Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
SOS Children offer a complete download of this selection for schools for use on schools intranets. Before you decide about sponsoring a child, why not learn about different sponsorship charities first?
|Duke of Cambridge (more)|
|Prince William on his wedding day.|
|Spouse||Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge|
|William Arthur Philip Louis|
|House||House of Windsor|
|Father||Charles, Prince of Wales|
|Mother||Diana, Princess of Wales|
|Religion||Anglican (Church of England)|
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge KG FRS (William Arthur Philip Louis; born 21 June 1982) is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and third eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He is second in the line of succession, behind his father, to the thrones of sixteen independent sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Consequently, he is also second in line, again behind his father, to the position of Head of the Commonwealth (figurehead of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations) and, in England only, Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
He was educated at four schools in the United Kingdom and obtained a degree from the University of St Andrews. He spent parts of a gap year in Chile, Belize, and countries in Africa. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry—serving with his brother Prince Harry—and, two years later, earned his wings by completing pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell. In 2009, the Prince transferred to the Royal Air Force, was promoted to flight lieutenant and underwent helicopter flying training in order to become a full time pilot with the Search and Rescue Force. In Autumn 2010, he completed his general and special-to-type helicopter training and he is now at RAF Valley on No. 22 Squadron performing co-pilot duties on board a Sea King search and rescue helicopter. Prince William married his long-term girlfriend Catherine Middleton on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. Hours prior to his wedding, Prince William was created Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus.
| The Royal Family of the
United Kingdom and the
other Commonwealth realms
HM The Queen
Prince William was born at St Mary's Hospital, London on 21 June 1982. He was baptised in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 4 August 1982 (the 82nd birthday of his paternal great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie. William's godparents were: former King Constantine II of Greece (his paternal cousin); Princess Alexandra, The Hon Mrs Angus Ogilvy (his paternal cousin); the Duchess of Westminster; the Lady Susan Hussey; Lord Romsey (his paternal cousin); and Sir Laurens van der Post.
As a male-line grandchild of the sovereign and son of the Prince of Wales, William was styled 'His Royal Highness' 'Prince William of Wales', though he was affectionately called 'Wombat' by his parents or 'Wills' (the latter a name coined by the press by which he is still known by the general public). It was reported that, at age seven, the Prince said to his mother that he desired to be a police officer when he was older, so that he might be able to protect her; a statement to which his brother responded: "Oh, no you can't. You've got to be King." William's first public appearance was on 1 March 1991 ( Saint David's Day), during an official visit of his parents to Cardiff, Wales. After arriving by aeroplane, the Prince was taken to Llandaff Cathedral, where he signed the visitors' book, thereby demonstrating that he was left-handed. On 3 June 1991, William was admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital after having been hit on the side of the forehead by a fellow student wielding a golf club. The Prince did not lose consciousness, but did suffer a depressed fracture of the skull and was operated on at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, resulting in a permanent scar.
William's mother desired her two sons should have wider experiences than are usual for royal children. Diana took William and his brother to Walt Disney World and McDonald's; in addition they visited AIDS clinics and shelters for the homeless. She also bought them things typical teenagers used, such as video games. Diana, Princess of Wales, who was by then divorced from the Prince of Wales, died in a car accident in 1997. William, along with his brother and father, was staying at Balmoral Castle at the time, and the Prince of Wales waited until early the following morning to tell his sons about their mother's death. At his mother's funeral, William accompanied his father, brother, paternal grandfather, and maternal uncle in walking 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 and was privately tutored during summers by Rory Stewart. At Ludgrove he also participated in football—along with swimming, basketball, clay pigeon shooting, and cross-country running. William sat for 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 continued to play football, captaining his house team, and took up water polo. The decision to place William in Eton went against the family tradition of sending royal children to Gordonstoun (William's grandfather, father, two uncles, and two cousins all attended); it did, however, make the Prince follow in the Spencer family footsteps, as both Diana's father and brother had attended Eton. It was also agreed between the Royal Family and the tabloid press that William would be allowed to study free of paparazzi intrusion in exchange for regular updates of the Prince's life. Then chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, John Wakeham, 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, the Prince took a gap year, during which he took part in British Army training exercises in Belize, and, for ten weeks, taught children in the town of Tortel, in southern Chile, as part of the Raleigh International programme. It was during his time in the latter location that he lived with other young teachers, sharing in the common household chores, including cleaning the toilet, and also volunteered as the guest radio jockey for the local radio station.
