Catherine Middleton, Diana Princess of Wales, HRH The Prince of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer, Prince Charles, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William Duke of Cambridge, Prince William of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, The Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke of Cambridge
Official photo released on The Duke of Cambridge’s 38th birthday.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, KG, KT, PC, ADC (William Arthur Philip Louis; born June 21, 1982) is a member of the British royal family. He is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales. Since birth, he has been second in the line of succession to the British throne.
HRH The Duke of Cambridge
His father is HRH The Prince of Wales eldest son and heir to the throne of HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and her husband HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
His mother, Diana, Princess of Wales was born Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997) the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (1924–1992), and Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp (née Roche; 1936–2004). The Spencer family had been closely allied with the British royal family for several generations; Diana’s grandmothers, Cynthia Spencer, Countess Spencer and Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy, had served as ladies-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
HRH The Prince of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales
Prince William was born at Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, London, at 9:03 pm on June 21, 1982 as the first child of Charles, Prince of Wales—heir apparent to Queen Elizabeth II—and Diana, Princess of Wales. His names, William Arthur Philip Louis, were announced by Buckingham Palace on June 28.
Prince William was baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 4 August 4, the 82nd birthday of his paternal great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. He was the first child born to a Prince and Princess of Wales since the birth of Prince John in 1905.
William’s mother wanted him and his younger brother Prince Henry (Harry) to have wider experiences than are usual for royal children. She took them to Walt Disney World and McDonald’s, as well as AIDS clinics and shelters for the homeless, and bought them items typically owned by teenagers, such as video games. Diana, who was by then divorced from Charles, died in a car accident in the early hours of August 31, 1997.
Prince William, then aged 15, together with his 12-year-old brother and their father, were staying at Balmoral Castle at the time. The Prince of Wales waited until his sons awoke the following morning to tell them about their mother’s death. William accompanied his father, brother, paternal grandfather Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and his maternal uncle Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, at his mother’s funeral; they walked behind the funeral cortège from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.
The decision to place William in Eton went against the family tradition of sending royal children to Gordonstoun, which William’s grandfather, father, two uncles, and two cousins all attended. Diana’s father and brother both attended Eton. The royal family and the tabloid press agreed William would be allowed to study free from intrusion in exchange for regular updates about his life.
After completing his studies at Eton, William took a gap year, during which he took part in British Army training exercises in Belize, worked on English dairy farms, visited Africa, and for ten weeks taught children in southern Chile. By 2001, William was back in the United Kingdom and had enrolled at the University of St Andrews. The extra attention did not deter him; he embarked on a degree course in Art History, later changing his main subject to Geography, and earned a Scottish Master of Arts degree with upper second class honours in 2005.
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. He passed selection and was admitted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2006. After completing the course, William was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at Sandhurst on 15 December 2006; the graduation parade was attended by the Queen and the Prince of Wales, along with other members of the Royal Family.
Prince William officially received his commission as a lieutenant at midnight. As “Lieutenant Wales”—a name based on his father’s title Prince of Wales—he followed his younger brother into the Blues and Royals as a troop commander in an armoured reconnaissance unit, after which he spent five months training for the post at Bovington Camp, Dorset.
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 January 26, 2010, he transferred to the Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley, Anglesey, to receive training on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter; he graduated from this course on September 17, 2010. This made him the first member of the British royal family since King Henry VII to live in Wales.
In November 2011, he participated in a search-and-rescue mission involving a cargo ship that was sinking in the Irish Sea; William, as a co-pilot, helped rescue two sailors.
William was deployed to the Falkland Islands for a six-week tour with No. 1564 Flight from February to March 2012. The Argentine government condemned the Duke’s deployment to the islands close to the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Falklands War as a “provocative act”.
In June 2012 Prince William gained a qualification to be captain or pilot in command of a Sea King rather than a co-pilot. His active service as an RAF search-and-rescue pilot ended in September 2013.
Prince William’s private life became a subject of tabloid speculation, especially around his relationship with Catherine Middleton, one of William’s university flatmates whom William began dating in 2003. Middleton attended William’s passing-out parade at Sandhurst, which was the first high-profile event that she attended as his guest.
On November 16, 2010, Clarence House announced that Prince William and Middleton were to marry; the couple had become engaged in Kenya in October. The engagement ring given by William to Catherine had belonged to his mother.
The wedding took place on April 29, 2011 in Westminster Abbey, London. A few hours before the ceremony, Her Majesty the Queen ennobled Prince William with new peerage titles Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus were announced.
His wife’s first pregnancy was announced on December 3, 2012. She was admitted on July 22, 2013 to the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, London, where Prince William had been delivered. Later that day, she gave birth to Prince George. On September 8, 2014, it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with her second child. She was admitted on May 2, 2015 to the same hospital and gave birth to Princess Charlotte. The Duchess’s third pregnancy was announced on September 4, 2017; Prince Louis was born on April 23, 2018.