Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, KG, KT, PC, ADC (P) real name William Arthur Philip Louis was born on 21 June 1982 is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales. He is second in the line of succession to the British throne, after his father.
William was educated at four schools in the United Kingdom and obtained a degree from the University of St Andrews. He spent parts of a gap year in Chile, Belize, and some parts of Africa. In December 2006, he completed 44 weeks of training as an officer cadet and was commissioned in the Blues and Royals regiment. In April 2008, he qualified as a pilot by completing pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell. He then underwent helicopter flying training in order to become a full-time pilot with the RAF Search and Rescue Force in early 2009. His service with the British Armed Forces ended in September 2013. William married Catherine Middleton on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. Hours before the wedding, he was created Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus. The couple have two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and are expecting their third in April 2018.
Having decided to follow a military career, in October 2005 William attended the four-day Regular Commissions Board at Westbury in Wiltshire, where he underwent selection to judge his suitability to become an army officer. Having passed selection, William was admitted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2006. Successfully completing the course, William was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at Sandhurst on 15 December 2006; the graduation parade was attended by the Queen and the Prince of Wales, along with other members of the Royal Family. William officially received his commission as a lieutenant at midnight. With his rank obtained, as “Lieutenant Wales” (a name based on his father’s title, Prince of Wales), he followed his younger brother into the Blues and Royals as a troop commander in an armored reconnaissance unit, after which he spent four months in training for the post at Bovington Camp, Dorset.
Though Major-General Sir Sebastian Roberts, General Officer commanding the Household Division, had said William’s deployment was possible, the Prince’s position as second in line to the throne, and the convention of ministers advising against the person in that position being put into dangerous situations, cast doubts on William’s chances of seeing combat. These doubts increased after Prince Harry’s deployment was cancelled in 2007, due to “specific threats”. William, instead, went on to training in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, obtaining his commission as a sub-lieutenant in the former and flying officer in the latter (both broadly equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the army). With this complete, William undertook an attachment with the Royal Air Force, undergoing an intensive four-month training course at RAF Cranwell. Upon completing the course on 11 April 2008, he was presented with his RAF wings by his father, who had himself received his wings after training at the same college. During this secondment Prince William flew to Afghanistan in a C-17 Globe master, which repatriated the body of Trooper Robert Pearson. William had been affectionately known by his fellow airmen as “Billy the Fish”, a pun on the name “William Wales”.
William was then seconded to train with the Royal Navy for two months, from June to August 2008, during which he spent three weeks at the Britannia Royal Naval College, training on units of the surface fleet and submarines, as well as with the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Marines. He spent a day on submarine HMS Talent. During a five-week deployment on HMS Iron Duke in the Caribbean, he took part in a joint operation with the United States Coast Guard that identified and captured a speedboat carrying 900 kg of cocaine worth about £40 million. The ship also took part in other raids.
Owing to William’s future role, a long-term career in the military was considered out of the question; due to his position his desire to see active service was always unlikely to be fulfilled. William originally joined the military on a short-service commission lasting three years. However, it was announced in September 2008 that he would be extending his time in the forces, first by taking on another secondment in 2008, including working at the MOD and non-operational flying with the Army Air Corps. Then it was announced that he would transfer from the Army to the RAF in order to train as a full-time search and rescue helicopter pilot, a role that would enable him to take an active role in the armed forces without being deployed on combat operations.
In January 2009, William transferred his commission to the RAF and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. He trained to become a helicopter pilot with the RAF’s Search and Rescue Force. In January 2010, he graduated from the Defense Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury, where he had been under the instruction of Squadron Leader Craig Finch. On 26 January 2010, he transferred to the Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley on Anglesey to receive training on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter; he graduated from this course on 17 September 2010. This made him the first member of the British Royal Family since Henry VII to live in Wales. It was announced on 15 April 2010 that William would remain at RAF Valley for his operational tour, being assigned to C Flight No. 22 Squadron and initially performing co-pilot duties. His operational tour was expected to last 30 to 36 months.