By 2001 William was back in the United Kingdom and had enrolled, under the name William Wales, 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 the Prince. The extra attention did not deter him, though, and he embarked on a degree course in art history, later changing his main subject to geography, and going on to earn a Scottish Master of Arts degree with upper second class honours in geography—the best degree of any heir to the throne of Britain and the Commonwealth realms. While at university, Prince William also 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.
Royal duties and career
William began to accompany his parents on official visits at an early age; his first overseas royal tour was with his parents to Australia and New Zealand in 1983, a decision made by the Princess of Wales that was considered to be unconventional; not only was William so young, but both the first and second in line for the throne would be travelling together. However, he accompanied either both parents or his father on subsequent tours, and, upon graduation from university, began to undertake duties of his own, as well as obtaining experience in the private workforce when he worked with land management at Chatsworth House and interned at HSBC.
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. Having passed selection, William went up to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2006. Successfully completing the course, William graduated from Sandhurst on 15 December 2006, the graduation parade being attended by the Queen and the Prince of Wales, along with other members of the Royal Family, and William officially received his commission as a lieutenant at midnight. With his rank obtained, the Prince, under the name of William Wales, followed his younger brother into the Blues and Royals as a troop commander in an armoured reconnaissance unit, after which he spent four months in training for the post at Bovington Camp, Dorset.
Once officially enrolled and commissioned in the Armed Forces, William expressed a desire to participate in active service; in this there was a recent precedent of the service of his great-great-uncle Edward VIII who, as Prince of Wales, served in France during the First World War; his great-grandfather George VI who also served during World War I (with the Navy at the Battle of Jutland and in France with the Air Force); and his paternal grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who served with distinction during World War Two. More recently, his uncle the Duke of York served in the Falklands war. Though Major-General Sebastian Roberts, general officer commanding the Household Division, had said William being deployed was possible, the Prince's position as second in line to the throne, and the convention of ministers advising against the person in that position being put into dangerous situations, cast doubts on William's ability to see combat. These doubts increased after Prince Harry's deployment was cancelled in 2007, due to "specific threats". William, instead, went on to training 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 rank of lieutenant in the Army). With this complete, the Prince undertook an attachment with the Air Force, undergoing an intensive four-month training course at RAF Cranwell, which, upon completing the course on 11 April 2008, he was presented with his RAF wings by his father, who had himself received his wings after training at the same college. It was later revealed that it had been during this secondment that Prince William had helped to man a C-17 Globemaster to Afghanistan, during which he assisted in the repatriation of the body of Trooper Robert Pearson. The Prince had been affectionately known by his fellow airmen, and his callsign was designated, as Billy the Fish, a pun on his title.
William then moved to train with the Navy for two months, from June to August 2008, during which time 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 Royal Marines, before deploying for a further five weeks on HMS Iron Duke in the Caribbean. It was during this tour that the Prince took part in a secret underwater mission, as well as helping to identify and capture a small vessel that had been transporting an approximate £40 million worth of cocaine, and taking part in other raids.
Owing to William's future 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 always unlikely to be granted. William originally joined the military on a short-service commission lasting three years. However, it was announced in September 2008 that the Prince would be extending his time in the forces, first by taking on another secondment in the autumn of 2008 (including working at the MOD and non-operational flying with the Army Air Corps). Then it was announced that he would transfer from the Army to the RAF in order to train as a full time search and rescue helicopter pilot; this role enables him to take an active role as a member of the armed forces without him 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 on Anglesey to receive training on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter and graduated from this course 17 September 2010. It was announced on 15 April 2010 that William will remain at RAF Valley for his operational tour, being assigned to No. 22 Squadron and initially performing co-pilot duties. It is expected that William's operational tour will last 30 to 36 months.
William participated in his first rescue mission (as co-pilot of an RAF Sea King Helicopter) and responded on Saturday, 2 October 2010, to an emergency call from the Liverpool Coastguard. The prince, who was excited to finally take part in an active mission, and the other three members of the crew flew from their base at RAF Valley in Anglesey, North Wales, to an offshore gas rig in Morecambe Bay, northwest England. William and three other crew members picked up a man who had suffered an apparent heart attack on the rig and airlifted him to a local hospital.
At the age of 21, Prince William was appointed as a Counsellor of State, and began his royal duties by first serving in that capacity when the Queen was abroad to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2003, in Nigeria. For his 21st birthday, William also accompanied his father on a royal tour of Wales, where they visited the Anglesey Food Fair and opened a centre for the homeless in Newport. By July 2005, he was on his first solo overseas tour, travelling to New Zealand, on behalf of his grandmother in her role as Queen of New Zealand, to participate in World War II commemorations. 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 Ant & Dec. In July 2007, Prince William accompanied his grandmother's cousin The Duke of Kent, who is President of the UK Scout Association, in opening the 21st World Scout Jamboree, celebrating the centennial of the founding of the Scout Movement.
