Sometimes, Prince William seems to be a “royal” enigma. On one hand, he is the future King of England, so you’d expect all of us to know more about the man’s life. On the other hand, it’s other members of the Royal Family (from the venerable Queen Elizabeth to the disgraced Prince Andrew and defiant Prince Harry) that seem to make all the headlines.
It may be fitting that this future King is good at making neither waves nor headlines. However, everyone from his biggest haters to his hugest fans shares the same question: who, exactly, is the real Prince William?
To help find that answer, we’re doing a deep dive into the sometimes tragic, sometimes downright weird truth about Prince William.
A historic birth
While William doesn’t make too many headlines these days, he still managed to make history from the moment that he was born. And it’s all thanks to his unconventional royal of a mother, Princess Diana.
Previously, all royal children were delivered in a royal residency. However, Diana decided to deliver William at a hospital instead. Sheila Kitzinger, who worked at the hospital at the time, later told the Daily Mail that Diana insisted on a natural birthing process where she stood up instead of the royal custom of laying down and mellowing out with chloroform.
Diana also made sure that Charles held her up and played an active role in the delivery process. This might have helped bond Charles to young William, but it would soon be clear that Diana was his favorite.
His close relationship with Diana
When he was younger, Diana never wanted to be far away from William if she could avoid it. One of the most famous examples of this was when Diana insisted on bringing the young prince to Australia and New Zealand as part of the royal tour she and Charles took in 1983. That trip was somewhat mixed for the couple: they were overjoyed to see William learn to crawl while they visited Woomargama. But Vanity Fair reports that Charles grew to resent the fact that William clearly favored Diana over him.
William was so close to his mother that he was really devastated when she died in 1997. The prince was 15 at the time and visiting Scotland. Today reports how William tried to get past his grief: “I was in Balmoral when I was told my mother had died. Still in shock, I found sanctuary in the service of Crathie Kirk (Church) that very morning. And in the dark days of grief that followed, I found comfort and solace in the Scottish outdoors.”
William never stopped thinking of his mother, though the memory eventually transformed from one of grief to one of strength. As he said in an interview with NBC News, “Not a day goes by when I don’t think about [Diana’s death]” and that “She was massively strong like that and gave us both reservoirs of strength.”
William’s relationship with Charles
William’s relationship with Prince Charles has evolved over the years. And both the death of Diana and Harry leaving the country affected the relationship.
When William was younger, he preferred Diana. Between that and the growing distance between Charles and Diana, it is no surprise that Charles spent so much time away from his family. In fact, Time reported in 1988 that there was a 37-day period where Charles was away from his family for activities ranging from royal duties to fishing with his buddies.
As William got older, though, Charles spent more time with him, and the two became closer. This was particularly true after Diana died in 1997. And given Charles’ alleged negative reaction to Prince Harry stepping back from royal responsibilities, William has likely secured his place as the favorite son of his father.
Falling in love
Prince William raised a few royal eyebrows when he went to the University of St. Andrews rather than Cambridge or Oxford. However, it worked out for one big reason: it was at St. Andrews that he met the love of his life, Kate Middleton.
The two didn’t have the smoothest road to “happily ever after,” though. It’s not easy dating the future King of England, and the two ended up breaking up and getting back together two separate times. Eventually, William proposed to Kate in 2010 while they were visiting Kenya, and she said “yes,” marrying him one year later.
Years later, William became philosophical about how he experienced the greatest tragedies and greatest joys of his life in Scotland, where St. Andrews is located. As Today reports, he was in Scotland when he discovered his mother had died, but he now associates the country with great happiness. “Alongside this painful memory is one of great joy, because it was here in Scotland 20 years ago this year that I first met Catherine,” William said.
The future King and the current Queen
Nobody in the Royal Family plays their cards closer to the vest than Queen Elizabeth. Fortunately, William has a great relationship with her, and they have only grown closer in recent years.
One thing that brought them closer was actually William marrying Kate Middleton. Royal expert Andrew Morton dished to Ok! Magazine that “The thing about Kate is the Queen was impressed she adored and loved William for himself, not for his title.” Furthermore, “She spends a lot more time supporting and nurturing the relationship between William and Catherine than she did with Charles and Diana. It’s pretty clear she wasn’t going to make that mistake again.”
Additionally, Prince William stepped up to be the face of the family during multiple controversies, including “Megxit,” Harry and Meghan’s bombshell Oprah interview, and the scandals of Prince Andrew. According to an insider who spoke to The Sunday Times, “That has changed the way the Queen sees him and values his input.”
William’s relationship with Harry
What is William’s relationship with his brother, Prince Harry? It seems like the answer to that has changed greatly over time.
Years ago, the two were thick as thieves, and William never hesitated to defend his brother when pundits wanted to discuss Harry’s wilder days (we all remember the strip billiards incident, right?). When Harry’s wildness came up in a 2007 NBC News interview, William said “No matter what you read or what you see, you’re never going to know someone unless you actually get to meet them and talk to them properly.”
Their relationship has gotten frostier over time, though. There were many rumors that William warned Harry against marrying Meghan Markle and that William was quite angry over the two of them leaving the country. And, of course, it was William left holding the bag when Harry and Meghan were airing dirty royal laundry in their interview with Oprah.
However, the two have met up since then for various events ranging from unveiling a statue honoring their mother to the funeral of Prince Philip. At these events, it seemed each brother was interested in reconnecting but didn’t know how, and an insider told The Sunday Times that William is particularly interested in rebuilding their bond.
How much is Prince William worth?
How much is Prince William worth? This question is difficult to answer, but we’ll take a crack at it!
For example, Celebrity Net Worth says that he is worth about $30 million, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. As Forbes points out, Princess Diana left William and Harry each $10 million, and this paid out dividends of about $450,000 each year after they turned 25 until they got access to the full chunk at age 30.
Back when he was a Royal Air Force lieutenant, William earned up to $74,000 each year. These days, he also has access to the family’s Sovereign Grant from the Duchy of Cornwall, a $1.3 billion grant meant to be used only for official functions.
Of course, William is the future King of England. The Queen currently has a net worth of about $550 million and the entire Crown Estate has a net worth of $19.5 billion. Of course, the Queen can’t cash out the estate assets, but she can use them however she wants. Once William becomes king, he will be richer than ever and have free access to billions of dollars in assets!