By Danielle Gorman
Hello, and welcome to the first birthday special at Blithe and Bonny! And who are we celebrating today? None other than His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge, a.k.a. Prince William. Standing second-in-line to the throne (behind his father, HRH The Prince of Wales), Prince William has been no stranger to the limelight.
He has been followed by the media since his infancy. His mother, the late Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, was often seen taking him and his brother, Harry, out and about in London—whether it was shopping or enjoying a meal at McDonalds (yes, the Prince has deigned to eat at McDonalds and—dare I say—enjoyed it!) they could be seen with a smile, hand-in-hand with their mother. But fate, unfortunately, took her away too early. Lady Diana passed away in 1997 in a vehicular accident in Paris. But this did not stop William from following in her footsteps.
Ever since he was young, William was influenced by his parents in different ways: from his father he learned about the life of a royal—what it was to attend functions and behave in a way befitting a boy in his position (a successor to the throne); from his mother he learned about the importance of humanitarian work. Lady Diana was a strong believer in helping others, volunteering her time, efforts, and money for many charities.
William easily fell in his mother’s footsteps. William spent part of his gap year (the time between secondary school, or high school, and university) in Chile, Belize, and Africa, performing work for many charities and beginning his career in the British military (a career he still follows today). His time spent in Chile, in particular, saw him sharing dormitories with other young teachers, sharing household chores, while he taught children in the area.
When he did enroll in university, at St. Andrews in Scotland, he threw himself into his studies, changing his degree from Art History to Geography (see, even a Prince can’t make up his mind about majors!) and participating in many sports and activities: polo, football (soccer), rugby, swimming, water polo, and riding motorcycles. It was also at St. Andrews that he met his wife, Kate Middleton (now Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge), and treated us to the wedding of the millennium.
In the years preceding his marriage with Kate (who now goes by Catherine), he trained with the British army and Royal Air Force and even served on active duty for seven years (it is actually fairly common for male royalty to serve in the military in one form or other). However, these days he’s more likely to hang up his pilot’s license in favor of spending quality time with his two adorable children, George and Charlotte.
It seems that whenever William and his family step out into the public, we just can’t get enough of them. And that is because for everything that he is—royalty, wealthy, privileged—he treats his life with dignity and humility. He doesn’t puff himself up, or think he is better than anyone. He is kind and generous. He is a family-man who takes his responsibilities seriously. He cherishes what he has, and lifts up those that are weak. He’s an inspiration to you and me.
Happy birthday, William!