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Sunday, May 30, 1999 Published at 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK


William 'wants military career'

Prince William wants a career in the armed services, says his uncle

Prince William plans to maintain royal tradition with a career in the armed forces, according to his uncle Earl Spencer.

In an hour-long interview on US television, the earl said: "In the medium term, William wants to go into the armed services in some form."

He did not specify whether it was the Army, the Navy or the RAF that William, 16, was most interested in joining.

[ image: Earl Spencer: Promoting a new book about his house]
Earl Spencer: Promoting a new book about his house
"This is a traditional part of the royal upbringing, but he'd actually like to do it of his own volition, so that's great," he said.

The brother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales also said that her son is "mature enough" to handle problems such as drugs.

Fears of William's possible exposure to drugs were voiced after Tom Parker Bowles, the son of the Prince of Wales's long-term companion Camilla and a friend of Prince William's, admitted taking cocaine.

Earl Spencer said: "I'm sure...that William is capable of making his own decisions in this matter as to who his friends are and who they aren't."

[ image: Tom Parker Bowles:
Tom Parker Bowles: "William knows who his friends are and who they aren't"
He also refused to be drawn on Prince Charles's relationship with Ms Parker Bowles.

It is not something he had discussed with Prince William or his younger brother Harry, he said.

He added: "They're both so mature, and they're both so well-grounded, that I think they can cope with anything, really."

Attending Eton, which had been "very supportive", helped the princes in their development as "extremely solid and together" young men, the earl commented.

He described Prince Harry, 14, as "a very gifted sportsman", saying: "I'm sure he'd love, at this moment, to be playing soccer for England."

'Insult to Diana'

The earl, who appeared on the Larry King show to promote a new book about his family seat of Althorp, also talked about his relationship with the rest of the Royal Family.

Although he launched an attack on the family at Diana's funeral in 1997, he said he had few feelings "positive or negative" towards Prince Charles.

He also said that Diana's relationship witih Dodi Fayed was just a "summer fling", and he had seen no evidence to back up any conspiracy theories about her death.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "Earl Spencer's opinions are a matter for him.

"As far as Prince William's career options are concerned, that is a matter for him to decide and act upon in the future."

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