The Untold Truth Of Prince William

Prince William's life might look like a modern day fairytale, but the life of the future king of England is a much taller order than one would expect. After he and Kate Middleton took a trip to Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas in 2022, William issued a statement about his updated approach to the monarchy.

"I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future," he wrote. "In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon." William also offered what it means to be king. ​​"Catherine and I are committed to service. For us that's not telling people what to do," he added. "It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have."

While the tone of William's statement is a positive one, it seems that few things proceed in the monarchy without some hiccups. Even William and Kate's trip to the Caribbean had moments of colonialist undertones. What's more, there has been ongoing drama between William and Prince Harry, after the latter stepped down as a senior member of the royal family. For starters, William reportedly did not appreciate when Harry said that to live a royal life was to be trapped. Nevertheless, during a 2007 interview with NBC News, William candidly said of his and Harry's royal status: "There's a lot of baggage that comes with us, trust me, a lot of baggage."

Why Prince William's birth was a historical moment

Prince William marked a new chapter for the British monarchy without even knowing it when he was born in the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital on June 21, 1982. Princess Diana elected to give birth to him in a hospital rather than a royal residency, making him the first future king to be born in a hospital. But Diana also revolutionized the way in which royal women gave birth. Sheila Kitzinger, who was hired to advise the Lindo Wing in the 1980s, told the Daily Mail how she helped Diana through a natural birth, where the princess stood upright instead of lying down and entering a "twilight sleep" through chloroform. Kitzinger also taught Prince Charles how to be an active participant in the event, by taking on the role of holding Diana up during labor.

"I said that Charles looked strong enough to hold her," Kitzinger told the outlet. "And that is what happened. It was the first active royal birth — a complete contrast to the Queen's reflection that, with modern [anesthesia,] birth had become 'a sleep and a forgetting.'" Years later, Kate Middleton followed Diana's lead by opting for the same birthing style in the Lindo Wing as well. William was christened in Buckingham Palace by Dr. Robert Runcie, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, according to his official biography. The event was held in the Music Room at the palace, a favorite spot of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.

How Princess Diana changed his childhood

Princess Diana made sure that Princes William and Harry had as normal a childhood as possible under the extraordinary circumstances of their births. She flouted royal tradition where children were raised by nannies and removed from their parents and opted to be as present as possible. Prince Charles was in on this too and, as Time notes, was late once for an event because he wanted to watch William's performance in the Christmas concert.

Diana also refused to be away from William and Harry for long stretches of time and on the rare occasions where she had to, Diana relied on a daily phone call. She famously insisted on bringing William to Australia and New Zealand for their 1983 royal tour. Per Vanity Fair, the tour was stressful for Charles and Diana because it solidified Diana as the favored one between the couple. Their only joy on the trip was spending time with William. As Sally Bedell Smith wrote in her book "The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life," their joy came from watching William learn to crawl at Woomargama, where "they laughed and laughed with sheer, hysterical pleasure."

Their Oceanic trip also shaped a nickname that Diana gave to William. She called him "Wombat," something that came up in William and Harry's 2007 interview with NBC. "It began when I was two... But when we went to Australia with our parents, and the wombat, you know, that's the local animal," William explained. "So I just basically got called that."

Prince William's luxurious upbringing

Despite Princess Diana's best efforts at trying to create a some version of a normal childhood for Princes William and Harry, there's no denying that the young royals lived an uncommonly privileged upbringing. As Time notes, the boys alternated time between the family's many residencies, including Highgrove, Kensington Palace, and Queen Elizabeth II's favorite homes, including Sandringham and Balmoral; Jaguar, the British car manufacturer, famously gifted William with a $40,000 kids' version of the XJS. 

That said, Diana was, by all accounts, adamant about correcting any behavior of her sons that registered as spoiled or entitled. When William once threatened to fire members of the Royal Highland Fusiliers Regiment, Diana stepped in to put a stop to that behavior and asked their bodyguards and nannies to also step in whenever the boys were overly bossy.

