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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 16:59 GMT
Transcript: Prince William interview
As he approaches the end of his geography degree at the University of St Andrews, Prince William has spoken of what he plans for the future, how he may serve in the Armed Forces and how he managed to fit in to normal student life in Scotland.

Have you had a good time at St Andrews?

I've had a really good time, it's been brilliant. I've really enjoyed it.

What's been so good about it?

Basically, apart from the fact all the locals are really warm, friendly and I get on really well with them, I've been left alone by the media, in a big way actually, and for that I am very grateful. It's been just three and a half years obviously so far where I've been very independent and been left alone to study and do my own thing.

Have you been able to lead as normal a life as someone like you can?

William greets crowds
Crowds turned out to greet William on his first day at university
Definitely. There's lots of people saying it's impossible to lead a normal life really but actually up here, and with the media out of it, it's amazing how people just get on with their lives and will not bother you. Everyone up here, I have to say, has been as good as gold, I couldn't ask for anything better.

I used to walk around with a baseball cap; I don't anymore because everyone doesn't really care anymore. It's just brilliant.

You haven't had to wear a wig or anything ridiculous like that?

No. That's a different issue actually, but no I haven't.

Are you able to do basic things, such as going to the shops?

I do all my own shopping. I go out, get takeaway, rent videos, go to the cinema, just basically anything I want to really. There are obviously certain talks I can't go to if people come up here, [but] that's really the only restriction.

But initially presumably when you were in a shop, they must have done a double take when you were at the checkout?

Not really. Obviously if it's in London, or somewhere like that, then yes because people are like 'hang on a sec, isn't that someone or other?'. But up here it's so good because everyone sees me around the whole time and it's no big deal, which is what I really want it to be.

The last thing I want to do is cause loads of hype or problems, I just want to go in there and get my asparagus or whatever. So, it's really worked well.

So you've got to the stage where you can go in, buy your asparagus, hand over a note with your grandmother on it and no-one reacts?

St Andrews
William started classes at St Andrews in September 2001
Usually I'm not organised enough to have cash, I pay with my credit card. But apart from that, yes.

That must be very precious to you.

Yes it is and you know I've been lucky enough to know this side of it and I always hope it's going to stay that way, because deep down I am pretty normal. I'm not really big into fanfare and excitement and things like that but I can rise to the occasion when I need to.

Have you had odd approaches in the street?

I've had the odd one or two. If you're implying that I've been proposed to in the street, then yes I have. And people sort of come up to me, Jehovah's witnesses, I've had very devout Christians come up saying 'there's more to the word of God'.

I've had lots of kids come up and ask for my autograph, I've had a grandmother stop me and ask me if I know a good place to buy underwear.

Do you?

No, actually, I don't. I was a bit stuck by that one. I didn't mind being proposed to but that one really caught me out. I was a little bit stumped as to what to say on that one.

The proposal presumably was from a young kid.

Yes it was. I don't know old she was, 14, 15? It was very sweet of her to ask me but I had to decline, sadly.

This is quite a critical time for a student as far as exams go.

Because it's modular up here, I've done half my degree already thank goodness, because I could be in a lot of trouble if it all came at once. I'm now doing the other half this year. I've got my dissertation to write, two exams at the end of this year, then I'll have review essays and other exams to go on at the end of May next year.

Are you worried about the new pressures you'll face when you leave?

Prince William
William is completing his dissertation
I am worried about it obviously, but I don't really think about it too much. There's no point worrying about things which are not really present yet. I like to take every day as it comes, have a good time and get on with it.

There are obviously areas that I am being pushed into to do, but I can be quite stubborn when I want to. It's not that I never want to do it, it's just that I'm reluctant at such a young age, I think anyway, to throw myself in to the deep end.

In previous interviews you've talked about wanting to be in control of your own choices.

I really do want to be in control of my own life. If I don't agree with what someone's saying, or someone's pushing on me, then I won't do it. If I'm wrong and they're right and people tell me that, then obviously I'll change my mind. I'm always open for people saying I'm wrong because most of the time I am. I hate losing control. It's very important to see what you want to do and go for it.

