Prince William on His Future: “I Certainly Don’t Lie Awake at Night” Wanting to Become King

“It sadly means my family has moved on, and I don’t want that.”

Prince William Prince George
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s the oddest conundrum about being a royal—the job you’ve prepared for your whole life begins only after the death of a (hopefully) beloved parent. Prince Charles, for example, has undertaken a 73-year—and, we hope, more to come—apprenticeship to learn how to be a monarch. His life’s greatest and most pivotal work begins only upon the death of his mother.

Same goes for Charles’ heir, Prince William, who will step into the role he was born to do only after Charles dies, may it be in the distant, distant future. William reminded Nicholas Witchell of Marie Claire, via the Mirror, that the milestone won’t be an entirely positive one.

“I certainly don’t lie awake at night waiting or hoping for it,” he said. “Because it sadly means my family has moved on, and I don’t want that.”

The prince told Witchell that, although he does have plans to be a “modern king”—evidence of which he displayed while on tour in the Caribbean recently—he said his future as monarch is “not at the top of [his] priority list.”

In 2017, William’s brother Prince Harry expressed similar views when he addressed the heavy responsibility and weight that comes with being the future monarch of the country, a role he’ll never have to undertake—though upon his birth in 1984 he was third in line to the throne, thanks to the births of William’s children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, he is now sixth in line.

In speaking with Newsweek, Harry said “Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so.” He then added that, although no one looks forward to the death of a family member, “we will carry out our duties at the right time.”

Many, many moons from now, George will ascend to the throne, a role he is slowly coming to terms with, thanks in large part to deep preparation on the part of his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

“George is only just beginning to understand his destiny,” royal expert Duncan Larcombe told OK!. “But Kate has got the journey planned.”

Larcombe said he was especially struck seeing George in a suit last summer alongside his parents at the Euro finals, he said.

“People were asking why they hadn’t let him wear an England shirt ‘like a normal eight-year-old,’” Larcombe said. “William was apparently keen on the idea, but it was Kate, the former commoner, who said no. She was showing George that being ‘on duty’ requires a different approach…He has to learn to don the royal armor.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.