UK

Profile: Prince William

Prince William
Image caption Prince William undertook a rescue mission on his first fully operational shift

Prince William, as second-in-line to the throne, will one day be head of the armed forces. Before that happens, he will have served in the military himself, after qualifying as an RAF search and rescue pilot.

Born William Arthur Philip Louis in London on 21 June 1982, he was soon introduced to the public with the first official photographs.

He went to Jane Mynors' nursery school in London in September 1985 and two years later started at Wetherby School.

He moved to Ludgrove School in Berkshire in September 1990 where he stayed until entering Eton in 1995.

Work experience

In that year, Prince Charles struck a deal with the press whereby William and Harry were left alone in return for limited access at press and photo calls.

William left Eton with A-levels in geography, biology and history of art as well as 12 GCSEs.

During a gap year between school and university he went to Mauritius, spent time in Africa, trekked with the Army in Belize and worked as a Raleigh International volunteer in Chile.

But it was, he says, his short stint working as a labourer on a dairy farm in south-west England that he enjoyed the most.

The start of his military career came after several months' work experience, during which he shadowed financial staff in the City of London, acted as a "rescue novice" with a mountain rescue team and learned about land estate management.

Following the Asian tsunami in December 2004, he and Harry helped raise £40,000 for survivors by playing in a charity polo match.

Volunteering

The brothers were also shown working as volunteers at a Red Cross centre, putting together aid packages for those affected.

William met and shared a cottage with his girlfriend, Kate Middleton, while they were undergraduates at St Andrew's University in Fife, Scotland.

In June 2005 William graduated with an upper second class degree (2:1) in geography, making him one of the most academically successful royals. Later that month he passed examinations for Army officer training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

Image caption Prince William attended Princess Diana's funeral with Prince Harry and Prince Charles

In July that same year, he flew to New Zealand to meet the touring British and Irish Lions rugby union team.

While there, William also carried out his first solo engagements, attending ceremonies in Wellington and Auckland on behalf of the Queen to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II.

In September 2005 he became patron to young people's homelessness charity Centrepoint, following in the footsteps of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who represented the charity from 1992.

There is still much sympathy afforded to him for the loss of his mother, who died in 1997 in a car crash, when he was 15.

Many people clearly remember him walking behind the cortege of his mother at her funeral in Westminster Abbey, accompanied by his brother, father, grandfather and uncle.

On 23 April 2008, St George's Day, the Queen appointed Prince William to be a Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

Having completed his officer training at Sandhurst, he qualified as an RAF search and rescue pilot in September 2010, at the age of 28.

The prince carried out his first rescue on his very first full operational shift as a search and rescue pilot, airlifting a seriously ill man who was one of the crew working on a gas rig in Morecambe Bay.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites