Prince William of Wales

British Royal Family

Prince William of Wales (William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten-Windsor), (born 21 June 1982) is second in the line of succession to the British throne and thrones of each of the other Commonwealth Realms. He is the elder son of The Prince of Wales and his first wife, the late Lady Diana Spencer. As the son of The Prince of Wales and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II Prince William is a member of the British Royal Family.

Birth, family, and childhood

Prince William was born on 21 June 1982 at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, West London. His father is Charles, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His mother was Lady Diana Spencer, youngest daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer. As a grandchild of the British monarch and son of the Prince of Wales, he is styled His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales. As a child, his parents affectionately called him Wombat.

He was christened on his great-grandmother's 82nd birthday on 4 August 1982 in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie. His godparents were: King Constantine II of the Hellenes, Sir Laurens van der Post, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Westminster, Lord Romsey and Lady Susan Hussey.

Through his mother, Prince William is descended from both the Duke of Grafton and the Duke of Richmond, two illegitimate sons of King Charles II of England. Thus, upon his expected ascension as King, he will be the first British monarch descended from Charles II, as well as the first descended from Charles I since the death of Queen Anne in 1714. He will also be the first monarch descended from James II since the death of Queen Anne in 1714.

He has a younger brother, Prince Harry. His father's second wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is their stepmother, giving the princes a step-brother, Tom Parker Bowles, and step-sister, Laura Lopes.

On 1st March (St. David's Day) 1991, Prince William made his first official public appearance during a visit to Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. After arriving by plane, the eight-year-old prince was taken by his parents to Llandaff Cathedral. After a tour of the cathedral, he signed its visitors book, demonstrating that he was left-handed. Photographs of the Prince taken during his visit are on permanent display at the cathedral. On his departure, numerous school children and local residents from the surrounding area presented gifts to him, which he received with a smile and the whispered words "thank you."

On 3 June 1991 Prince William was admitted to the Royal Berkshire Hospital after being hit on the side of the forehead by another pupil wielding a golf club. The Prince did not lose consciousness, but suffered a depressed fracture of the skull and was operated on at the Great Ormond Street Hospital. A scar is still visible today.

The prince has been a keen fan of the Aston Villa football (soccer) club since childhood.

Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

On 31 August 1997 Prince William's mother, Diana, and her companion, Dodi Al-Fayed, were killed in a car accident in Paris, France. Her death came days after she spent a holiday in southern France with both Prince William and Prince Harry. Both princes were staying with the Queen at Balmoral Castle at the time. Their father, Charles, woke them from their sleep to tell them the news.

At Diana's funeral, Prince William accompanied his father, brother, his grandfather Prince Philip and his uncle the 9th Earl Spencer to walk behind Diana's funeral cortege from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. During his eulogy, the Earl Spencer promised that the Spencer family would take an active interest in looking after Diana's children, although William has seen little of him since then or of Diana's mother before her death.


Prince William has been educated entirely in the English public school system. He attended the Mrs Jane Mynors' nursery school and the pre-prep Wetherby School both in West London, and later attended Ludgrove School in Berkshire, a preparatory school. After passing an entrance exam he went on to attend Eton College in Berkshire. Whilst there he studied geography, biology and history of art at A-level. The prince is left handed.

Like a growing number of British teenagers, Prince William chose to take a gap year after finishing Eton College. He took part in British Army training in Belize. He spent the final stage of his gap year in southern Chile as a volunteer with Raleigh International. Pictures of the prince cleaning a toilet were broadcast around the world.

After his gap year, Prince William attended the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland from 2001, graduating in 2005. He embarked on a degree course in Arts History, but later changed his main subject to Geography. William gained a Scottish Master of Arts degree with upper-second class honours, the highest academic achievement of any heir to the British and other Commonwealth Realm thrones. At St Andrews, the prince used the name William Wales.

In January 2006, Prince William began his cadet course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to train as an Army Officer. William joined his brother who had been there since May 2005.

Royal duties and career

Styles of
HRH Prince William of Wales
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

In July 2005, William carried out his first official engagements representing Elizabeth II, as Queen of New Zealand, at World War II commemorations in New Zealand. In September of the same year, it was announced that William would become president of The Football Association from May 2006 and patron to the UK charity Centrepoint, [1] which works with homeless young people. Centrepoint is the first organization to which William is patron. During his mother's patronage, William would occasionally accompany her on visits.

