HRH The Duke of Cambridge

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The second in line to the throne, William Arthur Philip Louis, born 21 June 1982, is the oldest son of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

The young prince made his first public appearance, aged nine, when he accompanied his parents on an official visit to Cardiff. He was educated at private preparatory schools, before going to Eton College, where he studied biology, geography and art history at A-level.

His mother, Princess Diana, was determined that both her sons should have as 'normal' a childhood as possible, and tried to give them a range of experiences - from rides on the big dippers at theme parks and trips to MacDonald's, to accompanying her on her official visits to AIDS wards and homeless shelters.

William's most memorable public appearance was at the funeral of his mother in September 1997, after she had died in a car crash in Paris. Along with his father, grandfather and younger brother, the 15-year-old prince walked behind the funeral cortege as it made its way through central London, enduring intense public scrutiny at a time of private grief.

William's gap year activities included a spell with the British Army in Belize, and ten weeks in Chile, where he taught children as part of a Raleigh International programme. He then went on to St Andrews University to study Art History, later changing his degree to Geography. He graduated with an upper second-class honours degree in 2005.

William graduated from Sandhurst Military Academy in 2006 and, as Lieutenant William Wales, entered the Blues and Royals as a troop commander in an armoured reconnaissance unit.

Although William wanted to see active service, government ministers advised that his personal security should be safeguarded. Instead, he went on to train in the Royal Navy and the RAF. William decided to extend his original three-year contract with the armed forces, and in January 2009 began training as a helicopter pilot with the RAF Search and Rescue Force. He graduated in September 2010 and started working as part of a four-man crew based at RAF Valley in Anglesey on the north west coast of Wales with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

During his time at St Andrews, William met, and become involved with, a fellow student, Kate Middleton. Though they have endured one brief separation and avid media attention, the couple have been dating since 2003. In June 2008 Middleton attended William's investiture into the Order of the Garter with other members of the royal family. On 16 November 2010 Clarence House announced the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

On 29 April 2011, in front of a worldwide television audience of 2 billion, Prince William married his long-time girlfriend, Catherine (Kate) Middleton, in Westminster Abbey.

On the morning of the wedding, Buckingham Palace released a statement to say that The Queen had created her grandson, Prince William of Wales, Duke of Cambridge. The title also has lesser (or subsidiary) titles, in this case The Earl of Strathearn and The Baron Carrickfergus. The correct forms of address for William and Kate are now His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.

William undertook his first independent overseas tour in 2005, when he travelled to New Zealand to participate in World War II commemorations. He has been involved in charity work since an early age and is patron of a number of charities, including the homeless charity, Centrepoint, the Royal Marsden Hospital and Mountain Rescue England and Wales. He is also a patron of Tusk Trust, a wildlife conservation organisation based in Africa, and The Queen Elizabeth II Fields, an inititaive of the Fields Trust. A full list of Prince William's charities and patronages can be found here.

To further their charitable work, Prince William and Prince Harry created their own Foundation in 2009 which focuses on issues that they both care about. The Duchess of Cambridge also became a Patron in 2011.

The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry has three main aims: helping young people in society; raising awareness and support for servicemen and women; and developing sustainable models of living in the light of climate change and dwindling natural resources.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince Harry, are Official Ambassadors for Team GB and Paralympics GB for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

William enjoys sport and, like his father, is a keen polo player. He is also the vice-patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, and an enthusiastic football fan, who supports Aston Villa.


The Royal Family