But, at least as an adult, William understands what a charmed life he's led. In 2007, when he spoke to NBC, he stammered when trying to answer a question about the coolest things about being a prince. "I think we're very lucky," William began. "You know, we have lots of things that we are very fortunate to have. You know, we have a house, you know? We have, you know, all these sort of nice things around us. And so, you know, we're grateful for that because so many people don't have that." Harry chimed in and said, "[W]e are very privileged, you know, in many ways, and we're very lucky."

Prince William's relationship with Prince Charles

While the marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles deteriorated, that didn't mean things slid in Charles' relationship with his sons. Charles and Diana separated in 1992 and eventually divorced in 1996, but both parents by all accounts prioritized their sons. Years later, when Prince Harry split from the royal family following his marriage to Meghan Markle, an insider told Vanity Fair that any internal rifts were extremely difficult on Charles.

"The Prince of Wales is a very thoughtful person and a very good father," the insider said. "It's easy to cast him off as a Victorian father, but he's not that in the slightest. He is warm and affectionate, and I've seen that between him and both his sons."

That doesn't mean there weren't moments throughout Prince Williams' childhood where Charles seemed to take a little too much time away from his family. As Time noted in 1988, there was a stretch of 37 days when Charles was away from his boys and Diana. Many of the excursions were on royal duty, but some outings weren't. He went to Scotland on a fishing trip over the boys' Easter holidays, leaving some to wonder why Charles was prioritizing time with friends over holidays with his family. Nevertheless, as the years went on, Charles prioritized time with his sons and their children, meaning that he and William were able to bond. "It has meant that their relationship has become much closer," an insider told a later issue of Vanity Fair, speaking of the father-son bond.

How Princess Diana's death impacted Prince William

Princess Diana died on August 31, 1997, when Prince William was 15 years old and Prince Harry was 12. While spending time in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2021, William spoke about the tragic loss, per Today. "Scotland is the source of some of my happiest memories but also some of my saddest," William began. "I was in Balmoral when I was told my mother had died. Still in shock, I found sanctuary in the service of Crathie Kirk (Church) that very morning. And in the dark days of grief that followed, I found comfort and solace in the Scottish outdoors."

Diana's funeral took place at Westminster Abbey on September 6, per the BBC, and two days later, Prince Charles begged the press to leave his sons alone. Because of the unexpected nature of Diana's death, conspiracy theories cropped up everywhere, prompting both William and Prince Harry to ask the press one year later, in 1998, to let their mother "rest in peace."

Years later, in an interview with NBC News, William said: "Not a day goes by when I don't think about [Diana's death]." He added, "And so for us it's been very slow and it's a lot," speaking for himself and his brother. But William added that the memory of his mother is a powerful one, especially when he recalled how much she loved her friends and was loyal to those closest to her. William added, "She was massively strong like that and gave us both reservoirs of strength."

The tough side of growing up royal

Though Prince William had the world at his fingertips, growing up royal was far less pleasant to actually live through. While William and his brother, Prince Harry, were already under close scrutiny by the public, the death of Princess Diana put them on an even tighter focus by the press and paparazzi.

Looking back on that time, William told NBC News in 2007, "It was the enormity of the occasion and the pressure and all eyes on, as it were. You just felt, wherever you went, people were watching you just because, you know, they were interested to see how you react." But even before she died, the brothers recalled how stressful it was for Diana when she'd be chased down by paparazzi at an event and Harry said that he could tell immediately when she got home whether his mother had been hounded that day by the press.

But a royal life has proven challenging for William in another regard too. He spoke with NBC about the tricky scenarios of making friends over the years, and growing close to people who might be tempted to foster a friendship for personal gain. William addressed the concern of meeting sycophants and people who want his fame more than him. "It goes through your mind every time you meet someone new, every time you go out and meet some people or whatever," William said. "And it's one thing I'm really sort of quite guarded about. And I know Harry is as well."

Prince William's education

Prince William went to Eton College, a prestigious private school favored by British elites since its founding in 1440 by King Henry VI. Despite the school's reputation, William was actually the first member of the royal family so close to the throne to attend the longstanding school, per the Chicago Tribune. There are many other notable alumni from Eton College, including George Orwell and Tom Hiddleston.

