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- Dec 7, 2010 1:24 PM Royal couple interview makes money for charity
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Prince William of Wales (William Arthur Philip Louis; born 21 June 1982), KG, is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As such, he is second in the line of succession to the thrones of 16 independent states, although he is resident and most directly involved with the United Kingdom, the oldest realm.
Following his education at various schools around the United Kingdom, obtaining a degree from the University of St Andrews, and spending parts of a gap year in Chile, Belize, and countries in Africa, William enrolled in the military. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry – serving with his brother – 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 with the aim of becoming a full time pilot with the Search and Rescue Force. As of 2010, he has completed his generic helicopter training and is now at RAF Valley's Search and Rescue Training Unit receiving training on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter.
Prince William was born at St Mary's Hospital in London, England, on 21 June 1982, the first child of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and third grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. According to a bet taker at a horse race at Windsor Castle in 2004, "We ran a bet before Prince William was born on what his name would be. About an hour before the announcement, a very large bet came in for 'William', and I've suspected that the wager came from the palace since." 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 King Constantine II of Greece; Sir Laurens van der Post; Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy; Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster; Norton Knatchbull, Baron Brabourne; and Susan Hussey, Baroness Hussey of North Bradley. 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 or Wills by his parents.
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 that he, along with his younger brother, not just have "normal" experiences that other royal children had not had until later in life, if at all, but also more profound lessons, taking both boys to locales that ranged from Disney World and McDonald's to AIDS clinics and shelters for the homeless. She also bought them things typical teenagers used like 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. Education
Continuing on his father's precedent, 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, after passing the entrance exams, was admitted to Eton College, where 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 Ludgrove he also participated in football – along with swimming, basketball, clay pigeon shooting, and cross-country running. 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 child: 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 graduating from 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 disk 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 the number of applications to St Andrews to swell, 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 highest honours of any heir to the British and other Commonwealth realms' thrones. 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 to understand.
Prince William (second from left) in uniform, with the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour, 2007.
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 grandmother's uncle Edward VIII who, as Prince of Wales, served in France during the First World War; his great-grandfather George VI who served at the Battle of Jutland in the same conflict; 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 Henry'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, which also uses a part of his father's title for his surname.
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.
Due 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 has started training 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 the 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. He is expected to graduate from RAF Valley in late summer 2010. Once his training is completed in 2010, it is expected that William's operational tour will last 30 to 36 months. 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.
William during the opening ceremony of the 21st World Scout Jamboree.
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 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, and, 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 January 2010, Prince William toured Auckland and Wellington, on behalf of his grandmother in her role as Queen of New Zealand. As the Queen's representative, Prince William opened the new building of the Supreme Court of New Zealand. 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.
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