It was said in Tina Brown's 2007 biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, that Prince William had, like his father, expressed a desire to become Governor-General of Australia, though fulfillment of the idea was considered doubtful by then- Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, who 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, a private office was set up for William by his grandmother, with Sir David Manning being appointed as his adviser. Manning personally 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 as a Māori chief. In March 2011, William visited Christchurch, New Zealand, after the recent earthquake, and there addressed the memorial service at Hagley Park, on behalf of his grandmother. Upon leaving New Zealand, William travelled to Australia, where he made a visit to areas badly affected by flooding in the states of Queensland and Victoria. After twice accompanying his parents to Canada, the Prince, with his wife, is expected to officially tour the country in June and July 2011, attending Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill. Speculation in late 2009 that William would be taking over increasing numbers of the Queen's ceremonial and state duties has been denied by the Palace.
Following his parents' examples, William took interest in various causes from a relatively early age. The late Princess of Wales' work with HIV/AIDS aid and prevention, and the Prince of Wales' work with the natural environment and the inner-city disadvantaged, directed William into those areas. He also showed a desire to focus on the needy in Africa, sometimes working with his brother's charity, Sentebale.
On 23 January 2009, it emerged that Prince William had written the foreword to a book for the first time. The cover of Home from War, the autobiography of a soldier from the Prince's regiment who was seriously wounded in a Taliban ambush, notes his contribution.
Humanitarian and environmental causes
William became aware of HIV/AIDS in the mid 1990s, when his mother began to take her two sons to visit shelters and clinics for those suffering from the disease. In January 2005, Prince William and his brother volunteered at a British Red Cross aid distribution centre to pack emergency supplies for countries that were affected by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Later, in September, William granted his patronage to Centrepoint, a charity that assists the homeless. During the period when his mother had been patron of Centrepoint, he had accompanied her on visits to its headquarters and projects.
William also worked in the children's unit at The Royal Marsden Hospital for two days of work experience in 2005, as well as helping out in the medical research, catering, and fund raising departments. The same 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 previously been patron of the Royal Marsden Hospital) and he became attracted to Mountain Rescue England and Wales in order to, in his words, "highlight and celebrate the vital, selfless and courageous work of our mountain rescue organisations".
The Prince 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. William became associated with the organisation after he witnessed its work first hand when he was 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.
William plays polo for charitable causes and is a fan of football, supporting Aston Villa F.C. In May 2006, he became President of England's Football Association and vice royal patron of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in February 2007 (supporting the Queen as patron of the WRU). 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, with some believing it would have been more fitting to name the trophy after Ray Gravell.
In 2006, the Prince, along with other Sandhurst officers, took part in running one mile 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.
William is a noted follower of various packs of foxhounds throughout England and Wales, including the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt, with his father and brother since he was a very young child.
The Prince and his brother are both enthusiastic motorcyclists, with the Prince owning a Ducati 1198 S Corse.
Relationship with Catherine Middleton
During his years at university, William participated in university life; of himself he said: "I'm not a party animal, despite what some people might think." Like his father before him, William's private life became the subject of tabloid speculation, especially around his relationship with Catherine Middleton, who had been one of William's university flatmates and whom William began dating in 2003. Middleton attended the Prince's passing-out parade at Sandhurst, marking the first high-profile event that she attended as William's guest. The relationship between Prince William and Middleton was followed so closely that bookmakers took bets on the possibility of a Royal Wedding and the retail chain Woolworths produced memorabilia bearing the likenesses of the couple.
Media attention became so intense that William had to make a specific request to the paparazzi that they keep their distance from Middleton and himself. In March 2007, Middleton complained of media harassment by the Daily Mirror. It was reported in April 2007 that the couple had split, though in June, Middleton attended a party at Lulworth Army Barracks as the guest of Prince William, and in July the Concert for Diana, which had been organised by Princes William and Harry. In August, she accompanied William on holiday in the island of Des Roches in the Seychelles, and in October she joined Prince Charles and Prince Harry for a shooting party at Balmoral. In June 2008, along with the Royal Family, Middleton attended William's investiture into the Order of the Garter.
Middleton was formally introduced to public life by William on 24 February 2011 when she and William attended a lifeboat naming ceremony in Trearddur, North Wales.
Engagement and wedding
On 16 November 2010 it was announced by Clarence House that William and Middleton were to marry. The engagement ring given to Middleton was the 18 carat sapphire engagement ring of Diana, Princess of Wales; two studs were fastened inside the ring to make it fit Catherine's thinner ringfinger. Clarence House, the official residence of Charles and his sons William and Harry, announced on the same day that the couple became engaged in Kenya in October, as Prince William confirmed in a widely circulated television interview beamed from London.
