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Prince William - Biography

The Prince of Wales is the first in line to the throne following his father King Charles III's ascension in 2022

Prince William sat talking
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
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Prince William was born William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor on 21 June 1982. The future king and current Prince of Wales is the eldest son of Diana, Princess of Wales and King Charles III.

Early life

From an early age, Prince William was already breaking with tradition. His mother gave birth in St Mary's Hospital, London making him the first direct heir to the throne to be born outside palace walls. Plus, unlike his father and paternal grandmother who had private tutors, he attended nursery school. 

In 1995, after spells at Wetherby and Ludgrove Prep Schools, William started at Eton College, one of Britain's most prestigious secondary schools. He excelled at sports there (particularly swimming and water polo) but also was serious academic student. 

In 1996, William's parent divorce, and the following year the young Prince was hit with the devastating news of his mother's death. Showing himself capable of immense courage, William insisted on walking behind Princess Diana's hearse in the funeral procession. 


After graduating from Eton with 12 GCSEs and three A-levels in 2000, Prince William decided to study art history at the University of St Andrews in Scotland enrolling simply as "William Wales". Before embarking on his studies in 2001, William took a gap year travelling to Chile, Kenya and New Zealand to carry out community and conservation work.

In an interview done to mark the start of his university course, William insisted he planned to continue as normal a life as possible. "I just want to go to university and have fun I want to be an ordinary student," he said, adding: "I'm only going to university. It's not like I'm getting married." 

Eighteen months into his studies, the Prince admitted his adjustment at St Andrews had been quite a rocky. "It's new surroundings, new scenery and I wasn't quite sure what to expect," he said in the run-up to his 21st birthday. Feeling "a little uneasy", and unsure about whether to continue or drop out, he went home during the holidays to get some solid advice from dad. 

"My father was very understanding about it and realised I had the same problems he probably had... In the end I definitely realised that I had to come back." William would eventually switch to studying Geography at university, and graduated with a 2.1 in 2005.

Meeting Kate Middleton

William's time at university was also helped greatly by the presence of fellow student and the future Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, who was one of his housemates. Friendship blossomed into romance and the Berkshire lass proved a hit with his father and brother when she joined them on family holidays. 

Whilst William remained reticent about marriage, royal observers noted that Kate's ever-increasing presence in the young Prince's life might soon lead to wedding bells. In 2007 the duo briefly went their separate ways, however the couple rekindled their romance soon after. 

The couple's short-lived split was perhaps prompted by the future King's desire to focus on his military career. After graduating from Sandhurst military academy in 2006, William went on to RAF Cranwell, where he earned his pilot's wings, and eventually gained a post with the search and rescue force. 


Engagement speculation about William and Kate reached fever pitch in 2010 after Kate's parents made a visit to Birkhall – Prince Charles’s private residence on the Balmoral estate. Soon after, Clarence House confirmed that William had indeed presented his sweetheart with Princess Diana's iconic sapphire ring, and that the couple were to wed the following year. 

On 29 April 2011, William and Kate exchanged vows in a magnificent ceremony held at Westminster Abbey and became known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Eighteen months after their wedding the Duke and Duchess announced they were expecting their first baby, and on 22 July 2013, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge (now Wales) was born. Named after the Queen's father and grandfather, the little Prince is expected to reign as George VII some time towards the end of the 21st century.

In September 2014, the royal couple shared more joyous news – the Duchess was expecting their second child. The pair's first daughter, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born 2 May 2015. The couple's third child, Prince Louis Arthur Charles was born 23 April 2018.

For more Prince William news, see here. For more on all the British Royals, click here.

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