Today Prince William celebrates his landmark 30th birthday, inheriting a fortune of £10 million left to him by his late mother Princess Diana in the process. It’s a big time in anyone’s life, but even more so when you’re the future King, and your every move is in the spotlight.
In the last few years the Prince and the rest of the Royal Family have enjoyed a huge boost in the popularity stakes, with the credit largely going to William’s wife Kate Middleton (now known as the Duchess of Cambridge), who has injected a new lease of life into the monarchy.
The couple, who married in April last year after meeting and falling in love during their time at St Andrews University, are now treated like celebrities with their every move charted in the press.
So on the day that Prince William marks the big 3-0, we take a look back at the key points in his life, which have led him to where he is today – a young man respected by the nation that he will one day serve as King.
The Prince was born at 9.03am on June 21 1982 at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington in London, weighing in at 7lb one-and-a-half ounces to parents Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Named Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, the young Royal was christened on August 4 1982 – which also happened to be the birthday of the Queen Mother – by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie, in the music room at Buckingham Palace.
The Prince’s life has been charted every since his birth, with the youngster filmed and photographed as he grew into an inquisitive toddler.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana delighted the public when they took a nine-month old William with them on an official tour of Australia and New Zealand, giving people overseas the chance to see the Royal youngster in person.
Aged three, William attended Mrs Mynor's Nursery School in west London, before moving on to Wetherby School and Ludgrove School in Berkshire. The Prince then studied at Eton College.
Then at the age of just 15, Prince William and his younger brother Prince Harry had to deal with the tragic death of their mother Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris, as her driver raced away from the press in a bid to protect the Princess's privacy.
The boys, in particular William, developed a severe dislike for the press, in particular photographers who followed his every move, and it was agreed that they would leave the young Princes largely in privacy to complete their education.
After school William took a gap year during which he travelled to Belize for jungle training with the Welsh Guards and a stint with Raleigh International in Chile. He also worked on a farm in Britain, milking cows and getting his hands dirty as he carried out manual labour, for an hourly wage of just £3.20.
Following his break, Wills then began his further education at St Andrews University in Scotland in 2011. It was here he met his future wife Kate Middleton, who was to become later known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Romance blossomed for the young prince and Kate, who started dating after moving in together along with other students from the university.
The couple both graduated in 2005, with William gaining a 2:1 in his MA.
They continued to date for some time, but split up briefly in 2007, amidst rumours that Kate was getting fed up of William’s reluctance to settle down and show her real commitment.
The couple got back together just a few months later, realising they were meant for one another, and in 2010 announced the news that everyone was waiting for – their engagement.
William presented Kate with the diamond and sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to his beloved mother, a key symbol of his love and respect for his bride-to-be.
Prince William and Kate married in a lavish ceremony in front of around 1,900 guests in April 2011, with the new Duchess of Cambridge wowing all in a striking lace Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown.
Since then, the couple have become hot property and every move they make is closely followed and charted by the world’s press. A tour to North America and Canada in summer last year saw the pair catapulted to international fame, with magazines, newspapers and TV stations desperate to catch a glimpse of the Royals.
They have continued to make a good impression during other Royal engagements, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee central weekend earlier this month, in addition to their many charity visits and other prestigious occasions.
Now, after marking their first year of marriage - and William’s comments about being keen to start a family with Kate – the nation excitedly waits for the news that the Royal pair have another big announcement to make.
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