The wedding took place on 29 April 2011 in Westminster Abbey, London. The day was made a bank holiday in the UK. The wedding was watched by a global television audience of over two billion people.
A few hours before the wedding, it was announced that William had become Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. Titles bestowed by the sovereign are "customary on the occasion of a royal wedding".
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
|Royal styles of
HRH The Duke of Cambridge
|Reference style||His Royal Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Royal Highness|
- 21 June 1982 – 29 April 2011: His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales
- 29 April 2011 – present: His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge
The Prince's style and title in full is His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Master of Arts. As a British prince, William does not use a surname for everyday purposes. For formal and ceremonial purposes, the children of Princes of Wales, like the children of Royal Dukes, use the title of Prince or Princess before their Christian name and their father's territorial designation after it. So Prince William was "Prince William of Wales". Such area-based surnames 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.
For the male-line grandchildren of Elizabeth II, however, there is currently some uncertainty over the correct form of family surname to use, or whether there even is a surname. The Queen has stipulated all her male-line descendants who do not bear the titular dignity of prince shall use Mountbatten-Windsor as their family surname (although Letters Patent exist stipulating the name Windsor, but with the same caveat). According to their flight suits as seen in television interviews (before Prince William's creation as Duke of Cambridge), Princes William and Harry use Wales as their surname for military purposes.
On the morning of his wedding, the Queen conferred the titles Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus upon William. Once he becomes heir to the throne, it is expected that he will be invested as Prince of Wales, although this is not automatic. In addition, on his father's accession to the throne, William, as the eldest son of the sovereign, will become Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. If William succeeds to the throne and uses his first given name as his regnal name, he would be known as William V.
William succeeded Lord Attenborough in 2010 as the fifth President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
- January 2006– 16 December 2006: Officer Cadet
- 16 December 2006 – 16 December 2006: Cornet ( Second Lieutenant), The Blues and Royals (short service commission)
- 16 December 2006– 1 January 2009 : Lieutenant, The Blues and Royals
- 1 January 2008– 1 January 2009: Flying Officer, Royal Air Force
- 1 January 2008– 1 January 2009 : Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Navy
- 1 January 2009– present: Lieutenant, Royal Navy
- 1 January 2009– present: Captain, The Blues and Royals (and transferred to a full regular commission)
- 1 January 2009– present: Flight Lieutenant, Royal Air Force
- 23 April 2008– present: Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG)
- 6 July 2009– present: Member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
- 6 July 2009– present: Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
- 23 June 2010– present: Royal Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
Prince William, upon his appointment to the order, became the 1,000th member of the register of the Order of the Garter; he was officially invested by the Queen into the order on 16 June 2008, at a service at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. The last time a monarch had appointed a grandchild into the Order of the Garter was in 1894, when Queen Victoria invested Prince Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
- Foreign honours
Honorary military appointments
- 8 August 2006– present: Commodore-in-Chief of HMNB Clyde
- 8 August 2006– present: Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy Submarine Service
- 8 August 2006– present: Commodore-in-Chief of Scotland
- 3 October 2008– present: Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Coningsby
- 10 February 2011– present: Colonel of the Irish Guards
|Ancestors of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge|
William is a male line descendant of Elimar I, Count of Oldenburg, and as such a member of the House of Oldenburg, one of Europe's oldest royal houses, and more specifically the cadet branch known as the House of Glücksburg, founded by his paternal ancestor Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. This fact notwithstanding, William officially belongs exclusively to the House of Windsor, by royal decree of Queen Elizabeth II. His male line ancestors 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 11 counts of Oldenburg, two dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, five dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck and one duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
Among his other recent, cognatic ancestors on his father's side are notably members of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the House of Battenberg, the main line of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, the House of Hesse-Kassel and the House of Hohenzollern. Among his distant cognatic ancestors are also Henry IV and James II and VII. Should he become king, William would be the first monarch since Queen Anne to be descended from Charles I and Charles II, as his mother was descended from two of Charles's II illegitimate sons, Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, and Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond. Through his father, William is of German and English descent, and through his mother's family, the Spencers, William is of English descent and of remote Irish, Scottish and American descent.
He is also descended from many of the pre-Union monarchs of Scotland and the pre-Conquest monarchs of England, and many notable foreign monarchs including, Peter I of Russia ("Peter the Great"), Catherine II of Russia ("Catherine the Great"), Afonso I of Portugal, Andrew II of Hungary, Ferdinand II of Aragon, Isabella I of Castile, and early French kings.