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Prince William

Prince William in Wales
Left-hander Prince William, the elder son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana celebrated his 21st birthday on 21st June.

Handsome and photogenic, bearing a striking resemblance to his mother, the prince appears to offer the best chance of survival to a monarchy lacking in glamour and rocked by scandals for 15 years. But he seems reluctant to take on a destiny made up of privilege and duty.

Born on June 21, 1982, William Arthur Philip Louis Wales had an education that was a little less rigid - all things remaining in perspective - than other royal children. There were no tutors, but private nursery and primary schools, then the posh Eton boarding school, mould of the British aristocracy. His mother always tried to give him an insight into life outside the gilded palaces, with occasional excursions to McDonald's or the cinema.

An athletic 1.90 metre (six feet three inches) tall, William inherited from his father his love of outdoor sports like hunting and polo. But his life has not been easy, with widely-reported spats between his parents until their divorce in 1996, and especially the horrendous loss of his mother in a Paris car crash in August 1997. This could be one of the reasons for his reluctance to play the public role that Queen Elizabeth and her courtiers would love to see him take on.

Nearly 300 guests joined him on 21st June for a costume ball with the theme "Out of Africa" at Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth II's residences west of London. But nothing is expected to change in his daily life: the prince still refuses to use the title "Royal Highness" to which he has the right, along with all the other titles that his father had inherited at 21.

He will pursue his studies at St Andrews University in Scotland, where he has for the last two years tried to live as discreetly as possible. Under an agreement reached with Prince Charles, the media agreed to respect his private life during his studies. Unlike his father at the same age, William refuses to be served by a valet or chauffeur.

He shares a flat with three students, does his own shopping at the supermarket, wears jeans and pullovers with holes in them, and likes to meet his friends over a cider in the pub.

William with a celebratory birthday cake in Wales on June 19th 2003


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