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Amy Hunt

32 interesting facts about Prince William – from his hobbies to his secret nicknames

Prince William at a royal engagement, image used to illustrate a piece on 'interesting facts about Prince William'.

Keen to know more about the future King? Below are some of the most interesting facts and nuggets about Prince William’s life, including some sweet (and fascinating) personal stories that you may not have heard before…

The Prince of Wales is one of the most senior members of the royal family, second only to King Charles himself. Alongside his wife, the Princess of Wales, William spends his day performing royal duties and engagements on behalf of the monarch, engaging in more formal state engagements such as the Coronation, and visiting charities and causes that are important to him and the wider family.

It’s easy to assume that we know everything about Prince William, given that the eldest son practically grew up in the spotlight. However, there are likely to be a few things you don’t know about the future King - so we’ve rounded up 32 of the most interesting facts about Prince William to help you get to know the monarch-to-be a bit better…

32 interesting facts about Prince William

Just like the most interesting facts about Prince Harry, some of these titbits will be well known to most royal experts, but others might surprise you. 

He was christened on his great-grandmother’s birthday

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

It was a day of double celebrations in the royal household on the day of Prince William’s christening. Just six days after he was born, on 4th August, the King-to-be was christened in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. And that day also happened to be the 82nd birthday of his great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry were said to be particularly close with their great-grandmother, and William was often invited over to Windsor Castle for tea with her – to help him learn his future role as monarch.

He was an impressive student

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

When he was 13, the Prince of Wales attended Eton College in Windsor, as had Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer, and Queen Elizabeth II’s cousins the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent.

Whilst there, Prince William clearly made quite the impact, and achieved several accolades, as per During his time at the school, Prince William was made a House Captain of Games, a House Captain generally, and was one of 21 boys chosen to be a Prefect.

He undertook his first solo public engagements in New Zealand

(Image credit: Dean Treml/Getty Images)

While the Prince of Wales had been able to enjoy a few official engagements abroad with his parents by his side, he took the opportunity to fly solo for the very first time during an official trip to New Zealand in July 2005.

At the age of 23, the future King took part in a series of events to commemorate World War II. He met with crowds of fans, laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington, took part in a tree planting ceremony, and even found time to  attend a test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions at Eden Park.

Like many other royals, he served in the military

(Image credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

After university, William followed in the footsteps of many other royal family members and embarked on a career within the military, before stepping into his role as a royal officially.

He trained at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, before also training with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. It’s been reported that William was keen to serve in Iraq, but was denied the chance to do so given his position as a senior royal. 

Instead, he completed various missions across the world, before embarking on a career as a search-and-rescue pilot. Prince William trained with RAF’s Search And Rescue Force in 2009 and graduated from the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury in January 2010. He served in the Falkland Islands for six weeks and conducted 156 search and rescue operations.

He grew up between London and Gloucestershire

(Image credit: Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)

Though the royal family have plenty of homes all over the UK, Prince William was largely raised between the capital city of London, and the quieter climes of the Gloucestershire countryside.

When the then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana married, they decided that their main residence would be Highgrove House in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. They also agreed to keep an apartment in Kensington Palace, as their official London home. However, when the couple split in 1992, Diana remained at Kensington Palace until she died in 1997, while Charles continued to live between Highgrove House and Clarence House in London.

This means that William (and Harry) were raised between the two properties as they grew up, enjoying both a home in the city and the countryside.

He was just 8 when he did his first official royal engagement

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The Prince of Wales got started on his royal duties early, making his first official appearance in March 1991, alongside his mother Diana and father Charles.

When William was just eight years old, the three of them headed to Cardiff to mark St. David’s Day, and took part in a walkabout outside of Llandaff Cathedral, where they also received yellow daffodils from a member of the crowd. William even signed his first ever royal signature inside the cathedral's guestbook.

That same year, William also embarked on his first official royal visit abroad, heading to Canada with his parents and younger brother. 

William can speak five different languages

(Image credit: Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP) (Photo by VICTORIA JONES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Impressively, Prince William can reportedly speak five different languages – though not all fluently. 

William was reportedly taught French from a young age, and can speak it well, alongside other members of his family such as King Charles and Princess Anne. It’s also said that he can speak good Welsh – something that was believed to be important to his father, given his role as the Prince of Wales.

He can also allegedly speak some Gaelic and a little bit of Spanish – and it’s also reported that he decided to teach himself Swahili (the most widely spoken language in Africa) during his time at university.

He had a code name at university

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The future King was allowed a somewhat normal, semi-private life during his time at St. Andrews, with the paparazzi and UK press agreeing to stay away, as long as he shared regular official photos.

