Prince William’s life in pictures as he turns 40

Prince William, second in line to the throne, celebrates his 40th birthday.

The father-of-three has been in the royal spotlight since birth.

The first public glimpse of Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ eldest son took place when he was just a day old.

William was born on June 21, 1982 at St Mary’s Hospital in London, the same hospital where his three children were also born.

William was born at St Mary’s Hospital in London.(PA: John Redman)

As the eldest son of Prince Charles, William passed his uncle Prince Andrew in the line of succession.

Just two years later, brother Harry was born, making them the so-called ‘heir and heir’.

Princess Diana sits with her young sons Princes William and Harry in 1987.
Princess Diana with William and Harry in 1987.(PA: John Redman)

Diana seemed acutely aware of the difficult dynamics facing royal siblings and sought to break the cycle by forging a strong bond between her two sons.

She remained a devoted mother after her split from Charles in 1992

The couple divorced in August 1996.

A young Prince Harry and Prince William on toboggans with their father Prince Charles.
Harry and William with their father Prince Charles in 1995.(Reuters: Ruben Sprich)

William was only 15 when Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

Harry was only 12 years old.

William told a BBC documentary in 2020 that his mother’s death was “a pain like no other”.

Earl Spencer, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles view the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales.
William, 15, and Harry, 12, at their mother’s funeral.(Reuters)

William studied at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he met his future wife Kate Middleton in 2001.

Prince William as a teenager in college, holding a notebook and looking away.
William allegedly used the pseudonym Steve while studying at the University of St Andrews.(PA: David Cheskin)

They both studied art history and lived together in a shared house.

William and Kate briefly separated in 2007 but got back together a few months later.

Kate Middleton and Prince William on their graduation day from St Andrews University, June 2005.
Kate Middleton and Prince William on their graduation day in 2005.(

During this time, William began his military career.

He graduated as an Army Officer from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in December 2006.

Prince William walks in full military uniform.
Prince William (right) marches in the Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy in 2006.(Reuters: Dylan Martinez)

William then served in the army for seven and a half years.

He was on active duty with the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force before becoming a civilian air ambulance pilot.

Prince William wears a military green jumpsuit.
Prince William trained as a helicopter pilot in the Air Force.(Reuters: Phil Noble)

William proposed to Kate while vacationing at a wild game reserve in Kenya in October 2010.

He gave her his mother’s blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

They were married at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011.

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, on their wedding day in 2011.
The wedding was watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world.(Reuters: Toby Melville)

Their eldest child George was born on July 22, 2013.

George overtook his uncle Harry to become third in line to the throne.

Prince William and Kate show off the royal baby for the first time
George’s early life mirrors that of his father. Kate even wore a dress similar to Diana’s.(Reuters: Stefan Wermuth)

William and Kate’s second child, Charlotte, was born on May 2, 2015.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William appear with their baby girl outside a hospital.
Charlotte is the only child of William and Kate.(Reuters: Suzanne Plunkett)

Charlotte made her Trooping the Color debut in 2016, appearing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace alongside her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

William quit his job as an ambulance driver in 2017 to take on full-time royal duties.

Members of the British Royal Family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
The Royal Family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Color in 2016.(Reuters: Toby Melville)

Two years after the birth of their daughter, William and Kate welcomed their second son and third child, Louis.

Louis was born on April 23, 2018.

The Duchess of Cambridge waves while holding their new baby with Prince William next to her.
Prince Louis was born at St Mary’s Hospital, like his father and siblings.(Reuters: Henry Nicholls)

Like their father, all three children grew up in the spotlight.

William said having children brought back painful emotions from his own childhood, but his wife helped him through it.

“Me and Catherine, in particular, support each other and go through these times together,” he said in 2020.

“Emotionally, things come up out of the blue that you don’t really expect and never really deal with.

“It’s one of the most amazing times in life, but it’s also one of the scariest.”

Prince William and his wife Catherine walk the red carpet with their children Louis, Charlotte and George.
Catherine and Prince William with their children Louis, Charlotte and George.(Reuters: Aaron Chown)

In July 2021, William and Harry unveiled a memorial to their mother on what would have been her 60th birthday.

It was the first time the couple had been together since the funeral of their grandfather, Prince Philip.

William and Harry unveil the statue of Diana
William and Harry unveil a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in London.(Reuters: Dominic Lipinsky)

Together, William and Kate, Harry and Meghan were considered the “Fab Four” when Meghan first entered royal life.

But the couples’ relationship soured over time, culminating in Harry and Meghan stepping down as senior royals in early 2021.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Catherine and Prince William sitting and smiling during an interview.
Harry, Meghan, Kate and William have been dubbed the royal “Fab Four”.(Reuters: Chris Jackson)

While his brother has retired, William has stepped up in recent years as the Queen gradually hands Charles and William more responsibility.

At 73, Charles faces the challenges of a post-Elizabethan world as much as his son.

William has demonstrated a willingness to criticize the House of Windsor and seek to maintain the monarchy’s relevance in modern British society.

The Royal Family stand on the balcony and greet the audience.
The recent wave of Balcony Trooping the Color saw a pared down royal appearance, including William and his family.(Reuters: Leon Neal)

During a recent royal tour of the Caribbean, he was receptive to Jamaica’s intention to become a republic.

“Catherine and I are determined to be of service,” he said.

“For us, it’s not about telling people what to do. It’s about serving them and supporting them in whatever way they think is best.”

Prince William and Catherine shake hands during a visit to Trench Town in the Caribbean.
Prince William and his wife Kate shake hands during their visit to Trench Town in Jamaica.(Reuters: Chris Jackson)

This month, William took to the streets of London to sell copies of the Big Issue, a magazine that supports homeless people.

It is part of his and Catherine’s ongoing role to position themselves as advocates for issues such as homelessness and mental health.

In an article for the magazine, William pledged to “continue to do what I can to shine the spotlight on this solvable problem.

“And while I may seem like one of the most unlikely advocates for this cause, I have always believed in using my platform to help tell these stories and bring attention and action to those who struggle,” he wrote.

“I plan to do this now that I’m 40, even more than in the past.”

Britain's Prince William works as a street vendor for The Big Issue newspaper.
Prince William works as a seller of The Big Issue newspaper on a street in London.(Reuters: Andy Parsons/The big problem)

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