. Prime Minister of Australia John Howard 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".
In 2009, the Queen set up a private office for William with Sir David Manning as his adviser. Manning accompanied him in January 2010 as he toured Auckland and Wellington on behalf of the Queen; William opened the new building of the Supreme Court of New Zealand and was welcomed by a Māori chief. William succeeded Lord Attenborough in 2010 as the fifth president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
In March 2011, William visited Christchurch, New Zealand, shortly after the earthquake, and spoke at the memorial service at Hagley Park on behalf of his grandmother. Upon leaving New Zealand, he travelled to Australia to visit areas affected by flooding in Queensland and Victoria. After twice accompanying his parents to Canada, Prince William and his wife toured the country in June and July 2011; they visited the United States and attended Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill. On 2 November, the Duke and Duchess visited the UNICEF Supply Division Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark, which supplies food to malnourished African children. In September 2012, they toured Singapore, Malaysia, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
In April 2014, the Duke and Duchess undertook a royal tour to New Zealand and Australia. From 20–21 September, William took his wife's place on a tour of Malta to mark the 50th anniversary of the island's independence from the United Kingdom. On 21 October, the Duke and Duchess met the President of Singapore, Tony Tan, during his state visit to the UK.
In 2015, Prince William visited the Chinese cities Beijing, Shanghai, and Yunnan from 1 to 4 March. Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed him as he began the first visit to mainland China by a member of the British royal family in almost three decades.
In June 2018, Prince William visited Israel and Palestine, being the first British royal to visit the area officially since the expiry of the British Mandate. He visited Tel Aviv, meeting with mayor Ron Huldai and touring the beach area and city centre; Jerusalem, meeting with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and Ramallah, meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
William became aware of HIV/AIDS in the mid-1990s when he accompanied his mother and brother on visits to shelters and clinics for sufferers. In January 2005, William and his brother volunteered at a British Red Cross aid distribution centre to pack emergency supplies for countries affected by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. In September that year, William granted his patronage to Centrepoint, a charity that assists the homeless.
In 2005, William worked in the children's unit at The Royal Marsden Hospital for two days of work experience; he also assisted in the medical research, catering, and fund raising departments. In May that year, he spent two weeks in North Wales with a mountain rescue team. In May 2007, William became patron of both organisations—his mother had also been patron of the Royal Marsden Hospital—and he became attracted to Mountain Rescue England and Wales to "highlight and celebrate the vital, selfless and courageous work of our mountain rescue organisations".
Prince William 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. He became associated with the organisation after he witnessed its work first hand 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 5,000-mile (8,000 km) bike ride across the African continent in 2007. In 2010, he also became a patron of 100 Women in Hedge Funds Philanthropic Initiatives.
In March 2011, the Duke and Duchess set up a gift fund held by The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry to allow well-wishers who wanted to give them a wedding gift to donate money to charities instead. The gift fund supported 26 charities of the couple's choice, incorporating the armed forces, children, the elderly, art, sport and conservation. These causes are close to their hearts and reflect the experiences, passions and values of their lives so far.
William plays polo to raise money for charity, is a fan of football, and supports the English club Aston Villa. He became President of England's Football Association in May 2006 and vice-royal patron of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in February 2007, supporting the Queen as patron. 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; some believed it would have been more appropriate to name it after Ray Gravell.
In 2006, William, along with other Sandhurst officers, took part in a one-mile (1.6 km) run 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. In 2013, he succeeded his grandfather Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as president of the UK charity Fields in Trust.
In December 2010, William and Prime Minister David Cameron attended a meeting with FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon at which Chung suggested a vote-trading deal for the right to host the 2018 World Cup in England. The English delegation reported the suggestion to FIFA's ethics investigator because they considered vote-swapping to be a violation of anti-collusion rules.
In May 2014, William, like his father and paternal grandfather, became president of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC). He enthusiastically took part in a bandy event in Stockholm in January 2018.
William's private life became a subject of tabloid speculation, especially around his relationship with Catherine Middleton, one of William's university flatmates whom William began dating in 2003. Middleton attended William's passing-out parade at Sandhurst, which was the first high-profile event that she attended as his guest. Their relationship was followed so closely that bookmakers took bets on the possibility of marriage and the retail chain Woolworths produced memorabilia bearing the likenesses of the couple. Media attention became so intense that William formally asked the press to keep their distance from Middleton.
It was reported in April 2007 that the couple had split up, but they resumed their relationship a few months later.
On 16 November 2010, Clarence House announced that Prince William and Middleton were to marry; the couple had become engaged in Kenya in October. The engagement ring given by William to Catherine had belonged to his mother.
The wedding took place on 29 April 2011 in Westminster Abbey, London. A few hours before the ceremony, William's new titles Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus were announced.
