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Monday, July 26, 1999 Published at 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK


Prince William in the driving seat

The three princes pose for the cameras

Prince William has displayed his driving skills to the world's media for the first time at a special photo call with his father and brother Harry.

The BBC's Jennie Bond: "Prince William confidently drove a few hundred yards"
Learner driver William, 17, successfully negotiated the gravel driveway at Highgrove, the Prince of Wales's Gloucestershire home.

He braked just a few yards from a bank of TV cameras and photographers.

Waiting on the doorstep were Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales who said of his eldest son's driving: "He's going very well."

Although the heir to the throne admitted: "I haven't actually had the experience of being driven by him."

Police instructor

William, who was driving a silver Ford Focus, was accompanied by his Metropolitan Police driving instructor, Sergeant Chris Gilbert.

The teenage Prince has his own car - a birthday present from his father - but preferred to be pictured in a loan-car to safeguard his privacy.

Stepping from the car, with a broad grin on his face, 6ft-plus William towered over his father and brother.

[ image: Prince William hopes to throw his L-plates away soon]
Prince William hopes to throw his L-plates away soon
But Harry also is also growing fast and is catching up with William - and Charles.

As Charles stood with his two sons either side of him, he said: "This is just to show how quickly I'm shrinking."

William and Harry, who is 15 next month, both chose casual, blue corduroy jeans, jumpers and open-neck shirts for the first official photocall of its kind at Highgrove.

William wore trainers and Harry preferred boating shoes.

Charles was less informal, wearing a blue blazer, beige chinos and brown shoes with a smart collar and tie.

Appeal for privacy

It was an official summer photocall and, in return, the three princes hope to be left alone by the media to enjoy their summer holiday, in private.

In addition, it is hoped that William will be allowed to learn to drive in safety and without having to worry about any pursuing photographers.

He is likely to be taught anti-hijack driving techniques to counter any possible threat from terrorists.

The princes are expected to embark on a Mediterranean cruise, on board Greek shipping millionaire John Latsis's yacht, after celebrating the Queen Mother's 99th birthday on 4 August in London.

Later in the summer, they are likely to spend time at Balmoral, the Queen's Scottish estate.

'Prince of Cool'

Prince William, in particular, has been generating a growing amount of press attention.

[ image: Prince William's good looks have won him a legion of female fans]
Prince William's good looks have won him a legion of female fans
The handsome teenager, who is about to start his last year at Eton, attracted considerable female attention when he attended the Cartier International Polo Tournament at Windsor on Sunday.

He was dubbed 'Prince of Cool' by several tabloid newspapers after turning up wearing a pair of trendy silver wraparound sunglasses.

At lunch he shared a table with guests including 19-year-old Victoria Aitken, daughter of the recently jailed Tory minister, Jonathan, former debutante Tamara Vestey and Katherine Bearman.

According to another article in the Daily Mail, Prince William is reported to have also been telling friends that he expects to join the Welsh Guards when he leaves university.

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