William grew up with a strong sense of his future responsibilities, as Charles III’s reign would inevitably be shorter than that of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
As the new king ages, William will be more visible in public in preparation for his later role as king, said Robert Hazell, professor of government and constitutions at University College London.
“William will have to shoulder a bigger part of the load, so I have no doubt that William will take on more and more royal duties,” he told AFP.
William, 40, has so far managed to carve out a relatively private life, juggling military and civilian jobs and fathering three children with his wife Catherine, who is popular in society.
They are known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and now, following the Queen’s death, will also be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.
The couple are active advocates on mental health issues.
The two also champion environmental protection and conservation, showing a more modern face of an ancient institution.
“I think most people think William and Kate will make a great team and make a great king and queen,” said Phil Dampier, who writes about the British royal family.
Born to be King
From the moment he was born on June 21, 1982, William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten Windsor was destined to be king. Harry – the ‘back-up’ to William’s ‘heir’ – was born two years later.
However, both boys were treated equally in terms of education: first by nannies, then by boarding school from the age of eight.
William was only 10 years old when his parents began to live separately. Later, in 1996, the couple divorced. When William was 15, in 1997, his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car accident.
Their mother’s funeral was a poignant sight for the young boys as they walked with bowed heads through the streets of London behind her funeral cortege to Westminster Abbey.
The brothers always spoke warmly of their mother, and as a young man, blond William bore a striking resemblance to her, earning him the image of a pin-up boy.
William once recalled his mother singing Tina Turner’s hit “(Simply) The Best” in the car to cheer the boys up for the new school year.
He also jumped to her defense after a 2021 investigation found she had been duped by the BBC into agreeing to a scandalous 1995 TV interview in which she admitted to being unfaithful.
He also wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and reacted strongly when his brother Harry spoke out about racism in the royal family.
“We are not a racist family,” he told reporters.
Music and football
William had so far not responded to Harry’s thoughts that he and their father were “stuck” in tradition.
But it is clear that it is important for him to portray himself as a trustworthy person in order to ensure the future survival of the monarchy.
He has given several in-depth interviews to the media, and with Catherine, a keen amateur photographer, they aim to manage this narrative through social media.
The family’s 2021 Christmas card showed them relaxing as they posed in a desert landscape in Jordan. William and Catherine sit in it with their hands on each other’s laps.
He has revealed his eclectic musical tastes, from British band Coldplay to Australian heavy rock band AC/DC.
While studying at the prestigious Eton School, he said he adored Aston Villa, choosing to support the middling Birmingham club because he “wanted to have a team that was more mid-level, which would give me more emotional roller-coaster moments”.
He became president of the Football Association in 2006 and regularly watches England’s national team matches, but also takes part in higher-class activities such as polo and grouse shooting.
William and Kate, then still a Middleton, met for the first time in St. Andrew’s University in Scotland. Their relationship began when the prince spotted her at a student fashion show.
While Harry was known as the party prince, William developed a more serious image.
William and Kate married in 2011. The Prince was already serving as a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot at the time; this career lasted for three years. At the time, the young family, who had already had their first child, George, lived on a farm in north-west Wales.
The family later moved to Norfolk in eastern England, where William took up a role as a civilian air ambulance pilot in 2015.
He said he had to go through traumatic experiences trying to help people who were “on the brink of death”.
In 2017, William left this job to become a fully devoted member of the royal family, traveling between London and Norfolk, where he lives with his family at the huge royal estate at Sandringham.
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and quarantines, William said he and Kate have been helping their two older children, George and Charlotte, with their education. The couple also have a son, Louis, who was born in 2018.
William’s image improved when the Queen’s health deteriorated, Harry stepped back from royal life and their uncle lost his position in a US civil sexual assault case that he eventually settled out of court.