Prince William: Born to be King - An Intimate Portrait

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 July, 2012, 12:00am


Prince William: Born to be King - An Intimate Portrait
by Penny Junor
Hodder & Stoughton

Penny Junor's 'intimate portrait' of Britain's Prince William reveals that, aged four, he went out without gloves on a winter's day and got cold hands; at university, he was seen eating fish and chips.

After writing biographies about both the Prince and Princess of Wales, the opportunity to write about their eldest son 'was irresistible', Junor says. 'I find him one of the most interesting, remarkable and, whatever one's view of the monarchy, important young men of his generation.'

The 30-year-old royal is, we learn, a charming, humble young man. Junor - clearly a fan - quotes a friend recalling the future king 'was wild' as a young adult. We learn he likes his beers, but nothing of this 'wild' side. Her book repeats old news of his parents' marriage and divorce. Much of the rest is dull, or misses something with potential: she says Prince Harry's best-man speech had 'brilliant one-liners' - yet reveals not one.

Of interest is William's displeasure, aged four, when the dishevelled musician and human rights activist Bob Geldof visited Prince Charles.

''He's all dirty,' said William.

'Shut up you horrible boy,' said Geldof.

'He's got scruffy hair and wet shoes,' added William.

'Your hair's scruffy, too,' said Geldof.

'No, it's not,' said William. 'My mummy brushed it.''

At age 10, a sensitive William pushed tissues under the toilet door to his mother as she wept inside, saying: 'I hate to see you sad.'

As an adult, the prince showed his skill with strangers when a nervous homeless girl began stammering.

'He bent down and whispered to her, 'Don't worry about it, just imagine me naked',' notes Junor, adding that the girl laughed and started talking.

Junor depicts Diana as emotionally unstable, but says the media has unfairly treated Charles, who will 'be a very good king' despite being out of touch with the public.

However, William, with his easy manner, is someone they can relate to. 'He's also Diana's son,' she writes. 'That alone makes him special. For so many people, she was the beautiful fairy tale princess ... The first fairy tale had an unhappy ending. Now there is a new princess and a new story.'

William married Kate Middleton last year, after meeting as students at St Andrews University, in Scotland. 'This love story is the genuine article,' gushes Junor.

A genealogist noted William will be the 'most British monarch' since James I (39 per cent English, 16 per cent Scottish, 6.25 per cent Irish, 6.25 per cent American, and 32.5 per cent German). When he is king, he will be ready to 'make a difference to the country' thanks to his grandmother's inspirational example, says Junor.

Yet he learned painful lessons from his parents, too. 'He saw what happened to his mother and the pain and torment his father has suffered by attempting to be open and honest. He is determined to keep his private life private, as his grandmother has done. He will give his time, his talents, his energy and his enthusiasm to the country, but he won't give his soul.'