SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!


William at 40: The early years of a future king

Government of Belize Press Office

From the moment he was born on 21 June 1982, Prince William’s mother, Diana, was determined that his early years would be as similar as those of any other child despite his royal destiny.

William began school at Jane Mynors’ nursery school and the pre-preparatory Wetherby School, both in London. As he grew, he would go on to attend Ludgrove School near Wokingham, Berkshire, and spent his summers privately tutored by Rory Stewart. At Ludgrove, William took part in cross country running, clay pigeon shooting, basketball, swimming, and of course, football.

Following an entrance exam, he was admitted to Eton College. The move surprised some as by then, the House of Windsor had developed a tradition of sending royal children to Gordonstoun. His grandfather, father, two uncles, and two cousins had attended school. In contrast, both Diana’s father and brother attended Eton.

The Royal Family and press came to an agreement that while William studied at Eton, he would be free from intrusion in exchange for regular updates about his life. John Wakeham, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission said of the agreement: “Prince William is not an institution; nor a soap star; nor a football hero. He is a boy: in the next few years, perhaps the most important and sometimes painful part of his life, he will grow up and become a man.”

William studied geography, biology, and history of art at A-Level. He received an ‘A’ in geography, a ‘C’ in biology, and a ‘B’ in history of art. During his free time, he took up water polo and continued to play football which he captained his house team.

After finishing his studies in Eton, William took a gap year to partake in British Army training exercises in Belize. During that time, he also visited Africa and worked on English dairy farms. In addition, he spent ten weeks in southern Chile teaching children. William joined the Raleigh International programme in the town of Tortel, Chile, where he lived with other young volunteers. As part of the programme, they all had to take part in sharing common household chores such as cleaning the toilet. However, William did get more exciting opportunities as he volunteered to disc jockey at a local radio station.

Perhaps the next chapter of his education began the rest of his life. In 2001, William enrolled at the University of St Andrews. Similar to his time at Eton, another agreement was made between the media and the Royal Family during William’s time at University. While at St Andrews, he began a degree course in Art History before changing his main subject to Geography.

During his time at University, the Prince met his future wife, Kate Middleton. Today, they have three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.