Celebrating Prince William’s 42nd birthday: A life in photos

Join Starts at 60 as we celebrate Prince William's 42nd Birthday with a glimpse into a life of duty, love, and leadership. Source: Getty Images.

In recent months, Prince William’s royal duties have increased significantly, especially after his wife, Princess Catherine, and his father, King Charles, were diagnosed with cancer, forcing William to assume additional royal responsibilities.

But royal responsibilities aren’t the only thing that has been keeping the Prince of Wales busy, William has also been preparing for his 42nd birthday on Friday, June 21.

So, in honour of the Prince’s birthday, Starts at 60 takes a look back on the highlights of William’s life: from cheery little baby to heartthrob teenager, to devoted husband and loving father.

Prince William’s christening at Buckingham Palace in 1982. Source: Getty

Prince William made his official debut in the world on June 21, 1982. Born at St Mary’s Hospital to parents Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the little tot was first introduced to the public outside the Lindo Wing maternity ward. This would then become a new royal tradition that William would follow with his own children.


Cheeky William crawling around. Source: Getty

While baby Prince William may not yet have comprehended the responsibilities that come with being in line to the throne, his endearing toothy smile had already captured the hearts of the public.

Prince Charles on the royal yacht ‘Britannia’ with Prince William during a visit to Venice, Italy. Source: Getty

Many may see King Charles and Prince William as merely two key members of the Royal Family, but they’re also just father and son. Here the pair was snapped enjoying spending quality time together on the royal yacht, looking at the view before them, during a visit to Venice, Italy.


Prince William attempts to give his baby brother, Prince Harry, a helping hand as he takes his first steps. Source: Getty

Like most siblings, Prince William and his younger brother Prince Harry had their fair share of ups and downs in their relationship. In the past, the two princes weren’t shy about their good-natured rivalry. However, since Harry’s departure as a working senior Royal in 2020, the brothers have faced considerable strain in their relationship.


At least a million people lined the streets of central London to watch the procession with Princess Diana’s coffin from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey. Source: Getty

Arguably one of the most tragic events that has happened in Prince William’s life was when his mother died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. William was only 15 years old and had to walk the funeral procession, an event which William confessed was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done”.


Prince William was a heartthrob back in his younger years. Source: Getty

Prince William was arguably one of the biggest heartthrobs during the 90s. A poster of the classically handsome and charming young royal was even rumoured to have been hanging on a young Kate Middleton’s bedroom wall before the couple actually met.

Prince William carries a log used to construct walkways linking buildings in the village of Tortel, southern Chile. Source: Getty

Though Prince William travelled overseas with his parents, the young Prince took full advantage of his gap year opportunity to get involved with numerous international adventures. In October of 2000, William visited southern Chile for 10 weeks as a volunteer for Raleigh International, where he helped in the construction of walkways and taught English at the local school.


Prince William is inspected by his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II as he takes part in The Sovereigns Parade at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Source: Getty

During celebrations for his grandmother’s Diamond Jubilee, Prince William shared his favourite memory with his grandmother– the time she was present during his officiating at the Royal Military Academy back in December 2006. William who was supposed to maintain a stoic stance was snapped cracking a smile as his grandmother walked by.


Flying Officer William Wales, Prince William, visits Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, during the final phase of his training with the Royal Air Force. Source: Getty

At 25, William followed in the footsteps of his father, King Charles, in serving with all three branches of the armed forces. William had graduated from Sandhurst military academy in December 2006 and spent the remaining school year as a second lieutenant in the army’s Blues and Royals cavalry regiment before undergoing a shortened version of the Royal Air Force’s pilot training course before serving in the air force for several months.


Prince William and Catherine Middleton pose for photographs in the State Apartments of St James Palace as they announce their engagement. Source: Getty

After 8 years of dating and one temporary break-up, Prince William and Kate Middleton made their official engagement announcement on November 16, 2010. During their first-ever joint interview, the couple shared an intimate look at their relationship and shared the story of how William proposed while the two were vacationing in Kenya with friends.


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William on route to Buckingham Palace following their wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Source: Getty

Dubbed the “wedding of the century“, Prince William and Princess Catherine married five months after announcing their engagement. After the ceremony, the newly wedded couple were titled Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The wedding itself was reported to have over 36 million viewers worldwide.


Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge with their newborn son depart the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital. Source: Getty

After 11 hours of labour, Catherine and William welcomed their firstborn, His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge on July 22, 2013. During a filmed chat for the British TV documentary When Ant and Dec Met The Prince: 40 Years of the Prince’s Trust, Prince William admitted that fatherhood made him “a lot more emotional” than he used to be.

Prince George, Prince Louis, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte and Prince William during 2023 Trooping the Colour. Source Getty

And then there were five! Shortly after the birth of Prince George, William and Catherine welcomed two more children to their family, Princess Charlotte, now age 9, and Prince Louis, now aged 6.

Prior to the birth of Princess Charlotte, Queen Elizabeth II issued a decree to ensure all of Williams’s children would be given the titles of Prince or Princess. Had the Queen not done that, then only George would have the title of Prince, while his siblings would have been Lady and Lord, respectively.

Prince William of Wales holds in his emotions during his grandmother’s funeral. Source: Getty

On September 8, 2023, Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-reigning monarch passed away at the age of 96. And while the country lost a Queen, the Royal Family lost their beloved mother, grandmother and matriarch.

On September 14 the Prince of Wales walked side by side with his brother, Prince Harry, as their grandmother’s decorated coffin was brought from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.

William later told mourners outside Sandringham that the Queen’s coffin procession had been difficult for him as it stirred up a “few memories” of his mother’s funeral.

Prince William is now the first in line for the throne. He will succeed his father, Charles III, as King. Source: Instagram @theroyalfamily

The day after his grandmother’s death, King Charles III passed the title of Prince of Wales, which he held for 64 years, to William during his first address to the nation.

“Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been so greatly privileged to bear during so much of my life and duty,” King Charles had said.

“With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given.”

Since being bestowed with the title of Prince of Wales, William has solidified his position as a respected and integral member of the Royal Family.

He has taken proactive steps, such as establishing the Earthshot Prize and dedicating himself to various mental health initiatives, in addition to fulfilling his own engagements.

Through his actions, he demonstrates the calibre of leadership he aspires to embody as a future King, especially evident in his stepping up during his father’s illness, ensuring his place as a valued member of the royal household.

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