“My guiding principles in life are to be honest, genuine, thoughtful and caring.”—Prince William.
He’s the Duke of Cambridge, second-in-line to the throne of the United Kingdom, and he’s been a media darling for years. Son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, William spent his childhood caught up in the attention which surrounded his parents. Growing up the son of a royal family is a unique position, so what’s William done with that position? How did the media circus influence him?
From the incredible highs to the tragic lows, here are 42 little-known facts about Prince William.
Prince William Facts
42. That’s What They Call Me
As a boy, William was given the nickname “Wombat” by his parents. The media, meanwhile, gave him the less imaginative nickname “Wills.”
41. Chasing that Diploma
William actually contains the highest level of education of anyone in the Royal Family. He has an MA in Geography from the University of St. Andrews.
40. Mommy’s Stubborn
When William was just nine months old, he was involved in a serious break from Royal Family protocol. His mother, Princess Diana, took him along with her when she and Prince Charles travelled to Australia and New Zealand for a royal tour. Normally, children were never taken on such tours, but Diana put her foot down.
39. Synced Up Celebrations
William was baptized on August 4, 1982. Interestingly, that date also happened to be the 82nd birthday of his great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, mother to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
38. Duke Bill
After he married Catherine Middleton, they were given the titles Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We just hope the Queen also got them some things off their wedding registry!
37. Don’t Argue with Mom
According to Prince Charles, he and Diana had disagreed on what William’s name should be. Diana’s choice ultimately became William’s first name, while Charles’ first choice, Arthur, became his second name. Fair enough.
36. Inheriting the Job
In 2014, William became the president of the British Sub-Aqua Club, the national governing party which oversees recreational diving in the United Kingdom. William isn’t the first member of his family to do so; his father and grandfather all served as presidents in the past.
35. When Will Met Kate
William was studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland when he came across Catherine Middleton. Initially becoming friends, their relationship turned to romance when they shared an apartment with some mutual friends during their second year at the university.
34. For the Cause
In keeping with that stereotype of upper-class rich people, William is an accomplished polo player. However, he uses those skills for good; he regularly takes part in polo matches for charity.
33. Don’t Mind Them, They’re Bored
William and Catherine Middleton provided a lot of media fodder with their relationship, including their long dating period without an engagement. Gossip writers attached the nickname “Waity Kate” on Middleton for this reason. Very original, fellas.
While he was at the University of St. Andrews, he was often known as “Steve” by his friends and classmates to avoid bringing unwanted attention to him. This makes us wonder if he ever wore fake glasses with a bushy moustache as well.
31. I’m a Big Fan!
At 13 years old, William harbored a childhood crush on supermodel Cindy Crawford. Because he is a prince and his mother was Princess Di, Crawford was invited to lunch at Kensington Palace to meet her young admirer.
30. Make it of Marble and Gold
In 2017, the 20th year after their mother’s passing, William and his brother, Harry, commissioned a statue of Princess Diana to stand in Kensington Palace. The work is expected to be done by 2019.
29. Missing You, Mom
The brothers also commissioned two documentaries in honor of Princess Diana, which were both produced and released in 2017. The first one, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, followed her life, while Diana, 7 Days, focused on the last week of her life and the aftermath of her passing. William was among the many people interviewed for the documentaries.
In 2005, William embarked on a military career, passing selection with the Regular Commissions Board in Wiltshire. Following this, he enrolled at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2006.
27. First Child
William’s firstborn son, George Alexander Louis, was born on July 22, 2013. He shares the name George with William’s great-grandfather, who had the royal name of George VI, and the name Louis with the Earl of Mountbatten, who was a mentor and father figure to William’s father. Additionally, the name “Alexander” could be a reference to Alexandra, Queen Elizabeth II’s middle name.
26. Crown for a Badge?
William’s initial career choice was a police officer. However, his brother put an end to that ambition when he pointed out that William would have to become King.
25. Hands-On Dad
Upon the birth of his son, George, it was very important to William that he be able to personally drove his wife and son home from the hospital. While this would seem like an utterly normal thing to do, William broke tradition by taking on that role himself rather than having someone else drive them.
According to William’s friends, especially those who served with him the Royal Air Force, they played many pranks on him. Their favorite prank is buying “Will & Kate” merchandise and hiding it in William’s home for him to find randomly.
23. Second Child
William’s daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, was born on May 2, 2015. She shares her middle names with William’s mother and grandmother, while her first name is a female version of Charles, William’s father.
22. Diamond and Sapphire
When William became engaged to Middleton, he used his mother’s former engagement ring. William’s brother, Harry had initially inherited the ring, but the two brothers made an agreement that whoever got engaged first would be able to use that ring.
21. Bilingual Fellow
When William visited the Canadian province of Quebec, he gave a speech to a mainly French-speaking audience. However, he was able to deliver his speech in French, avoiding the need for a translator.
20. The Shadow of the Crown
After his brother, Prince Harry, had his 2007 deployment canceled due to specific threats against him, William’s attempts to serve in the armed forces was put at risk. However, William persisted in his training, eventually being transferred to Afghanistan in 2008. Despite that, a long-term military career wasn’t on the cards for William, given his place in line for the throne.
19. Third Child
William’s second son, Louis Arthur Charles, was born on April 23, 2018. In addition to sharing one name with his older brother—are they running out of names?—Louis also shares his middle name with his grandfather’s first name.
