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Encyclopedia > Prince William
HRH Prince William of Wales
William Arthur Philip Louis

His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales (William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten-Windsor) (born June 21, 1982) is a member of the British Royal Family, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and first son of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. Prince William is second in the line of succession to the British throne, after his father and before his brother Prince Harry.

Prince William is expected to ascend the throne of the United Kingdom and the 15 other Commonwealth Realms at some point in the future, but only when both The Queen and the Prince of Wales are deceased. He may become Prince of Wales when his father, the current Prince of Wales, is King, or if his father were to predecease the Queen.



British Royal Family

HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
HRH The Prince of Wales
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
(as of April 8, 2005)
   HRH Prince William of Wales
   HRH Prince Henry of Wales
HRH The Duke of York
   HRH Princess Beatrice of York
   HRH Princess Eugenie of York
HRH The Earl of Wessex
HRH The Countess of Wessex
   Lady Louise Windsor
HRH The Princess Royal
HRH The Duke of Gloucester
HRH The Duchess of Gloucester
HRH The Duke of Kent
HRH The Duchess of Kent
HRH Prince Michael of Kent
HRH Princess Michael of Kent
HRH Princess Alexandra

Prince William was born on June 21, 1982 at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, West London. His father is HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His mother was the late Diana, Princess of Wales (nee Lady Diana Spencer), the former wife of the Prince of Wales who died in 1997. He has a younger brother, HRH Prince Harry of Wales. As a grandchild of the British monarch in the male line, he was styled His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales. He is sometimes nicknamed Wills.

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.

In 2004, the American television network, NBC broadcast tapes of Prince William's mother, Diana as she described a suicide attempt while pregnant with William. It is now known that Diana suffered postnatal depression after the birth of William.


Prince William attended the Mrs Jane Mynors' nursery school and the pre-prep Wetherby School both in West London. He later attended Ludgrove School in Berkshire. William was the first British prince to attend a primary school. He later attended the prestigious Eton College in Windsor. He studied geography, biology and history of art at A-level.

After completing his A-levels, Prince William chose to attend the University of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. He embarked on a degree course in Arts History, although he later changed his main subject to Geography. He is currently in his final year at the university. Prince William stays in a modest apartment in the town of St Andrews and is often found in the nearby city of Edinburgh.

Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

On 31 August 1997 Prince William's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales was 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 and were woken from their sleep by their father, Charles, to be told the tragic news.

At Diana's funeral, Prince William accompanied his father and brother and his grandfather, Prince Philip, and his uncle, the Earl Spencer to walk behind Diana's funeral cortege from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. Both William and Harry were praised for the strength they showed on that day.

During his eulogy, the Earl Spencer promised that the Spencer family would take an active interest in looking after Diana's children, although William saw little of him and Diana's mother in future years.

Gap Year

Like many 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.

Pictures were also broadcast worldwide of the young prince, along with his father Prince Charles learning to drive a Humvee under the supervision of military officers at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The instructors had to stress beforehand to the two royals that despite its deceiving appearance, the Humvee was in fact only for use on the road and could not float. It may be noted however that they did manage to take the Humvee through a few puddles without sinking.


Prince William is known to be wary of the media and tries to avoid the spotlight. When Paul Burrell was publishing his story of his time working with Diana, Princess of Wales, William issued a statement with his brother condemning those people who disrespect her memory. His uncle, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex was also criticised for breaking media guidelines on reporting on Prince William during his education at St Andrews by sending a TV crew to film him.

Future King

As the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, it is expected that William will ascend the throne at some point in the future. It has been suggested that Prince Charles, Prince of Wales may renounce his right to succeed in favour of William, who is more popular than Charles. The Queen is known to spend time with William, tutoring him on his future role. If William decides to use his first name as King, he will be known as King William V upon ascending the throne.

At the present, however, Prince William is relatively free of royal responsibility. He currently does not carry out official engagements on behalf of the Queen. He also announced his intention not to use the style His Royal Highness while at university, however this is still his official style as reported in the Court Circular. The future bride for William is also subject to speculation. Many young and eligible women have been linked to the prince

Like his mother, William is said to possess a strong dislike for excessive royal protocol, and desires greater personal independence. Some journalists have even speculated that William may choose not to become king at all, so frustrated by the monarchy's restraints is he. Needless to say, such claims are largely empty speculation at this point, as the Prince, like all members of the immediate royal family, does not give open interviews.

Prince William's 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle was marred by a breach of security which saw the self styled 'Comedy Terrorist', Aaron Barschak scale the walls of the castle and enter William's party, storming the stage where William was giving a speech before being arrested.

Style and arms

Coat of Arms of HRH Prince William of Wales

Prince William is styled as a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with the style His Royal Highness.

On his 18th birthday, his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II granted Prince William 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.

See Also

Preceded by:
HRH The Prince of Wales
Line of Succession to the British throne Followed by:
HRH Prince Henry of Wales

  Results from FactBites:
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The Royal Family > HRH The Prince of Wales and family > Prince William (688 words)
Prince William is the eldest son of The Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince William Arthur Philip Louis was born on 21 June 1982 at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, in London.
Prince William's first public appearance was on a visit to Wales on St David's Day (1 March), at a service at Llandaff Cathedral, aged 8.
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