As the Duke of Cambridge turns 30 this week, royal biographer Judy Wade reflects on a life with the young prince.
The day Prince William was born will stay forever in my memory. On June 21, 1982, along with some other reporters, I was standing outside St Mary’s Hospital in London, waiting for news about the birth of a new heir to the throne. Princess Diana had been rushed into the private Lindo Wing of the hospital early that morning, and it was well after 8pm that the proud new father emerged.
Prince Charles was ecstatic. He told me his son had "sort of blondish hair and blue eyes". When I asked how he felt about being a dad, he simply replied, "I'm over the moon." When he returned the next day to take Diana and their son home, all I could see was a tiny face wrapped up in a lacy white shawl. But from then on I saw quite a lot of little Willie Wales.
Nine months later, his parents took him on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. I watched as they arrived at Alice Springs Airport, and we laughed when a fly landed on the baby’s head. "Oh look, his first fly," said a grinning Charles. As a toddler, Prince William’s mischievous antics kept us, the media, busy for several years. He once tried to flush his father’s Gucci loafers down the loo and wrecked the Queen Mother’s tea party by pulling off a tablecloth complete with cups, saucers and a teapot.
I’ll never forget the day he pressed a panic button on the wall at Balmoral Castle and had police rushing there from all over Scotland! I remember when he first started school. One of Diana’s staff later told me he used to ask her, “Why are there men with cameras outside every day?” Not wanting him to know he was special, his mother replied, "They’re just there to see my new dress."
Read more from Judy Wade in this week's Woman’s Day on sale Monday June 18, 2012.