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 public first glimpsed Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ eldest son when he was just one day old.
William was born on June 21, 1982 at St Mary’s Hospital in London, the same hospital where his three children were born.
As Prince Charles’ eldest son, William overtook his uncle Prince Andrew in the line of succession.
Only two years later, brother Harry was born, making them the so-called “heir and reserve”.
Diana seemed well aware of the difficult dynamics royal siblings face and tried to break the cycle by forging a strong bond between her two sons.
She remained a devoted mother after her divorce from Charles in 1992
The couple divorced in August 1996.
William was just 15 years old when Diana died in a car accident in Paris in 1997.
Harry was only 12.
William told a BBC documentary in 2020 that: his mother’s death was “pain like no other”†
William studied at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he met his future wife Kate Middleton in 2001.
They both studied art history and lived together in a shared house.
William and Kate briefly broke up in 2007, but got back together a few months later.
Meanwhile, William began his military career.
He graduated as an army officer from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in December 2006.
William went on to serve in the army for seven and a half years.
He was on active duty in the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force before becoming a civilian air ambulance pilot.
William proposed to Kate while on holiday at a Kenya wildlife sanctuary in October 2010.
He gave her his mother’s blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring.
They were married on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey.
Their oldest child George was born on July 22, 2013.
George overtook his uncle Harry and became third in line to the throne.
William and Kate’s second child, Charlotte, was born on May 2, 2015.
Charlotte made her Trooping the Color debut in 2016, appearing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace next to her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
William quit his job as an ambulance pilot in 2017 to take on full-time royal duties.
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.
Like their father, the three children grew up in the limelight.
William has said that having children brought painful emotions from his own childhood, but his wife had helped him through it.
“Me and Catherine, in particular, we support each other and we go through those moments together,” he said in 2020.
“Emotionally, things come out of the blue that you don’t really expect and never really dealt with.
“It’s one of the most amazing moments in life, but it’s also one of the scariest.”
In July 2021, William and Harry unveiled a memorial from their mother to what would have been her 60th birthday.
It was the couple’s first time together since the funeral of their grandfather, Prince Philip.
Together, William and Kate, Harry and Meghan were seen as the “Fab Four” when Meghan first entered royal life.
But the couples’ relationship deteriorated over time, culminating in the resignation of Harry and Meghan as senior royals in early 2021.
While his brother has gone, William has stepped up in recent years as the Queen gradually devolves more responsibilities to Charles and William.
At age 73, Charles faces the challenges of a post-Elizabethan world as much as his son.
William has shown that he is willing to be critical of the House of Windsor and to strive to keep the monarchy relevant in modern British society.
On a recent royal tour of the Caribbean, he was open to Jamaica’s intentions to become a republic.
“Catherine and I are committed to service,” he said.
“For us, it’s not about telling people what to do. It’s about serving and supporting them in the way they think is best.”
This month William took to the streets of London to sell copies of The Big Issue, a magazine that supports people who are homeless.
It’s part of him and Catherine’s ongoing role in positioning themselves as advocates for issues like homelessness and mental health.
In an article for the magazine, William pledged “to continue to do what I can to raise awareness of this solvable problem.
“And while I may seem like one of the most unlikely advocates for this cause, I’ve always believed in using my platform to tell those stories and bring attention and action to those who are struggling,” he wrote.
“I plan to do that now that I turn 40, even more than in the past.”
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