You mentioned the "deal" agreed with the media to let you complete your degree in peace. Will that disappear when you leave St Andrews?

I hope the relationship will still stay, because it's been invaluable. Basically I would not have been able to have such a good time up here without all the help they've given. It's been a difficult time [and I've] tried to help out as much as I can with media facilities. I'm more than happy to help when the agreement's been kept - and it has been. I hope it's been as good for the media as it has been for me and a healthy and positive relationship will keep going.

Have you grown used to being in the spotlight?

You never really grow used to it, because it's something that's very alien to most people. There are very few people you can talk to about it because no-one really knows what it's like apart from family, mostly. I wouldn't really say I've grown used to it because I'm not really the attention-seeking type. So being in the centre of the spotlight is kind of awkward but it's something I've got to do and something I can adapt to.

I've spent 22 years being in the spotlight, you don't really know much different. I value the normality I can get, doing simple things, doing normal things more than anything, rather than getting things done for me, which I'm not a big fan of.

There was a magazine with your picture on it in a shop window nearby - does that seem odd?

It's obviously odd. As long as I'm smiling in the photo I don't really mind.

Are you thinking about a future career?

Again, there's a slight lack of organisation on my part for that. I really don't know what I'm going to do. I've hinted already about the possibility of the Armed Forces. It's really getting through the next few months, with my exams and work and concentrating on that [that I'm focused on now]. Then I'll take a bit of time off, do a bit of travelling and get some work done and then see which course I take.

Sandhurst must be a very attractive option.

Without a doubt, Sandhurst would be attractive. That's why Harry is going as a guinea pig first, to see what happens. I can say this honestly: I haven't set my mind on anything yet. But there's plenty of possibilities open.

What appeals to you about Sandhurst?

Prince Harry in a Command Test at Wiltshire
Prince Harry has been accepted at Sandhurst
If I was going to join the Army, which out of all the Armed Forces would probably be my favourite - also so I could do something different since a lot of the family joined the Navy - the Army is obviously a lot more in the spotlight at the moment [with] the things the guys are doing, how professional they're acting.

I was listening to someone the other day on radio saying how particularly the remembrance service, it really does bring it home when you're there and there's actually a war going on somewhere at the time and the guys are fighting their hearts out.

And Sandhurst itself would be a great place to learn how to lead and to earn respect and just treat other men and other guys who I'd be looking after with the ability which I hope I could do.

It would be a challenge for the people who deploy you on where to send you, the second in line to the throne.

That obviously is another problem. Talks would happen before I went anywhere. But the last thing I want to do is be mollycoddled or wrapped up in cotton wool, because if I was to join the Army I'd want to go where my men went and I'd want to do what they did.

I would not want to be kept back for being precious, or whatever, that's the last thing I'd want. It's the most humiliating thing and it would be something I'd find very awkward to live with, being told I couldn't go out there when these guys have got to go out there and do a bad job.

Have you been impressed by the start Prince Harry has made with his charity work?

He's pinched all [the best ideas] of mine! In terms of Africa and aids and poverty, both of us have very strong ideas of how we want to help and of course in the future I would like to help. But in terms of anything else, there are areas I'd like to help in but it's more about discovering which areas my particular passions lie in, which I'm still doing.

Homelessness would be one area, wouldn't it?

Homeless people, obviously, I've done a bit for privately and publicly over the last few years and that's one particular area I'm passionate about. My mother introduced that sort of area to me a long time ago, which was a real eye-opener and I'm very glad she did and it's been something I've held close to me for a long time.

How is your wider relationship with Harry?

There's very little age gap between us so we're both pretty similar in that sense and we get along really well, Harry and I and my father, we're a very close family. There are disagreements, obviously as all families have and when they are, they are big disagreements.

But when they're happy times we have a really good time, it's just difficult getting all three of us in the same house at one point. Obviously father is very busy, Harry's travelling or whatever and I'm up here. It's just difficult. [But] it's all good.