After graduating, William took a gap year and traveled around the world, including stops in Central America and Australia, after which he enrolled at the University of St. Andrews in 2001, according to ABC News. Interestingly, prior to William, the royal family tended to attend either Cambridge or Oxford, so he broke with tradition on that account. St. Andrews was, of course, where he met his future wife, Kate Middleton. "It's often said by the undergraduates of St Andrews that you leave the university in either one of two states: either married or an alcoholic. Fortunately for Catherine and me, we ended up married," he once joked, per Tatler.

After he graduated in 2005, he joined his brother, Prince Harry, at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where William trained as a search and rescue pilot and he joined the Royal Air Force in 2010. After he left the RAF, William worked as an ambulance pilot. When NBC asked William what he would do if he wasn't royal, he said: "I'd like to fly helicopters, definitely. I'd like to be some sort of [helicopter] pilot."

The stresses of a royal dating life

Dating as a royal presents unique challenges, namely because all eyes are on you. In their joint interview with NBC News, Prince Harry spoke for both brothers and said, "You always find yourself hiding somewhere and doing something that you don't really want to be doing; why? Because you just don't want to get photographed doing it because of what will be written about it."

While Prince William allegedly had a few relationships prior to meeting Kate Middleton, their romance was the one that caught the media's attention. But this same media attention ended up being overwhelming, as it would for any partner of the prince. "If I fancy a girl and she fancies me back, which is rare, I ask her out," William said on his 21st birthday, per Vanity Fair. "But at the same time I don't want to put them in an awkward situation, because a lot of people don't understand what comes with knowing me, for one—and secondly, if they were my girlfriend, the excitement it would probably cause."

William and Kate split up twice, only to ultimately reconcile. William proposed in Kenya in October 2010 and the couple married on April 29, 2011. Years later, when William returned to Scotland and recalled how he was there when Princess Diana died, he shared, as Today notes, an unexpected joy: "Alongside this painful memory is one of great joy, because it was here in Scotland 20 years ago this year that I first met Catherine."

Prince William and Kate Middleton's similar scars

Even a prince has some scars and Prince William has a sometimes-noticeable one right on his forehead that he jokingly calls his "Harry Potter scar." While speaking with the CBBC's Newsround in 2009, he explained the nickname. "I call it that because it glows sometimes and some people notice it — other times they don't notice it at all," he said. How did this come about? William recalled, "I got hit by a golf club when I was playing golf with a friend of mine. We were on a putting green and the next thing you know there was a seven iron and it came out of nowhere and hit me in the head."

Interestingly, Kate Middleton also has a scar on the left side of her head that came from a childhood injury. Kate's scar runs nearly three inches long and appears just under her hairline. The media first noticed it in October 2011, when she had her hair pulled back in a half-up, half-down style and the speculation grew around the idea that her covetous hair was actually the result of hair extensions, Insider notes. The frenzy got so loud that a palace spokesperson actually reached out to E! News to inform the public that her hair was, in fact, real and that what we were all seeing was a scar.

His relationship with the queen

As Prince William has grown older, his relationship with Queen Elizabeth II has solidified, especially as the royal family has navigated some less than ideal public press, like Prince Andrew's scandals. On a less severe note, William was also at the queen's side during Prince Harry's royal exit with Meghan Markle and their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. The ways in which William stepped up to the plate during these events reportedly impressed his grandmother. "That has changed the way the Queen sees him and values his input," an insider told The Sunday Times. Per the report, the experience was apparently a bonding one for William as well, who felt it solidified his relationship with the queen.

The queen has also taken William's marriage to Kate Middleton seriously, in response to what went wrong between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Royal biographer Andrew Morton told OK! magazine how much Kate inspired the queen. "The thing about Kate is the Queen was impressed she adored and loved William for himself, not for his title." Morton said. "She spends a lot more time supporting and nurturing the relationship between William and Catherine than she did with Charles and Diana. It's pretty clear she wasn't going to make that mistake again." Morton explained that the queen sees the future of the monarchy in solid hands with William and Kate at the helm. She sees Kate's groundedness as a positive thing for the role that the couple faces ahead.