18. Another Family Tradition?
William’s birth in St. Mary’s Hospital marked him as “the first heir to the throne to ever be born in a hospital.” His two eldest children would also be born there, as well as his brother, Prince Harry.
17. Popular Guy
William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding ceremony was watched by no fewer than 1.5 billion people. That’s more than a sixth of the world’s population!
On his first ever public appearance in 1991, the young William visited Llandaff Cathedral in Wales. William revealed that he was left-handed to the world when he signed the visitor’s book. Apparently, this got in the way of William’s polo-playing, since the game forbids using your left hand. Rather than change the rules to be more inclusive, William learned how to play with his right hand out of sheer determination.
15. Seeing the Holy Land
William is the first British royal to have officially visited Israel and Palestine since the British Mandate expired in 1948. He visited in June 2018, meeting with the Israeli president and prime minister, as well as the Palestinian president.
14. Following in Mom’s Footsteps
To fight the social stigmas placed on those suffering of AIDS, Princess Diana would visit clinics and shelters offering help and support to AIDS patients. Often, she would take her sons with her, opening their eyes to the realities of the disease at an early age. William would also accompany his mother when Diana was a supporter of Centrepoint, a charity which focused on helping the homeless.
In the early 2000s, an adult William would become a patron of Centrepoint as well.
13. Eton Boy
Unlike his father, uncles, and cousins, William did not attend any part of his education at Gordonstoun School. One reason might be the fact that William’s father, Charles initially expressed his extreme dislike for the school—though he later amended his statement to describe a more positive view of the school. William went to Eton, where his maternal grandfather had also studied.
While he was working with the Royal Air Force services, William saved several lives when he was involved in rescue missions. He was involved in airlifting a man suffering from a heart attack off of an off-shore gas rig, as well as rescuing two sailors from a sinking cargo ship in the Irish Sea.
11. Leave My Girlfriend Alone!
Ever since they began dating in 2003, William and Catherine Middleton were subjected to such scrutiny by the media and public that bookmakers accepted bets on whether their relationship would result in marriage. William even took the time to directly address the press and insist they keep give Middleton her space.
10. Who Doesn’t Love Elephants?
While spending time in Africa, William witnessed firsthand the actions of the Tusk Trust. This is a charity which focuses on “conserving wildlife and initiating community development, including providing education, across Africa.” William became a patron of the organization in 2005.
9. Early Speed Bumps
Believe it or not, Will and Kate originally broke off their relationship in 2007. Allegedly, William called off their relationship because of his reluctance to enter a marriage. His father, Prince Charles, also weighed in and cautioned him from rushing into a relationship like he’d done with Princess Diana. Of course, William and Middleton got back together a few months later, and the rest became history.
8. Can You Also Talk to Golf Balls?
In 1991, when William was around nine years old, he was struck by a golf club swung by one of his classmates. He suffered a depressed fracture on his skull, which required hospitalization. To this day he carries a scar which William himself dubbed his “Harry Potter scar” because of the way “it glows sometimes and some people notice it—other times they don’t notice it at all.”
7. The Welsh Prince
William does not use a surname in everyday life. This is part of the protocol with princes and princesses in the Royal Family. Before he was given any title of his own, William was addressed by his “father’s territorial designation.” Thus, since his father is known as the Prince of Wales, William’s was ceremoniously called “Prince William of Wales.”
6. Kiwi Fan?
When it comes to the Royal Family, they’re obligated to travel abroad in an ambassador-like role representing the UK to the world. William is no exception, having frequently traveled as a member of the Royal Family. When it comes to his official visits, William has visited 28 countries. Of those countries, he’s visited the US and Germany twice, Australia and Belgium three times, Canada and France four times, and New Zealand five times.
5. My Travels
After finishing his studies at Eton, William embarked on a series of different jobs around the world. These included army training in Belize, visiting Africa, working on dairy farms in England, and teaching children for ten weeks in Chile.
4. I Call That a Bust
During his training with the Royal Navy, William spent time on active boats and submarines. One such example was a deployment on the HMS Iron Duke for five weeks while it was stationed in the Caribbean. While part of the ship’s crew, William “took part in a joint operation with the United States Coast Guard.” This operation was a raid, capturing a speedboat loaded with enough cocaine to be worth $40 million!
3. Wide Awake
William later admitted that the night before his wedding, he had gotten just a half hour of sleep. His nervousness over the big day, coupled with the crowd outside of his father’s house, meant that he couldn’t get longer than hour of sleep. We’re amazed he looked so composed, to be honest.
2. Who Wants That Attention?
William was just 15 years old when he woke up one morning and was informed by his father that his mother, Princess Diana, had died in a car accident.
Amidst the royal family’s polarizing response to Diana’s death in 1997, it was William’s grandfather, Prince Philip, who convinced William and Harry to walk behind her coffin. When the young princes were apprehensive, Philip reportedly told his eldest grandson, “If you don’t walk, I think you’ll regret it later. If I walk, will you walk with me?” At the funeral, Philip, William, Harry, Charles, and Diana’s brother followed the bier all the way from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, as millions watched.
1. Mama’s Boy
It’s never easy when your parents divorce, but we can imagine it only gets worse when one of your parents is a member of the Royal Family and millions of people are eating up any scrap of gossip they can find about you and your parents. In William’s case, there was a big scandal over whether his mother, Diana, could keep the title of “Princess” after she divorced Prince Charles. While the Queen was okay with Diana having the title of “Royal Highness”, Charles was insistent on her relinquishing the title. For his part, the young William apparently quipped “Don’t worry, Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am King.”