02 April 2011

10 Things You Don't Know about Prince William

Britain's Prince William sits at the controls of a Sea King helicopter during a training exercise at Holyhead Mountain, in Wales March 31, 2011. Prince William is serving as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, based at RAF Valley on Anglesey, an island off the north west coast of Wales. Photograph taken on March 31, 2011. REUTERS/John Stillwell/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)
With just a few weeks until the latest royal "wedding of the century," coverage of the nuptial pair really is starting to reach a fever pitch. To help feed the frenzy, I recently wrote an article for the Yahoo! Contributor Network called "Five Things You Don't Know about Prince William." For those of you who want to know even more, here are five more essential items about the royal groom.

6. He was the youngest royal globetrotter.
Prince William spent his first birthday on the other side of the planet in Australia. His mother, reportedly, refused to leave him behind when she and Prince Charles went Down Under for an official royal tour. William stayed with his nanny in one place while his parents periodically bounced back to him from various locations. This added complication to an exhausting tour schedule was never again repeated. Like royal babies before him, he was left at home in the future. William did not go on royal tour again until, as teenagers, he and his brother accompanied their father to Canada.

7. He did not spend a lot of time with his parents.
As a child, Prince William spent a lot of time without either of his parents. Not only were the Prince and Princess of Wales often traveling for their royal duties, but they also sent William to boarding school. So even when they were "home" in London, he was often away at school. Once Charles and Diana began leading separate lives, William's time away from school had to be split between the two of them, decreasing how much time he could spend with either of them.

8. However, he did enjoy time with both of his parents.
Even though Diana died when William was 15 and Harry 12, the media and much of the public give her full credit for how well they turned out. Surely Charles at least deserves some credit for how they dealt with that overwhelming grief. Since Charles is less popular and did most of his parenting in private, his contributions are often overlooked. While Diana took her boys on well-publicized visits to theme parks and fast food restaurants where the photographers were sure to follow, their time with their father was usually spent away from the prying lenses enjoying the royal family's traditional country activities, deerstalking, fishing, etc. Sometimes at the beginning of an extended holiday with dad, Charles did invite the media for a brief photo shoot. In fact, he and the boys had a short photo call at Balmoral just days before Diana's death and it was at Balmoral that Charles and the Queen kept the grieving young princes away from the media frenzy in the days following her tragic death.

9. He almost didn't walk behind Diana's cortege.
Reportedly shy as a youngster and completely overwhelmed by his mother's loss, Prince William nearly decided not to walk with his father, brother and uncle Spencer on the day of Diana's internationally televised funeral. This anxiety explains the surprising appearance of the then 76-year-old Prince Philip among the walking mourners. It's widely reported that there was little love lost between the elderly prince and his late daughter-in-law, but he offered to walk to help provide more support for his grandsons. The strength of that grandfatherly bond is perhaps reflected by the fact that Philip walked right beside the wavering William.

10. He could save your life.
If you find yourself in a precarious situation along the Welsh coast, the team sent to assist you could very well include an officer called William Wales. Princes of the past rode to the rescue on a trusty steed; Prince William takes a more modern approach: he arrives in a Sea King helicopter. As a search-and-rescue pilot, Prince William has already flown several such missions, a few of which have received media attention. It's reported that university applications surged when he announced where he would study. Let's hope these same folks aren't risking their lives in order to try to meet the prince today.

Read Items 1-5 in my Yahoo article.

For more about Prince William and the royal wedding:

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