What fatherhood means to Prince William

Fatherhood transformed Prince William's life. He and Kate Middleton welcomed George, Charlotte, and Louis and the presence of his three children changed his entire life. "I'm a lot more emotional than I used to be," he said in the documentary "When Ant and Dec Met The Prince" (via Hello!). "I never used to get too wound up or worried about things. But now the smallest little things, you well up a little more, you get affected by the sort of things that happen around the world or whatever a lot more, I think, as a father." William said that becoming a parent made him realize how important it now is to him to see his children grow up.

But it's not all easy.  Before sharing that he's the happiest when they're all together as a family, William jokingly told Access in 2020, "At times, my children drive me insane and I can't sleep." The presence of Princess Diana has also shaped how William approaches fatherhood. According to The Sunday Times, he speaks to his children frequently about "Granny Diana," to make sure that she remains present in their minds and that they have two grandmothers.

Having children has even inspired many of William's projects, including tackling climate change. In the documentary "Prince William: A Planet For Us All" (via Hello!) he said, "I've always loved nature, but fatherhood has given me a new sense of purpose. Now I've got George, Charlotte and now Louis, in my life, your outlook does change."

Prince William's net worth

Prince William's finances are an interesting topic. In terms of personal wealth, Celebrity Net Worth reports that he's worth $30 million. A chunk of this, according to Forbes, came from Princess Diana, who left both William and Prince Harry $10 million each. The dividends bring in approximately $450,000 a year, something they each started earning once they hit 25 and got access to all of the cash when they turned 30. 

William's employment over the years also brought in an income. When he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, he made anywhere from $68,000 to $74,000 annually. Other portions of William's income come from Prince Charles and his Sovereign Grant from the Duchy of Cornwall, Forbes notes, which was worth around $1.3 billion as of 2021. However, much of the income from this source is used for official capacities rather than personal ones.

But the position of the crown itself is a financial matter all its own. Queen Elizabeth II reportedly has a personal net worth of $550 million, per Forbes, while the Crown Estate net worth was estimated at $19.5 billion in 2021. This includes the astounding real estate portfolio and other royal assets. The queen can't sell this equity, as it's not technically hers personally, she can make use of them as she sees fit and the same privilege will fall to William when he becomes king.

Prince William's relationship with Prince Harry

Prince William was keen to defend Prince Harry, especially when some of Harry's more wild moments from his past came up in a 2007 interview with NBC News. William acknowledged that his younger brother didn't always have an easy time with the ever-probing media attention they both received. "[A]t the end of the day, no matter what you think, the only person you're ever going to get to know to be able to form that opinion is him," William said of his brother. "No matter what you read or what you see, you're never going to know someone unless you actually get to meet them and talk to them properly."

As the years went on, their relationship became more complicated, especially after Harry stepped down from his royal duties and moved to California with Meghan Markle. An insider told The Sunday Times that this change to the royal family's dynamic as well as the distance was hard on Prince William. "They shared everything about their lives, an office, a foundation, meetings together most days and there was a lot of fun along the way," the source said. "He'll miss it [forever]."

Part of the tension came from the fact that Harry's departure meant that all of the royal pressure fell on William and there was no one to share it with. Nevertheless, another insider said that William refuses to let their relationship die. "It's still raw," the source said before noting that the elder prince hopes to rebuild their bond. 

Does Prince William want to be king?

Prince William's entire life has been geared towards his ultimate duty, that of becoming the King of England. He knows it too and is, apparently, already making plans of how he'll revolutionize and modernize the institution. "William is already thinking about the future of the Monarchy and the changes he'll make," an insider told Us Weekly. "While he respects protocol, he plans to modernize some aspects and is making it his mission to be more relatable than previous generations."

While he's clearly making a plan, does William actually want to be king? In an interview with Nicholas Witchell of Marie Claire, William admitted that he doesn't because to assume the position would mean that both his grandmother and his father would have died. "I certainly don't lie awake at night waiting or hoping for it," William said. "Because it sadly means my family has moved on, and I don't want that."

Nevertheless, William seems resigned to face the task, but he won't be alone. Kate Middleton will take the title of Queen Consort, which is the title typically assigned to the wife of the king. So at least he'll have that strong source of support. Despite William's reluctance to become king, it was actually Prince Harry who defended the need for the monarchy in an interview with Newsweek in 2017. He defended the "magic" of the monarchy and said, "[t]he British public and the whole world need institutions like it." William is certainly up for the challenge.