18 JUNE 2007

Prince William's long term plans after leaving the Army have begun to take shape, with the news that he plans to quit his military career as early as 2009 to concentrate on learning 'the art of kingship'. While the future King has always known he would not - unlike his brother Harry - become a career soldier, it had been thought his time with the Armed Forces might have lasted longer.

Instead, after familiarising himself with the work of the RAF and Royal Navy next year, William will devote himself to charitable endeavours and taking a more prominent role in events like Remembrance Sunday. Royal sources are keen to emphasise though that the Prince, currently on a tank training course in Dorset, is utterly committed to his present position.

"William isn't the kind of man who just wants to put on medals and parade about," declared an aide. "As a future head of the Armed Forces, he wants to know what these men and women have been through first hand."

On the eve of his 25th birthday this Thursday, William is said to be a young man coming to terms with his destiny, helped by his younger brother, to whom he has grown increasingly close in recent years.

The young royal has already become a high-profile supporter of organisations such as Centrepoint, the homeless charity his mother Princess Diana backed so staunchly. On Saturday, the causes he champions were on the receiving end of £75,000 after the Prince rode in a charity polo match.

Among the organisations to benefit was the Henry Van Straubenzee fund, which was set up in memory of a Ludgrove school friend, who died in a car crash aged 18. The young man's parents founded the trust to sponsor a primary school in Uganda where their son was due to have taught during his gap year.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The future King - seen here chatting to children at a polo match - is to be groomed for his destiny as sovereign after leaving behind the Army in 2009Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
William's participation in the match helped raise £75,000 for good causes, including a trust in memory of a schoolfriend who died in 2002Photo: © Getty Images

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