Prince William's life in pictures as future king marks birthday milestone

Lottie O'Neill June 21, 2022
Prince William's life in pictures as future king marks birthday milestone
Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

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Prince William, who is second in line to the throne, is set to celebrate a new milestone in his life – his 40th birthday.

The royal prince, born William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor, started his journey in life on 21 June 1982.

He is the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. William has a brother, Henry Charles Albert David, who is nicknamed Harry.

We celebrate Prince William’s birthday by looking back through the years.

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A prince is born

Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The royal has been breaking tradition since his birth. He was born in St Mary’s Hospital in London instead of behind palace walls like all direct heirs before him.

He also attended nursery school and didn’t follow in his father or grandmother’s (the Queen’s) footsteps by having a private tutor.

In 1995, he started schooling at Eton College – renowned as one of Britain’s most prestigious schools.

Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Facing tragic loss of mum Diana

Photo credit should read JEFF J. MITCHELL/AFP via Getty Images

The following year, his parents divorced, and Diana tried to keep a happy and joyous home with her two boys. The ‘People’s Princess’ always strived to make sure her children had as much of a normal life as possible.

However, tragedy struck in 1997 when Diana died in a car crash in Paris.

William, alongside his younger brother Harry, his father Charles, grandfather Prince Philip and uncle Earl Charles Spencer, walked behind Diana’s hearse in the funeral procession.

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Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Embarking on studies

Photo by UK Press

After leaving Eton with 12 GCSEs and three A-Levels, William embarked on an art history degree at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He simply enrolled under the name ‘William Wales’.

The young prince said at the time he just wanted to “have fun, I want to be an ordinary student”.

William then joked: “I’m only going to university. It’s not like I’m getting married.”

Meeting Kate – future Duchess of Cambridge

Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

However, the world now knows Prince William met his future wife – Kate Middleton – at the same university. It was the start of their life together.

Friendship with Kate soon blossomed into romance and they dated for a number of years until parting ways in 2007. During their time apart, William focused on his military career. It’s tradition for British royal heirs to conduct military service.

He graduated from Sandhurst military academy and earned his pilot’s wings at RAF Cranwell. William later worked as an air ambulance pilot for search and rescue.

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Princess Diana’s sapphire ring

Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

In 2010, the couple told the world they were engaged. William had got down on one knee and presented Kate with Princess Diana’s iconic sapphire ring.

The following year, the couple tied the knot in a spectacular ceremony in Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011.

26 million viewers watched William and Kate exchange vows as they became known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Starting a family

Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Fast forward 18 months and William and Kate announced they were expecting their first baby. Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born on 22 July 2013. George was named after the Queen’s father and grandfather. Little George currently stands third in line to the throne after his grandfather Prince Charles and dad William. It’s believed the prince would reign as King George VII.

A year later and Princess Charlotte was on the way – William and Kate’s second child. Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born on 2 May 2015. Her middle names pay tribute to her great-grandmother the Queen, as well as late grandmother Princess Diana.

The youngest of the Cambridge clan, Prince Louis Arthur Charles, was born on 23 April 2018. Little Louis is fifth in line to the throne, after his sister Charlotte.

Celebrating tenth wedding anniversary

In 2021, the Cambridges released an adorable family video of their close-knit unit to mark their tenth wedding anniversary. In honour of the big day, the couple released two portraits taken at Kensington Palace.

With the sweet clip, we see the family head out to the beach near their Norfolk home and play in the garden, where William is chasing Charlotte and George. We catch a glimpse of Kate running with little Louis and the family roasting marshmallows on an open fire.

On 21 June 2022, Prince William will mark his 40th birthday. The royal has been applauded by fans for speaking out about his mental health and grief over losing his mother at a young age.

Although he may not sit on the throne for some time – his grandmother, the Queen, recently became the second-longest reigning monarch in the world, while next in line to the throne is his father Charles – royal fans look forward to seeing how he’d rule as king.

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Lottie is the Head of Audience for Entertainment and Gaming, working with the teams on HITC, Reality Titbit, The Focus and Freshered. She is passionate about news being accessible to everyone, and focuses on bringing audiences quality content that they enjoy. She loves the art of storytelling, whether that be news, movies or heavy hardback fiction.