27 Things You Never Knew About Prince William
From his special promise to Diana to his Harry Potter connection...
While Prince William has lived his entire life in front of the cameras, there are still plenty of things about the future king of England you probably didn’t know. For example, while he’s the model of decorum now, Wills—as he was known as a toddler—was a bit of a bully during his preschool years. And though the Duke of Cambridge has been very open about his close relationship with his late mother, Princess Diana, few people know about the extraordinary promise he made to her after her divorce from his father, Prince Charles. But that’s hardly all. In honor of his birthday on June 21st, here are 27 surprising facts you haven’t heard about Prince William.
His parents couldn’t agree on his name.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana clashed over what to name their firstborn son. Charles favored Arthur and Albert (after Queen Victoria’s husband) while Diana wanted Sebastian or Oliver. In the end, they compromised with William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor. He was known as “Baby Wales” for a week before his given name was announced to the world.
He was a royal terror to his young classmates.
When he was a preschool student at Mrs. Mynor’s Nursery School in London in the mid 1980s, little Wills quickly became known as “The Basher” for his bullying ways of pushing to the front of the line and getting into playground fights. Diana and Charles were horrified, but the other parents dared not say anything for fear of insulting the future king.
He’s left-handed, but learned to play polo with his right hand.
William is part of the 10 percent of the world’s population with a dominant left hand. This posed a problem for the polo-loving prince when he took up the sport. The rules of the game only permit the use of the right hand. According to Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers, the president of the World Polo Governing Body, William’s dogged determination helped him master playing with his right hand, which he continues to do to this day.
He broke royal tradition as an infant.
In 1985, when Charles and Diana were set to travel to New Zealand and Australia for their first tour after becoming parents, the princess was insistent that nine-month-old William travel on the same plane as they did. This was a huge break in royal protocol, which, up until that point, dictated that the two successive heirs to the throne travel separately in the event of a fatal accident. But Diana got what she wanted.
History poignantly repeated itself when William and Kate Middleton brought baby Prince George along for the very same royal tour in 2014.
He has a personal connection to Harry Potter.
William has something in common with the beloved Hogwarts student—and it’s not his Quidditch skills. In 1991, the prince was hit in the forehead with a golf club by a classmate. The accident left him with a lighting bolt-shaped scar, just like Harry Potter’s!
As a teenager, he had a thing for Cindy Crawford
When he was a teenager, Prince William had a huge crush on supermodel Cindy Crawford. In the documentary Diana Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, William recounted the day in the early 1990s when his mother surprised him by arranging for Crawford, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell to be waiting for him at the top of the stairs when he returned home from school. The prince recalled, “I went bright red and didn’t know quite what to say. And sort of fumbled and I think pretty much fell down the stairs on the way up.”
Diana worried more about William than Harry when her marriage fell apart.
Diana had always confided in William, even though he was just a child, particularly while her marriage to Prince Charles was unraveling. But she began to worry it had taken too much of a toll on her son. In 1992, she confided to a friend she “was worried about William” because “he’s too sensitive; he feels everything too much,” according to royal biographer Christopher Anderson.
He was furious with his mother over revealing her affair.
Princess Diana had kept her explosive tell-all interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC1 program Panorama in 1995 a secret from everyone, including her sons. An hour after the broadcast aired, she called William, who was away at school, to talk to him and he refused to speak to her. Several accounts have reported he was angry at her for discussing her affair with his former riding instructor James Hewitt and he allegedly felt her remarks about Charles cast doubton his ability to carry out his duty as king.
He made a special promise to Diana.
When the princess was stripped of her “Her Royal Highness” title when her divorce became final in 1996, William consoled his mother by telling her he would restore her royal title when he became king.
He disliked summering with the Fayeds.
During that fateful summer in 1997, Diana decided to take William and Harry with her aboard Mohamed Al-Fayed’s yacht, the Jonikal. The boys had plenty of expensive toys on the trip, like high powered Jet Skis, and Dodi Fayed tried everything he could to win them over—even renting out a disco for them. But friends told me William did not like his mother’s growing friendship with the Fayeds.
“He couldn’t wait to get away from them,” a royal insider confided. “The prince was uncomfortable with the whole thing. He wanted to go to Balmoral like he did every summer. He didn’t like being fussed over and he didn’t like that his mother was growing closer to Dodi.”
He did not want to walk behind his mother’s casket.
When plans were made for Diana’s funeral, Charles Spencer was insistent on walking behind his sister’s casket. Prince Charles disapproved of the idea of Spencer walking alone and insisted he be part of the procession as well. The Palace thought it would be best if 15-year-old William and 12-year-old Harry accompany their father. At first, William was adamantly opposed to the idea and relented only when Prince Philip asked if he would do so if he walked along side him. In the BBC documentary Diana, 7 Days, William described the experience as a “long and lonely walk” that he did out of “duty.”