However, William’s friends and classmates went an extra step to ensure that he was able to enjoy as much privacy as possible, giving him a surprisingly normal fake name of ‘Steve’. It’s reported that even Kate Middleton used the nickname to avoid alerting listening ears to his presence, allowing him to go about his day whilst flying under the radar as much as possible.

William and Catherine got engaged in Kenya

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

William and Catherine got engaged after 10 years together on a holiday to Kenya with friends, in October 2010. Sharing his thoughts during their engagement interview a few weeks later, William said, “I'd been planning it for a while but as every guy out there will know, it takes a certain amount of motivation to get yourself going. 

"So I was planning it, and then it just felt really right out in Africa. It was beautiful at the time.”

The Prince proposed with his mother Diana’s famous sapphire engagement ring, and shared that he was very strict with where he kept the ring for weeks before the proposal. "I literally would not let it go – everywhere I went I was keeping hold of it because I knew this thing, if it disappeared, I would be in a lot of trouble!"

The future King actually has poor eyesight

(Image credit: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

We don’t often see Prince William with glasses on, so it may come as a surprise to know that his eyesight is not all that good, and that he usually needs either glasses or contact lenses to get on with his day.

However, his has previously shared this his vision difficulties has actually had its benefits in the past. Speaking on the BBC documentary Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health, he explained, “My eyesight started to tail off a little bit as I got older, and I didn't used to wear contacts when I was working, so when I gave speeches I couldn't see anyone's face.

"And it helps, because it's just a blur of faces and because you can't see anyone looking at you – I can see enough to read the paper and stuff like that – but I couldn't actually see the whole room. And actually, that really helped with my anxiety.”

He is the first future King to be born in a hospital

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Prince William was born on 21st June 1982 at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, the first son of the then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana. On that day, not only did he become the first British royal to ever be born in a hospital, but he also became the first future King to be born in a hospital. 

As was tradition, all royals in the Mountbatten-Windsor family before then had been born at one of the royal homes or palaces. King Charles, for example, was born at Buckingham Palace, while Princess Anne was born at Clarence House. Their siblings Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were also both born at Buckingham Palace. One of Princess Diana's most memorable moments, she dropped royal protocol and decided not to give birth at home.

Since then, all royal babies have been born in a hospital, including William’s brother Prince Harry, and his three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

He had a career before becoming a full-time royal

(Image credit: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Images)

For two years, William worked with the East Anglian Air Ambulance performing search and rescue operations, after training to be a military helicopter pilot as a natural extension of his skills and training. He was permitted to collect a salary for this job, but donated the full amount in both years to the charity itself instead. 

Since leaving this role in 2017 to become a full-time royal, William has spoken about the impact of attending such distressing cases on his mental health – revealing that seeing trauma and bereavement on a regular basis was very difficult to deal with.

He asked Prince Harry for their mother's engagement ring

(Image credit: Getty Images)

William proposed to his wife, the Princess of Wales, with his late mother’s famous engagement ring – but it didn’t always belong just to William. 

When the Princes were younger, the ring belonged to both of them. And in Prince Harry's 2023 memoir Spare, he revealed that William asked to have it himself, to give to his future wife. Harry explains, "he’d asked for it after Mummy died, and I’d been more than happy to let it go."

Stories have long circulated that Harry had had the ring for years, and only gave it up when William wanted to propose – but it appears now that this wasn't entirely true.

William has long been an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community

(Image credit: JONATHAN BRADY/AFP via Getty Images)

Alongside other many causes close to his heart, Prince William has also been one of the first royals in the history of the family to speak out for the LGBTQ+ community, particularly concerning mental health.

For Pride Month 2023, he participated in a film discussing the mental health struggles of those who are LGBTQ+. He has also appeared on the cover of the LGBT publication Attitude magazine, becoming the first royal to show support for the community in this way.

Whilst attending an event at the LGBTQ+ charity Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) in 2018, he also shared that he would be fully supportive of his children if they were to be gay. “I think you don’t really start thinking about that until you are a parent, and I think – obviously, absolutely fine by me,” he said.

“The one thing I’d be worried about is how, particularly the roles my children fill, how that is going to be interpreted and seen. So Catherine and I have been doing a lot of talking about it to make sure they were prepared.”

Prince William is a keen lover of films and TV

(Image credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

The Prince of Wales has been open about his love of cinema and box sets in the past – a passion that is made clear in his position as president of the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA).

And in fact, William and Catherine have both revealed that they love watching TV, with Harry revealing that William and Kate were both huge fans of Suits before meeting their sister-in-law Meghan Markle. 

William has also previously shared that he and his wife both share a keen love for Killing Eve, Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones. They’re just like us!

He enjoys surfing

(Image credit: Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)

He’s more often seen taking part in pursuits such as polo and bike riding, but Prince William also enjoys a more beach-based, sporting hobby too in surfing.

