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The BBC's Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond
"The cramped living conditions are a world away from life at Highgrove"
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The BBC's Media Correspondent, Nick Higham
"The press will behave responsibly provided the Prince does too"
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Monday, 11 December, 2000, 03:12 GMT
Rugged prince scores PR triumph
Prince William carries a log
Prince William says he is relishing expedition life
Prince William has scored a public relations triumph after being interviewed and filmed during his 10-week charity expedition to southern Chile.

The 18-year-old prince has made the front pages of most of the national papers for two days running - pictured carrying heavy posts, teaching English or even cleaning a toilet.

In an interview released on Sunday, the 18-year-old prince revealed the highs and lows of his trip, from sleeping under the stars, to dancing the salsa with villagers and tracking rare deer.

Teaching English
Gentle touch: Inherited from his mother?
And royal watchers have warmed to what Monday's Daily Telegraph described as "a contented, fulfilled and occasionally exhausted King-to-be".

Some commentators have remarked that William's "caring touch" - seen as he jokes and fools with Chilean children - is reminiscent of his mother, Princess Diana.

Others have praised his humility, and willingness to muck in with fellow volunteers on the Raleigh International expedition.

The prince is even pictured on his hands and knees, cleaning out a toilet in his digs.

The former Eton pupil - more used to the ceremony of royal functions - is relishing his experiences on his gap year, although he admitted that living conditions in the Chilean countryside came as a shock.

"Here you are actually making a difference to other people's lives," he said.

WIlliam saws a log
Practical: Prince praised for mucking in
Ironically, the prince is one of the few people unable to see pictures of his adventure.

As millions saw photographs and TV footage his exploits in far-flung Patagonia, William was still in his remote corner of the planet where TV and newspapers are all but scarce.

Prince William will arrive back in Britain in the next couple of weeks.

Video pictures have shown him involved in construction projects, and teaching English to the people of a Patagonian village.

He is now based at a campsite in the remote coastal village of Tortel after an expedition kayaking in ocean fjords and tracking a rare Huemul deer in the Tamango National Reserve.

William has mixed with the locals, including a bit of salsa dancing, and has enjoyed being treated as an "equal" by the other volunteers.

Marie Wright, the 29-year-old project manager for Raleigh in Tortel, said William has earned the respect of his colleagues who come from all walks of life in the UK and around the world.

"He gets on with the work, he's very humble and laid back and likes to be normal, and there's no reference to his background," she said.

William decided to join the expedition during his gap year between school and university because he wanted to do something "different" and help people.

Next year, he begins his studies at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

You can watch the BBC News special - Prince William In Chile - tonight on BBC1 at 1930GMT.

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