At this point, we know ad nauseam who Prince William is publicly—after all, he’s been a public figure since before he was even born to father Prince Charles and mother Princess Diana on June 21, 1982.
But, as William prepares to turn the milestone age of 40 this week, who is he privately?
The Mirror reports that he has a “wicked sense of humor” and is “a man with steely determination, quick wit, and a compassionate edge.” The outlet also reports that he is at peace with his future as king and, according to his friends, he has what it takes to handle the top job. (Case in point of William’s continually burgeoning leadership? Him putting his foot down this week against uncle Prince Andrew appearing at the Order of the Garter ceremony, for which he was expected to be in attendance.)
The Duke of Cambridge, second in line to the throne, “has always cut a more reserved figure than his younger brother [Prince Harry],” the outlet reports. “But it is his sense of duty that continues to drive him and keeps him motivated for his future as king, his long-term mentor Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton told The Daily Mail.”
“He hasn’t rubbed his hands in glee [at what is to come], but has looked at it in a dutiful way,” Lowther-Pinkerton says. “One of the lovely things I remember early on was this sense of disbelief that people were really interested in who he was or what he was doing.”
Sources tell The Mirror “that while William once railed against his future, he is now more at peace with himself than ever before.”
But, the outlet reports, “William wasn’t always as prim and proper. In early adulthood, he was described by friends as someone who ‘enjoyed himself immensely…though unlike Harry, he was never caught!’”
Married to college sweetheart Kate Middleton since 2011, his sense of humor was on full display when the newlyweds took a tour of the South Pacific in 2012.
“The royal couple were staying in a house on one side of a large bay, with their support team staying on the opposite side,” a source told The Mirror. “Late one night, and after a particularly taxing day, the Cambridges’ team decided to go for a dip in the warm waters. Then, out of nowhere one aide (who shall remain nameless) was pulled down under the water, coughing and spluttering. All hell broke loose as everyone thought they were being attacked by a shark and were freaking out. But it was William.”
The prince “had got wind of their nighttime dip,” the source says, “and had swum all the way ‘round the bay, pretty much underwater, because he is such an expert diver, to prank them!”
The father of three is also described by sources as an “incredibly empathetic boss” who “treats his staff really well, even sending get well soon gifts to those who are off sick.”
“He loves to chat about their dates when they go wrong,” the source says, “and even keeps tabs on people who have left.”
The Mirror says the future king has friends, sources, and royal insiders convinced that he has what it takes to be king, “and do a good job at it.”
“The decades ahead are going to be some of the most challenging we have experienced as a nation in modern history,” one close friend says. “And William is ready to step up to the plate.”
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the weekend editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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