The royal was first spotted using a bodyboard when he was just 11 years old, and has kept up with the sport as he got older. William was also seen surfing with friends in Scotland in 2004, and in Portugal and of course, Australia.

In fact, he’s such a fan that the sport even formed part of his bachelor party in 2011, in Norfolk. William and a couple of his friends took advantage of a private section of coastline, Speke Mill, and spent the afternoon surfing in the chilly Norfolk sea.

He is left-handed - like one of his children

(Image credit: Jane Barlow - Pool/Getty Images)

The future King actually writes with his left hand, with this fact first coming to the attention of the world when he wrote out his signature on his first day of school at Eton, as is tradition for every new pupil.

But he’s not the only left-handed royal – Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh is also left-handed, as was the Queen Mother. 

It’s also been reported that William’s eldest son, Prince George, is left-handed, but given that he hasn’t been spotted writing anything down as of yet, those rumours are still unconfirmed. We’ll have to wait and see!

He's the tallest member of the royal family

(Image credit: Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Unless you’ve been able to meet or see Prince William in real life, it’s tricky to appreciate how tall he is – and interestingly, he’s very tall.

It is reported that the Prince of Wales is 6ft 3in, making him the tallest royal in the family. His brother Prince Harry comes in at a close second, at 6ft 2in, and it’s then reported that their grandfather, Prince Philip, was 6ft. 

King Charles on the other hand, is said to be around 5ft 10in, and William’s wife, Catherine is reported to be around 5ft 9in.

He's estimated to have a net worth of almost £100 million

(Image credit: Hugh Hastings - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

It’s clear that the British royal family is one of (if not the) wealthiest in the country, but given his status as second-in-line to the throne, Prince William is now responsible for a lot of that fortune himself. 

As the Prince of Wales, he is now in charge of the Duchy of Cornwall, the crown-owned organisation that is designed to fund the duties of the most senior members of the family outside of the King himself. 

It’s reported that this duchy gives William an enormous £23 million per year to play with, a sum that he alone can decide what to do with. Previously, Prince Charles used this money to fund his and his son’s royal engagements.

But outside of this, he also has a pretty astonishing personal fortune. Both he and Harry were left around £6 million from the Queen Mother upon her death, and their mother Princess Diana also reportedly left her sons a large fortune of around $10 million.

Prince William has three official homes

(Image credit: Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The royal family certainly aren’t short on homes, and Prince William has three to choose from dotted around the country. He and Catherine now have their main family base at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor, which they recently moved into after their eldest children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, started school in the area.

But before then, William and his family lived mainly at Anmer Hall in Norfolk, a place that had become their main family home after the birth of their son Prince George. The enormous 10-bedroom property is said to boast both a swimming pool and private tennis courts and is located within the grounds of the family’s much-loved Sandringham estate. They still have the home to hand, but it's believed they now don't get to spend quite as much time there.

And if that wasn’t enough, William and Catherine also have Apartment 1A (though it’s less like an apartment and more like a large house) at Kensington Palace, to use as their base when they are in London for work or family engagements.

Wildlife and homelessness the two causes he champions the most

(Image credit: Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage)

Every member of the royal family tends to champion specific causes, and two of the causes Prince William is most passionate about are wildlife conservation and homelessness. 

Through his and Catherine’s Royal Foundation, he started the Earthshot Prize, an initiative which spotlights and funds solutions that are designed to help save the planet from destruction. He is also a patron of the Tusk Trust, and founder of United for Wildlife, a programme which aims to make it impossible for traffickers to profit from illegal wildlife activities, such as poaching.

He has also been vocal in his desire to end homelessness, and regularly supports initiatives like the Big Issue. He is also a patron of Centrepoint. He and Catherine also began the Homewards programme, which was created to begin to eradicate homelessness as much as possible via local projects.

He had his favourite cake at his wedding to Catherine

(Image credit: Getty Images )

Just like us, Prince William has a sweet tooth – and one of his favourite treats is an easy-to-make chocolate biscuit cake that he grew up enjoying at home.

Provided by the royal chefs, the chocolate biscuit cake is a no-bake indulgence that has been made famous by the royal family themselves. Filled with layers of rich tea biscuits and dark chocolate, and covered with a luxurious chocolate ganache, it was also Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite.

William loved it so much that it was one of two wedding cakes he and Catherine had on their big day in April 2011. 

He studied art history at university - to begin with

(Image credit: DAVID CHESKIN/AFP via Getty Images)

William attended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, which is where he famously met his future wife, Kate Middleton.

He began his undergraduate degree studying Art History, the same course Catherine was enrolled in. However, it soon became clear that it wasn’t the subject for him, and William actually ended up changing his degree to Geography, achieving a 2.1 when he graduated in 2005. 