His wife's first pregnancy was announced on 3 December 2012. She was admitted on 22 July 2013 to the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London, where Prince William had been delivered. Later that day, she gave birth to Prince George. On 8 September 2014, it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with her second child. She was admitted on 2 May 2015 to the same hospital and gave birth to Princess Charlotte. The Duchess's third pregnancy was announced on 4 September 2017; Prince Louis was born on 23 April 2018.
In March 2017, a video of William dancing with an unidentified woman at a nightclub in Verbier, Switzerland, surfaced in the media. At the time, he was on a skiing holiday with his friends. The press criticised William's behaviour because he had failed to attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, which was attended by other senior members of the royal family.
The hereditary titles of Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus were announced on 29 April 2011 and formally patented on 26 May that year.[fn 3] William is a Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG), a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle (KT), a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom (PC), and a Personal Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the Queen.
As a British prince, William does not use a surname for everyday purposes. For formal and ceremonial purposes, children of the Prince of Wales use the title "prince" or "princess" before their forename and follow it with their father's territorial designation. Thus, before his marriage, Prince William was styled "Prince William of Wales". Such territorial designations are discarded by women when they marry and by men if they are given a peerage of their own, such as when Prince William was given his dukedom.
Although the name of the Royal House is Windsor, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor belongs to all the children and male-line descendants of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and is used, if needed, by those who do not have the style of Royal Highness and the title Prince or Princess; when a female descendant marries, she traditionally takes her husband's surname from that point onward, and their children take their father's.
Both Princes William and Harry used Wales as their surname for military purposes; this continues to be the case for William since his creation as Duke of Cambridge.
Prince William is the 1,000th member of the register of the Order of the Garter, and was officially invested by the Queen on 16 June 2008 at a service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The last time a monarch appointed a grandchild into the Order of the Garter was in 1894, when Queen Victoria invested Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
In September 2013, the Queen granted to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge a conjugal coat of arms consisting of their individual arms displayed side-by-side beneath a helm and coronet denoting the Duke's status as grandson of the Sovereign.
In 2011, the Canadian Heraldic Authority introduced a personal heraldic flag for the Duke of Cambridge's use in Canada. It is the Royal Arms of Canada in banner form defaced with a blue roundel surrounded with a wreath of gold maple leaves and shells within which is a depiction of a "W" surmounted by a coronet. Above the roundel is a white label of three points, charged with a red shell.
Prince William is a member of the House of Windsor. By direct paternal ancestry via his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh, he is a descendant of Elimar I, Count of Oldenburg of the House of Oldenburg, one of Europe's oldest royal houses; and more specifically the cadet branch known as the House of Glücksburg, which was founded by William's paternal ancestor Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. William's ancestors on the male line include five kings; Christian I of Denmark, Frederick I of Denmark, Christian III of Denmark, Christian IX of Denmark, and George I of Greece; and also includes eleven counts of Oldenburg, two dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, five dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, and one duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
Through his mother, William descends from the Earls Spencer—a cadet branch of the Spencer family descended from the Earls of Sunderland; the senior branch are now also Dukes of Marlborough; the Barons Fermoy; and more anciently from Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, and Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond—two illegitimate sons of King Charles II. As king, William would be the first monarch since Anne to descend from Charles I and the first to descend from Charles II.
William descends matrilineally from Eliza Kewark, a housekeeper for his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Theodore Forbes—a Scottish merchant who worked for the East India Company in Surat. She is variously described in contemporary documents as "a dark-skinned native woman", "an Armenian woman from Bombay", and "Mrs. Forbesian". Genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner assumed Kewark was Armenian. In June 2013, BritainsDNA announced that genealogical DNA tests on two of William's distant matrilineal cousins confirm Kewark was matrilineally of Indian descent.
|Ancestors of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge|
The Duke of Cambridge – who is known in his Royal Air Force working life as Flight Lieutenant Wales
Although Eliza Kewark was indeed thought of as Armenian, it's not particularly surprising that she would have had Indian ancestors; the Armenian diaspora had been in India for centuries at the time of her birth, and even the most insular communities tend to experience genetic mixing over that timescale.
Prince William, Duke of CambridgeBorn: 21 June 1982
|Lines of succession|
The Prince of Wales
| Succession to the British throne
2nd in line
Prince George of Cambridge
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
4th creation extinct in 1904
Title last held byPrince George
| Duke of Cambridge
Prince George of Cambridge
|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
The Earl of Wessex
The Duke of Cambridge
The Duke of Sussex
The Prince of Wales,
Duke of Rothesay
in current practice
The Duke of York
The Duke of York
| President of The Football Association
The Lord Attenborough
| President of BAFTA|
Sir Sebastian Roberts
| Colonel of the Irish Guards