In October of 2005, the prince worked in land management at Chatsworth House, a Peak District estate of the Duke of Devonshire. William's second work placement was with the HSBC Group in London, which he completed in November 2005.

As with many of his predecessors, Prince William has chosen to serve in the Armed Forces. Following his education and officer training at Sandhurst, he has expressed a desire to serve as an active soldier and to fight on the frontline. Given his position in the succession and the reluctance of previous British governments to allow the Heir to the Throne to be put into dangerous situations, it remains to be seen if this wish will be fully realised.


As the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, it is currently expected that William will ascend the throne of the United Kingdom, as well as those of the other Commonwealth Realms. If William decides to use his first name as his regnal name, he will be known as King William V. Prince William might well choose another name, as did Prince Albert Edward in 1901 and Prince Albert in 1936. Like his mother, William is said to possess a strong dislike for excessive royal protocol, and desires greater personal independence.


Prince William with Kate Middleton
Prince William with Kate Middleton

William's love life has been the subject of much conjecture. Many young and eligible women have been romantically linked to the prince through speculation. Media have reported his relationship with Kate Middleton, formerly his university flatmate, which began in 2004. She has been seen in royal circles but there has been no official statement. Periodically, rumours of an imminent royal wedding or engagement circulate, [2][3] although the couple stress they have no plans to marry in the near future.

Style and arms

Prince William is styled as a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with the style His Royal Highness. As the eldest son of the future monarch, it is likely that he will be created Prince of Wales after his father's accession, although this is not automatic. (Should his father predecease Queen Elizabeth II, leaving William as first-in-line to the throne, William may well be created Prince of Wales in his own right directly.) He will, however, automatically become Duke of Cornwall in the event of his father's accession (but not if his father predeceases Queen Elizabeth II). The issue of what title, if any, Prince William might receive prior to his father's accession to the throne is more problematic. Buckingham Palace has refused to speculate as to what title Queen Elizabeth may award to Prince William in the future.

Coat of Arms of Prince William of Wales
Coat of Arms of Prince William of Wales

On his 18th birthday, Prince William was granted his own personalised coat of arms. His arms are those of the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with a label for difference: Quarterly 1st and 4th, Gules three Lions passant guardant in pale Or (England) 2nd, Or a Lion rampant within a Double Tressure flory counterflory Gules (Scotland) 3rd, Azure a Harp Or stringed Argent (Ireland) the whole differenced by a Label of three points Argent the central point charged with an Escallop Gules. The Escallop Gules is in reference to his mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, as the Escallop appears in the Spencer coat of arms. As the eldest son of the eldest son of the sovereign, his arms are differenced by a label of three points unlike the arms of other grandchildren of the sovereign (if granted) which are differenced by a label of five points.

Surname usage

Under an Order-in-Council in 1960, the non-titled descendants of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were given the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, combining the surnames of Elizabeth and Philip. However, though titled, the Queen's children have all decided to use the surname also in honour of their father. For their banns for their first marriages, both William's aunt, Anne, Princess Royal and his own father, the Prince of Wales, used Mountbatten-Windsor rather than Windsor. Mountbatten-Windsor is now officially treated as being the surname of all descendants of the Queen and the Duke except those, like the children of the Princess Royal, who have a new paternal surname (in that case, "Phillips").

As with Royal Family tradition, Prince William used "Wales" as a last name during his years of education, as has Prince Harry. William's York cousins in turn use "York" (other Royal Families also use their parents' title as their own working surname). Past precedent however is that such title-surnames are dropped from usage in adulthood, with either title alone or name and Mountbatten-Windsor being used on legal documents and banns of marriage.


  1. ^ Prince William Patron of Centrepoint.
  2. ^ : Rumours swirl of wedding for Prince William.
  3. ^ Tabloids Guess Prince William to Pop the Question.

Preceded by:
Charles, Prince of Wales
Line of succession to the British Throne Succeeded by:
Prince Henry of Wales
Preceded by:
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
United Kingdom order of precedence

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