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IN PICS: Prince William turns 30!

Last updated on: June 21, 2012 17:58 IST

IN PICS: Prince William turns 30!

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 As the Prince brings in his milestone birthday today, we take a look at his life in pictures.

The newest member of the British royal family Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge hit the big 3-0 in January this year. Now, six months later, the dashing husband who made a princess of her is joining the 30s club.

Rumour has it that while Kate was content to celebrate her own day with a low-key, private affair, she has planned quite a shindig with close friends and family for Prince William, to ensure it's one he never forgets.

In the following pages, we take a look at William's life in pictures, from babyhood and special moments with his late mother Princess Diana, to his education, humanitarian work, military career and marriage.


Image: Prince William


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Seen here at the tender age of three in 1985, an adorable Prince William makes a royal salute as he watches Trooping the Colour (a ceremony performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies on the monarch's birthday) from the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London. Princess Diana, holding an infant Harry looks on.


Photographs: Roy Letkey/Reuters

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Here he is on September 16, 1987, arriving at kindergarten with his parents -- this was younger brother Harry's first day at school. Five-year-old Wills kept a firm grip on his father as Prince Charles attempted to shake hands with the headmistress.

It is worth noting that William is the first heir to the British throne to receive preschool education at a kindergarten -- previously all royals, including Charles, were introduced to academics privately at Buckingham Palace.


Photographs: Stringer UK/Reuters

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Of course, life as a young prince wasn't all work and no play. This 1990 photograph captures a playful William tossing sand onto his mother's leg, during a private beach holiday on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.


Photographs: Rob Taggart/Reuters

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When in the public eye, however, both little royals were the very picture of aristocracy. This May 1992 image shows the family leaving a memorial service held for their maternal grandfather, the Eighth Earl of Spencer, two months after he passed on.

Seven months later, in December that same year, Diana and Charles would announce their formal separation to the public -- then British Prime Minister John Major broke the news in a nationally televised appearance before the House of Commons.


Photographs: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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Despite the breakdown of their marriage, the Prince and Princess of Wales continued to fulfill their royal duties and remained on amicable terms, keeping a united front when it came to parenting.

They are seen here on a happier occasion -- Wills' first day at the world-famous Eton College on September 6, 1995. Posing with them is the prince's then-housemaster Dr Andrew Gailey.


Photographs: Simon Kreitem/Reuters

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On March 3, 1997, William celebrated another joyous milestone -- his confirmation at the age of 14, which took place at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

This is the official British Royal Family portrait from that day; Prince Harry, Princess Diana, Prince William in pride of place at the centre, Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth are seated in the front row, while at the back (from left to right) stand King Constatine of Greece, Lady Susan Hussey, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Westminster and Lord Romsey.

Tragically, this would be one of the last times that Prince Charles and his by now ex-wife would be seen together; the princess would meet her end in a horrific automobile accident in Paris on August 31.


Photographs: Pool Old/Reuters

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To say that his mother's untimely death hit a teenaged William hard is an understatement. Despite the public outpouring of grief, however, he managed to keep in control of his emotions at her funeral service on September 6, 1997 and was a pillar of support for the considerably younger Harry. He is seen here stoically watching Princess Diana's hearse being driven from Westminster Abbey.

Twelve years later, he would go on to become a patron of The Child Bereavement Charity, which Diana supported and speak out about the devastating loss of his parent as "one of the hardest experiences that anyone can ever endure".

"Never being able to say the word 'mummy' again in your life sounds like a small thing," he is also quoted as having said at the time. "However, for many, including me, it's now really just a word -- hollow and evoking only memories."


Photographs: Kieran Doherty/Reuters

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After Diana's passing, William would throw himself into school activities like any other teenager, making the most of those years and making only fleeting public appearances as part of the royal family.

He is seen here in 2000 at the age of 18, playing an inter-house Eton field game tournament.


Photographs: Stringer/Reuters
Tags: William , Diana , Eton

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But it wasn't all horsing around -- as part of the general studies programme at school, he also learned cooking alongside cramming for A-Level exams. This photograph, one of a series officially released by St James Palace to mark his 18th birthday, captures William lighting the gas under a chicken paella.


Photographs: Str Old/Reuters

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At the end of the year 2000, the prince took a year off academics before commencing studies at St Andrews University.

He spent these months taking part in British Army training exercises in Belize, working on English dairy farms, visiting Africa and most notably, undertaking a 10-week Raleigh International expedition to the village of Tortel in southern Chile to teach young children.

As part of the programme, he shared accommodations other young teachers, sharing common household chores right down to cleaning the toilet -- and also volunteered as a guest radio jockey for the local radio station.

