Prince William Grew Out a Beard in 2008 and These Throwback Pictures Documented It

Prince William grew out a beard in 2008. Here's a look back at the throwback pictures.

Royalty - Christmas Service - Magdalene Church, Sandringham
(Image credit: Lewis Whyld - PA Images)

When you think royal facial hair, you probably think of Prince Harry (opens in new tab). That's understandable. The ginger prince has been rocking a beard regularly since 2015 (opens in new tab). It's his signature look (opens in new tab). He even got special permission (opens in new tab) from his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, to sport his signature scruff during his wedding to Meghan Markle (opens in new tab) in May.

But, while Harry might have fallen in love with his beard and decided to keep it around longterm, he's far from the only royal to experiment with facial hair. In fact, Harry's older brother and second in line to the British throne, Prince William, experimented with a scruffy look of his own in 2008.

Did you remember Will's beard? He grew it out just before he started pilot training with the Royal Air Force, which doesn't allow facial hair.

At the time, The Telegraph (opens in new tab) offered a few explanations for Will's foray into facial hair, writing:

It is believed that the Prince's beard was an attempt to disguise his identity during the SBS mission. He is also following family tradition, as the Prince of Wales grew a beard while on Naval exercises in Alaska in 1975.

And:

However, beards are banned in the RAF and the Prince must be clean-shaven when he reports for duty next month to commence an 18-month training course to qualify as a search and rescue pilot.

Will's beard made its most notable public appearance on Christmas Day in 2008, when he attended church service in Sandringham looking scruffy and sexy AF (alongside a clean-shaven Harry, no less).

Photograph, People, Event, Formal wear, Suit, Ceremony, White-collar worker, Uniform, Photography, Wedding,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Will looked so effortless, so casually chill with a beard:

Suit, Formal wear, Clothing, Tuxedo, Blazer, White-collar worker, Hairstyle, Fashion, Outerwear, Street fashion,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

People, Crowd, Event, Outerwear, Photography, Gesture, White-collar worker, Smile,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Suit, Formal wear, Tuxedo, Facial hair, Event, Beard, Ceremony, Smile, White-collar worker, Plant,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Like Harry's beard has, Will's scruffy look prompted comparisons to photos of Prince Charles' beard from 1976:

Facial hair, Hair, Beard, Moustache, Hairstyle, Cap, White-collar worker, Hat, Suit, Headgear,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Will shaved his head in early 2018, many royal fans took to Twitter to urge him to grow the beard back (opens in new tab). So why wouldn't he? Like so many decisions royals make, it could have something to do with pleasing the Queen, who is apparently not a fan of facial hair.

Red, Jacket, Snow, Outerwear, Eyewear, Recreation, Sunglasses, Winter,

(Image credit: Archive)

"The Queen soon let her displeasure be known," a royal source told the S (opens in new tab)unday Express (opens in new tab) of Harry's scruff in 2014. "She doesn’t mind royal men growing beards when they are away in the Armed Forces or out in the wilds like Harry was in the Antarctic, but she expects them to be clean-shaven when they get home."

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nose, ear, facial hair, lip, cheek, hairstyle, skin, chin, forehead, eyebrow,

(Image credit: Getty Images)
Kayleigh Roberts
Kayleigh Roberts

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.