You went to the Cenotaph for remembrance Sunday. What was that experience like?

That was amazing. It was an incredible service. It makes you very proud to be British and to see such an amazing ceremony and formalities, very dignified. It's obviously a very serious day to remember and it's done in such a way that you really do, it's very poignant. And obviously even more particularly now with the Iraq conflict. So as a first timer there it was very moving.

But I was very glad I was there to hopefully represent the young and make sure everyone else realises that the young have not forgotten, as many of my friends keep telling me. It's definitely the case.

Prince William at remembrance service
William attended the remembrance service for the first time this year
Do you think that's important?

Very important, definitely. It should never be forgotten what everyone's sacrificed, all the war veterans have sacrificed for all of us to be as we are.

You were up on the balcony, a 22-year-old, with a view of a 108-year-old on the ground.

Amazing, absolutely incredible. I was glad he was in a wheelchair for his own sake - it was a long old walk. But someone like that I have huge respect for, it was quite something to witness.

Did you look down on the Queen during the ceremony and think 'one day that'll be me'?

I didn't really look at it like that - it's not a day to look at it like that. I was thinking how proud and smart my grandmother looked - and my father, my grandfather and the rest of my family - and I just thought that's a really good way to start the ceremony. It makes you really proud seeing them there and also knowing how much they appreciate what has happened.

Is it an odd thought that one day you will be king? Does it keep you awake?

It's not like that. The thing is with me, I look on the brighter side of everything. There's no point being pessimistic or being worried about too many things because frankly life's too short. At the moment it's about having fun in the right places, enjoying myself as much as I can. I'm trying to do that. The serious side of that doesn't really need to worry me too much yet.

You've made it clear in the past that you would not be a reluctant king.

I don't think I am, [but] I have reservations about everything. The fortunate thing is I have had such a normal childhood in certain extents and it would very hard to see that slip away. But I always hope that no matter what, I'll keep that side going. Keeping your feet firmly on the ground is the most important thing. And I don't want to be whipped up into a frenzy.

Has your grandmother been useful in talking about the future?

She's been brilliant, she's a real role model. She's just very helpful on any sort of difficulties or problems I might be having. But I'm quite a private person as well so I don't really talk that much about what I sort of feel or think.

What about your dad. You've seemed defensive of him in the past in terms of some criticism aimed at him.

He's had a difficult time and you know it's just sad. I said this the last time - I'm sure I used the same words - but I just wish more of his charitable work was concentrated on because he does do a hell of a lot of work. The Prince's Trust is just an amazing organisation and I just really hold him in great admiration about the amount of time he gives up to do work here and there.

You've talked about being close to your grandmother - are you close to your granddad?

I'm very close to my grandfather. He makes me laugh, he's very funny. He's also someone who will tell me something that maybe I don't want to hear, but still tell me anyway and he won't care if I get upset about it. He knows it's the right thing to say and I'm glad he tells me because the last thing I want is lots of people telling me what I want to hear. I'd much rather hear what the reality of it is.

William in a library
William enrolled in an art history degree, but switched to geography
You admire his bluntness, even if it might be painful?

Exactly - the odd bluntness here and there.

Did he play with you much as a kid, rolling around on the floor and that kind of thing?

As a youngster I did not spend a lot of time with my grandparents - they were busy. But I've got to know him much better now in the last few years and have become very close to them and I just really look up to them.

Are you excited about the future?

I am, because as much as I've loved St Andrews and I've loved being here and being at university, I am ready now to get out and do different stuff. There's so much I want to do and it worries me occasionally I won't be able to do it all. But I'll make a good start of it anyway.

So you're excited, but with a bit of trepidation.

Definitely.




SEE ALSO:
St Andrews tries to curb elitism
01 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Royals signal tough media action
15 Jun 04 |  UK Politics
William hints at military career
29 May 04 |  Gloucestershire
Scots call-up for Prince William
19 Mar 04 |  Scotland
In pictures: William the student prince
15 Dec 03 |  Photo Gallery


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