It’s reported that Catherine was to thank for his switch to a different degree, with publications stating that William was previously considering whether university life was actually for him.

Fatherhood has made him 'more emotional'

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Prince of Wales first became a father at 31, when Prince George was born in 2013. Since then, he’s confessed that being a father to three little ones has had a fundamental impact on him, making him more emotional.

In 2016, a year after the birth of Princess Charlotte, he admitted, "I am a lot more emotional than I used to be. 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 realise how precious life is and it puts it all in perspective."

He used to have a crush on a certain supermodel

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Back in the 90s, teenage Prince William became part of a legion of young boys who had a crush on one of the world's most famous supermodels, Cindy Crawford.

But unlike most young men, the King-to-be got the chance to meet his teenage crush, thanks to his mother Princess Diana. In the 2017 documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, William shared that his mother had arranged for Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell to be waiting at his home when he came back from school.

“I was probably a 12 or 13-year-old boy who had posters of them on his wall," he said. "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. That was a very funny memory that's lived with me forever."

His and Catherine’s first official engagement together took place before they were married

(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

After getting engaged in October 2010, and announcing their happy news to the world in November 2010, William took his then-wife-to-be on her very first official royal engagement – an important moment, given that royal duties were not something she was a part of as his girlfriend for the previous 10 years.

In late December, the couple attended a cancer charity event in Norfolk, William’s first official event with Catherine. At the time, a royal source explained to People, "Between now and the wedding there will be occasions when Catherine does shadow Prince William, to learn the ropes and see how things go.”

He has a couple of nicknames within his family

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince William has picked up a few affectionate nicknames in his time. Perhaps the most famous of them all is ‘Willy’ which Prince Harry revealed that he often called (and calls) his brother in his 2023 book Spare.

Sweetly, it has also been revealed that Princess Diana often used to call her eldest son ‘Wombat’ – which he thinks came from a trip Down Under. In a 2007 interview with Dateline, he shared, “It kind of stuck with me. I can’t get rid of it now.

“It began when I was 2. I’ve been rightfully told because I can’t remember back that far, but when we went to Australia with our parents, and the wombat, you know, that’s the local animal, so I just basically got called that, not because I look like a wombat. Or maybe I do, you know?”

He has a scar from a fairly serious injury

(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Though it’s not so easily noticeable now, Prince William has a fairly significant permanent scar on his forehead, which came about after being accidentally hit in the head with a golf club by a fellow student during his time at Eton. 

Though the future King recovered well, it was pretty serious at the time. William was admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital to deal with his injury initially, and was then transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London after finding that he had suffered a depressed fracture of the skull, which required an operation to fix.

He used to have an unusual nickname for the Queen

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

It is reported that Prince William had a rather funny nickname for his late grandmother, the Queen, when he was much younger – and it’s not what you might expect.

A previous guest to Buckingham Palace revealed in the Daily Mail that they had heard Prince William use this nickname for Queen Elizabeth II when he was much younger. They wrote that young Prince William had fallen over, and was asking for someone called Gary.

“A guest who went to help asked who Gary was, assuming it must be a member of the royal household. ‘I’m Gary,’ responded the Queen. ‘He hasn’t learned to say Granny yet'.”

William has often spoken about his mental health

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince William has been open about his mental health and struggles with his mental health in the past, and has worked hard to open up conversations about it in the past.

His programme Heads Together, which he founded with Prince Harry and the Princess of Wales, has been a keen focus of his work, and he regularly teams up with other organisations to discuss the issue of maintaining good mental health.

In October 2023, he also spoke about how he maintains and looks after his mental health, during a young people’s mental health event in Birmingham. "For me, just general maintenance, general mental wellbeing [include] things like walking, fresh air, getting away from screens is a big deal,” William said.

"Having a laugh. Humor for me is a big deal – I love to laugh. You’ve got to look at the lighter things in life sometimes to feel good. Time with my friends, time with my family. Things like that really matter to me."

He will be the fifth King William

(Image credit: Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

When Prince William becomes King following the reign of his father, King Charles, he will become the fifth King William throughout history – and will likely be known as King William V. 

He has the option to change his regnal name upon his coronation, but given that his father opted not to do this, it is probably unlikely that William will make this choice.

The last time the UK had a King William was rather a long time ago however – King William IV reigned from 1765 - 1837.

He took a gap year

(Image credit: Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)

Before heading off to university in Scotland, the former Duke of Cambridge took a short break from education. During his 12 months away from the UK, he took the opportunity to dive into charity work, as well as some gruelling physical challenges.

As part of his gap year, the royal joined the Welsh Guards on an expedition in Belize, before travelling through Kenya, and then volunteering with Raleigh International in Patagonia, South America. Whilst there, he helped to build new walkways, and taught English in a mountain village in the south of Chile.

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