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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton's wedding.


Boisterous and at times rebellious as a child, Prince William has matured into a studious and sensitive young man. Born on June 21, 1982, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor is the eldest son of Diana, Princess of Wales and Charles, Prince of Wales. From an early age he was already breaking with tradition. The fact that his mother gave birth in London's St Mary's Hospital made him the first crown prince not to be born at the palace and, unlike his father and paternal grandmother, who had private tutors, he attended nursery school.

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In 1995, after spells at Wetherby prep school in Kensington and Ludgrove, he became the first future monarch to attend Eton College, one of Britain's most prestigious secondary schools. There he excelled at sports - particularly swimming - and settled down to become a serious student.

His parents divorced in 1996, and the following year he showed great strength in coping with the devastating news of his mother's death in a car crash in Paris. With immense courage he insisted on walking behind Princess Diana's hearse in the funeral procession. A year later, William issued a joint statement with his younger brother, Prince Harry, asking both press and public to let the two of them get on with their lives in peace. It was a tactic which proved largely successful, and the Prince voiced his appreciation at the tenth anniversary of the Press Complaints Commission in February 2001, his first official engagement.

After graduating from Eton with 12 GCSEs and three A-levels, William decided to study art history at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Adopting a modern approach to the monarchy, he asked to be enrolled simply as "William Wales".

Before embarking upon his studies in the autumn of 2001, William opted to take a gap year in order to travel. This included a ten-week stint doing community work in Chile, and 15 weeks studying conservation in Africa. Meanwhile, student applications skyrocketed at St Andrews, with British applications rising by 44 per cent and the number of overseas applicants doubling.

In an interview marking the start of his four years at the venerable institution, Wills insisted he planned to continue as normal a life as possible. "I just want to go to university and have fun I want to be an ordinary student," he said, adding: "I'm only going to university. It's not like I'm getting married though that's what it feels like sometimes."

And entering the next stage in his education wasn't all smooth sailing, with reports of the Prince changing courses or even dropping out entirely appearing in the press. Eighteen months into his studies, the Prince admitted his adjustment at St Andrews had been quite a rocky path. "It's new surroundings, new scenery and I wasn't quite sure what to expect," he said in the run-up to his 21st birthday. Feeling "a little uneasy", and unsure about whether to continue, he went home during the holidays to get some solid advice from dad. "My father was very understanding about it and realised I had the same problems he probably had... In the end we both realised I definitely realised that I had to come back."

Friends say he was also helped greatly by fellow-student Kate, who has since become his girlfriend. The pretty brunette has become an important figure in William's life, meeting the Queen and winning the approval of the rest of the royal family for her loyalty and good sense. Kate has received advice on dealing with the immense media interest, and William is keen to protect her safety with bodyguards when necessary. The pair share a love of the countryside coupled with the enjoyment of the bright lights of the city, and have become regulars at some of London's most exclusive eateries and night spots. While William remains reticent about marriage, royal observers note that Kate's ever-increasing presence in the young prince's life may well soon lead to wedding bells. As engagement speculation reached fever pitch in Winter 2010, following Kate's parents' hunting visit to Birkhall - Prince Charles’s private residence on the Balmoral estate - Clarence House announced the couple were to wed in 2011.

Despite his many commitments, the hunky royal spends a good deal of time at Windsor Castle with the Queen, who is very concerned with his upbringing and career development. Indeed, she could not hide her delight as she inspected the troops passing out of Sandhurst in December 2006, showing a grandmother's pride as William graduated from a year's military training to become an Army Officer. William has said he intends to spend a year on familiarisation attachments with the RAF and Navy, before devoting himself to the myriad of tasks facing the well-mannered, responsible future monarch. 

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