He earned a goofy nickname while serving in the Royal Air Force.
William joined the Royal Air Force in 2008 and was known by his fellow airmen as Billy the Fish, a pun on his name, William Wales.
He once broke up with Kate over the phone.
In 2007, when William was feeling pressure from all sides about getting engaged, he decided he wasn’t ready to get married. The 25-year-old future king rang Kate up at her office at Jigsaw, a fashion company where she was working as an assistant buyer in accessories, and broke up with her—proving that sometimes even handsome princes can be frogs. The couple reunited a few months later and the rest, as they say, is history.
He had to trade with Harry to get Diana’s engagement ring.
When William did decide to propose to Kate, he wanted to give her Diana’s iconic diamond engagement ring, but it belonged to Prince Harry at the time.
When Diana died in 1997, her butler Paul Burrell took both boys to her Kensington Palace apartment where they chose special items that belonged to their mother as remembrances of her, as Burrell recalled in his book, A Royal Duty. Harry chose Diana’s engagement ring while William selected her gold Cartier watch. Since marriage was the furthest thing on Harry’s mind in 2010, the brothers traded the priceless keepsakes. That’s why Meghan Markle missed out on the stunning 18-carat sapphire and diamond ring that Kate proudly wears today.
Kate’s bridal bouquet was a testament to her love for William.
The duchess-to-be’s wedding bouquet was a lovely mixture of white flowers, which included lily of the valley, hyacinth, myrtle, and sweet Williams.
He was a nervous groom—and made sure we couldn’t see it.
William looked dashing in his uniform of the Irish Guards on his wedding day, but he was concerned about becoming too warm and sweating under the glaringly hot lights of the television cameras, so he requested custom sweat pads be sewn into his jacket so he wouldn’t be seen perspiring.
He doesn’t wear a wedding ring.
While his brother, Harry, wears a gold wedding band, William doesn’t wear a ring at all. His “personal” decision follows a long standing tradition that kings-to-be generally have not worn wedding bands.
He took Kate on her first trip to New York.
William took his wife on a trip across the pond to the Big Apple in 2014 while Kate was pregnant with Princess Charlotte. The couple was there on official royal business, but still managed to take in a Brooklyn Nets basketball game during their stay (where they met Beyoncé and Jay-Z). They declined to pucker up for the kiss cam, opting instead for friendly and decidedly more royal wave (as ABC News captured here).
He went all-in preparing to be a dad.
He’s got great taste in jewelry.
Besides giving Kate his mother’s breathtaking engagement ring, William also gifted his wife the matching diamond and sapphire earrings after their wedding. While Diana wore them as posts, Kate has had them remodeled into delicate drop earrings, which she wears often.
His favorite wedding gift was very unique.
One of William’s favorite wedding gifts was a wooden swing that has “William and Catherine” engraved on it. As Hello! reported, Prince George has been photographed playing on it at the family’s country home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk. Perhaps it served as inspiration for the family-friendly swing that was such a hit as part of Kate’s family garden at the recent Chelsea Flower Show.
Fatherhood has made him more emotional.
William said in an ITV documentary that since becoming a father, he is “a lot more emotional than I used to be.” He added: “Now the smallest little things, you well up a little more, you get affected by the sort of things that happen around the world a lot more. Just because you realize how precious life is and it puts it all in perspective.”
He’s got a sweet tooth.
William’s favorite cake is chocolate biscuit cake, which is made using tea biscuits and dark chocolate. It sets in the fridge rather than being baked in an oven. According to royal chef Darren McGrady, the prince requested one be served as his groom’s cake at his wedding in 2011.
He’s a big television fan.
William and Kate are said to be huge fans of several television series, including Australian soap Neighbours as well as Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey. No word on what he thought about the HBO hit’s controversial series finale.
But he’s not a fan of spicy foods.
In 2016, he told a group of students visiting Buckingham Palace that he “struggles” with spices and prefers more bland foods. But Kate has said that they eat a lot of curry when spending evenings in, so Will’s must be of the milder variety. Fun fact: It’s not usually delivered, they usually go and pick it up themselves.
He’s got a secret stylist.
According to British GQ, William has become more stylish and relaxed on official tours thanks to some stealth style tips from Kate’s stylist, Natasha Archer. The trusted fashion advisor is credited with encouraging the prince to sport Ray-Ban aviator shades at events like Wimbledon and suggested he wear more slim lined suits and blazers.
He had a trick to prevent Harry from stealing his shoes.
Both William and Harry favor handmade oxfords from John Lobb. And during the princes’ bachelor days when they shared an apartment in Kensington Palace, William would reportedly mark the soles of his shoes with a “W” to avoid any mix-ups. And if you want to look as dapper as the princes, here are 10 Stylish Summer Buys From Brooks Brothers.
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