Here he is seen using an axe to chop logs outside the team accommodation in Tortel.


Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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By 2001, Wills was back in the UK and a student of the University of St Andrews.

Once again able to make the most of student life, he pursued his education for the next four years and continued to fuel his passion for sport -- this still from video footage released by St. James's Palace in 2003 shows him on horseback at a polo match in Surrey.

The prince continues to play even now and Harry is also an avid polo enthusiast, an interest they've inherited from their father.


Photographs: Handout/Reuters

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This 2004 image shows William carrying a surfboard as he walks with two unidentified friends along the shoreline at St Andrews in Scotland.

He was now in his last academic year of college, earning a Scottish Master of Arts degree with upper second class honours in geography.


Photographs: Handout/Reuters

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By the time his graduation ceremony rolled around in June of 2005, William had a stepmother in Camilla Parker Bowles, who he seemed to share an amicable relationship with -- Prince Charles and she were married two months prior.

He is seen here in one of the first photographs to capture him and the Duchess of Cornwall together in a frame, as he waves to well-wishers while departing from his college graduation ceremony.

The prince then enrolled at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in January 2006. He graduated in December that same year and officially receiving his title of lieutenant after a graduation parade attended by the royal family.

It is also worth noting that this parade was the first high-profile royal event attended by Kate Middleton and her family. While it was no secret that the two had been dating since 2003, the significance of her presence put a whole new spin on things and the media went into overdrive predicting the seriousness of their relationship.


Photographs: Jeff J Mitchell UK/Reuters

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Post his military stint at Sandhurst, William was officially enrolled and commissioned in the Armed Forces and opted to participate in active service -- he undertook training in the Royal Air Force in 2007, becoming a full-fledged pilot in 11 months and earning his RAF wings.

Then from June to August of 2008 he completed a stint with the Royal Navy -- he is seen here playing with a baby while visiting Royal Navy family members based in Helensburgh, West Scotland in October of 2008.

On a personal note, this was a tough time for him, as he split briefly from Kate -- but it would be just a few short months before he would find his way back to her again.


Photographs: David Moir/Reuters

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The couple certainly looked happy once they reunited and made no secret of their relationship, although no official statement would be issued until two years later, when they got engaged. This image captures Kate Middleton at RAF Cranwell in central England, beaming as she walks alongside her beau looking strapping in his uniform.


Photographs: Pool New/Reuters

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In January 2009, William transferred to the RAF and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. He trained to become a helicopter pilot with the RAF's Search and Rescue Force, a position he maintains to this day.

Here he is seen posing for photographers alongside Harry during a photocall at RAF (Royal Air Force) Shawbury near Shrewsbury in England, June 2009.


Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuters

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Alongside his military duties and his relationship, the prince continued to juggle his royal duties and fondness for sport -- he is seen here with (New Zealand rugby team) All Blacks player Dan Carter and captain Richie McCaw, viewing developments at Auckland's Eden Park for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in January of 2010.


Photographs: Pool New/Reuters

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And of course, at the end of 2010 he was engaged to the woman of his dreams.

In April 2011, the wedding of the century took place and the world watched the making of a princess with bated breath -- here, the newly-minted Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge waves from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, following their wedding at Westminster Abbey in London.


Photographs: Pool New/Reuters

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If the fairytale nuptials were not enough to win everyone over, the pair's down-to-earth demeanour certainly is.

Both William and Kate have gamely thrown themselves into wedded life and everything about them suggests that they're -- brace yourselves -- just ordinary people.

She shops for groceries; he cooks; she walks the dog wearing high street jeans; he attends sports tournaments. So yes, they do let their hair down -- check out Wills dancing as his wife looks on during a reception at national charity Centrepoint's Camberwell Foyer in London last December! Centrepoint provides housing and support to improve the lives of homeless young people aged 16 to 25.


Photographs: Pool New/Reuters

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And when the occasion demands it, out come the trappings of a royal life -- private jets, designer outfits and military uniforms.

Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee celebrations on June 3, for instance, saw the monarch join an armada of 1,000 boats in a gilded royal barge, in a pageant down the River Thames -- it was the spectacular highlight of four days of nationwide revelry.

And at her side, of course, were William and Catherine, along with other members of the royal family.


Photographs: Darren Staples/Reuters

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And not even a fortnight later, he is in corduroys, feeding a five year-old black rhino during a visit to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Lympne, southern England. A dedicated campaigner against poaching and patron of animal charities, he's on a visit to meet the staff and rhinos involved in a translocation project.

What the prince will be doing on his birthday is anyone's guess -- but here's to another 30 remarkable years and more, William.


Photographs: Pool New/Reuters

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