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24 September 2014

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The young royals: Prince William
Prince William
Prince William has grown up into the heart-throb of the royal family

Prince William spent much of his early life at Highgrove and is still a regular visitor to Gloucestershire.

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Prince Harry

Zara Phillips

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The first son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor was born at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, on June 21, 1982.

As the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, he is second in line to the throne after his father.

Prince William and the Prince of Wales  playing polo at Cirencester
Prince William playing polo at Cirencester Park with his father

At over six feet tall the son Princess Diana used to nickname Willy Wombat has inherited his mother's blonde hair, blue eyes and good looks.

Today the pin-up Prince has heart-throb status with a growing worldwide fan club.

William is a keen sportsman and, like his father and brother Harry, regularly plays polo at Cirencester Park near Highgrove, Lord Bathurst's 15,000-acre country estate. He also enjoys hunting with the Beaufort Hunt.

He is regularly seen at the wheel of his car on Gloucestershire roads but in June 2003 Prince Charles was forced to apologise after his son was involved in a driving dispute on a Cirencester Park estate road after overtaking Lord Bathurst at speed when leaving a polo match.

Animal lover William has a black Labrador, called Widgeon, and shares the Royal Family's love of horses although he does not have one of his own.

He is left-handed and apart from polo he also enjoys water polo, football - he is an Aston Villa supporter - and rugby.

When William and his brother Harry were small they were regularly seen out and about in Cirencester and Tetbury with their mother when Princess Diana took them shopping while on on weekend and holiday visits to nearby Highgrove House, the family's country home.

Today the royal brothers have their own quarters at Highgrove, including a basement area where there have reportedly been some high-spirited parties.

William's public appearances began at the age of eight when he joined his parents for the St David's Day service at Llandaff Cathedral in Wales - and today his connection with the Principality is even stronger as he prefers to be known as William Wales.

Prince William at the wheel of his car
Prince William is regularly seen driving near his country home at Highgrove

His most poignant duty came when, aged 15, he joined his brother to walk behind their mother's coffin on the way to her funeral service in Westminster Abbey after her tragic death in a Paris car crash in 1997.

After prep school at Ludgrove in Berkshire, where William demonstrated early sporting prowess, he studied at Eton College where he took 12 GCSEs and A-levels in history of art, geography and biology.

He took a gap year after his A-levels, including time in Belize and Africa and taking part in a Raleigh International community project in Chile, before going on to study history of art at St Andrew's University.

After his studies, he reportedly plans to do environmental work in Africa, instead of the traditional royal career in the military.

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