Prince William of Wales, whose full name is William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten-Windsor, is the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, and second in the line of succession to the British throne.
He is the elder son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, born on 21 June 1982. His brother, third in line to the throne, is Prince Harry. William was the first royal prince to attend an ordinary primary school, rather than being educated at home. In other respects William's childhood was anything but typical. Wherever Prince William went, bodyguards (and photographers) were not far behind.
At the age of eight, William was sent to Ludgrove, a boarding school, where he shared a room with four other boys during his five years there. It was around this time that his parents separated, forcing William and Harry to divide their time between Charles and Diana when they were not in school. The Prince and Princess of Wales were both reportedly warm parents, but William was especially close to his mother. Diana broke royal protocol, by hugging the boys in public and taking them to amusement parks and McDonald's fast food restaurants. William received his secondary education at the exclusive Eton College, where he was generally treated as a normal pupil.
His world was shattered on 31st August, 1997 when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris. Despite his intense grief, William helped to make the arrangements for his mother's unusual funeral. It was his idea for Elton John to sing 'Candle in the Wind'. Prince William walked in the funeral procession with his father, brother and grandfather.
In 2000, Prince William graduated from Eton after passing three A-level exams and spent a year travelling and pursuing educational projects, before embarking on a History of Art degree at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he met his future wife.
After changing his main subject to Geography, William graduated in 2005 with a Master of Arts degree with upper-second class honours, the highest academic achievement of any heir to the British throne. The following year, William joined his brother at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst to train as an Army Officer. He passed out in December 2006, following his brother into the Blues and Royals regiment as a troop leader.
It was reported in October 2007 that William’s former Platoon Commander, Major Alexis Roberts, had been killed while on active duty in Afghanistan. The Prince was said to be deeply saddened by the news. 2006 was an important year for the young royal, as the Queen appointed William to two patronages of the Royal Navy. He became Commodore-in-Chief for Scotland and Commodore-in-Chief for submarines. He also started to carry out more public engagements in parallel with his military career.
William’s personal life has been the subject of intense media scrutiny. In 2005, the media began following his long-term relationship with then girlfriend Kate Middleton, formerly one of his university flatmates, whom he began dating in 2003. Interest in the couple reached new heights in January 2007, amid mounting speculation they were about to get engaged, when a paparazzi scrum formed outside Miss Middleton's home on her 25th birthday.
Days later the Press Complaints Commission circulated a letter from her solicitors, saying Miss Middleton was being harassed and a formal complaint would be made if paparazzi pictures continued to be used.
Prince William was appointed as a Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter on 23 April 2008, St George’s Day. He earned his wings by completing pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell. He went on to become a lieutenant in the Household Cavalry and started training to become a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force.
In January 2010, William graduated from the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury and by autumn of the same year, he had finished his generic and special-to-type helicopter training. This allowed the future king to be posted on Anglesey at RAF Valley on No. 22 Squadron where he performs co-pilot duties on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter.
Like his father, Prince Charles, and late mother, Prince William is president or patron to a variety of charities, including Centrepoint, which helps young homeless people, conservation charity Tusk Trust and the Child Bereavement Charity. In September 2009 The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry was set up to help them both forward their charitable ambitions. These will focus on three particular areas of interest for the Princes: young people, the environment and the armed forces.
Recently William has written articles for the press concerning the armed forces, including a piece for the Daily Express in November 2010 in support of a planned memorial in honour of the members of Bomber Command who fought during the Second World War. In November 2010 it was announced that Prince William was engaged to his long-term girlfriend, Kate Middleton. The couple met during their time at St Andrews University in Fife, Scotland, and have been together since. Their wedding was scheduled for 29 April 2011, which would have been the thirtieth anniversary of the marriage of his parents.
Not letting the upcoming wedding get in the way of his public engagements, Prince William supported England 2018, which was the Football Association's unsuccessful bid for the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the UK. In his capacity as the FA's president, the prince worked with prime minister David Cameron and England international David Beckham on the project. They all spoke as part of the slick presentation at Fifa's headquarters in Zurich, but their effort failed to attract any support from the football body's members.
In March 2011, with less than a month to his wedding, it was revealed that Prince William's brother and best man Prince Harry had hosted a secret stag do for the soon to be married heir to the throne. On 29 April 2011, all eyes were on Prince William when he married Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey. Just a few hours prior to his nuptials, William was made the Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathern and Baron Carrickfergus.
The Royal wedding was made a public holiday and around 300 million people watched William get married and enjoy his first kiss with Kate on the balcony outside Buckingham Palace. Prince William and Kate danced their first dance as a married couple to 'Your Song' performed by Ellie Goulding. Their reception lasted until 3am. Since then, the couple reportedly spent two weeks honeymooning in the Seychelles after William had been at work as an RAF pilot.
After their honeymoon, William was sent to the Falklands for ten weeks for RAF training and due to the remote location, his new wife couldn't join him. The couple have moved into an apartment at Kensington Palace which is where they will stay when they are in London. They claim their home is their rented cottage in Anglesey.
Last month, William followed in the footsteps of his mother Diana by visiting the Royal Marsden hospital, of which she was a patron. The Duke and Duchess met the children, who are being treated for various forms of cancer, at the hospital's new children's wing. On 19 October 2011, Prince William was named the most influential man in the world by an askmen.com survey.
On 22 July 2013, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge became the proud parents of a baby boy. Their son, the Prince of Cambridge, is third in line to the throne.
In April 2014, the young couple took a royal tour around New Zealand and Australia.