Prince Charles: His shrewd intervention saved young William from a big mistake

Prinz Charles
He prevented William from dropping out of college – and laid the foundation for his happiness today

Prince Charles accompanied his son Prince William on his first visit to St. Andrews University in 2001.

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In 2001 Prince William enrolled at St. Andrews University in Scotland. But soon the royal thought about throwing everything away. Prince Charles, however, found a smart way to literally get his son back on track.

Prince William, 39, is said to have doubted his choice of studies in the first semester. The firstborn of Prince Charles, 73, had enrolled in art history. After a short time, however, he seriously considered leaving the university again. The subject did not satisfy him, the Scottish town became too small for him and the attention of his fellow students too intrusive. But his father found a way to make his studies palatable again.

Prince Charles listened to William’s worries and needs

For many young people, after graduating from high school, a phase of life begins that can initially have a frightening effect on them. Moving out of your parents’ home, moving into new surroundings and looking for new friends can initially seem like a giant mountain that seems impossible to climb. If you are still of royal origin and attract everyone’s attention as the grandson of Queen Elizabeth, 95, and as the future heir to the throne of Great Britain, then the actually very exciting new beginning can quickly turn into a nightmare. This is what happened to the sensitive Prince William after just a few weeks in his first semester, claims Robert Lacey in his book “Battle of Brothers: William, Harry and the Inside Story of a Family in Tumult”.

The young student apparently found it difficult to cope with his life situation: His only highlight in the small town on the east coast of Scotland was “shopping in the local Tesco”, the supermarket. He allegedly felt the nights as “cloudy” because his fellow students made no secret of their fascination for the Royal offspring. An uncomfortable situation for the rather shy prince, as you can imagine. His field of study could not really inspire him either. Many factors that made him seek a conversation with his father during the 2001 Christmas break.

William had apparently made up his words well. He even presented his father with an alternative by suggesting a move to the University of Edinburgh. But things turned out differently.

Charles and his team had a brilliant idea

Mark Bolland was Prince Charles’ assistant private secretary at the time and witnessed the father-son talks. “It was no different from what a lot of freshmen go through. We approached the whole thing like a wavering, which was completely normal,” he explained in an interview with Lacey. The Prince of Wales took his son’s worries and needs seriously and first addressed the main problem. “St. Andrews had a flexible course structure and when they heard that William could be happier with geography, they made sure there were no obstacles,” said Bolland. The worried father managed to convince the then 19-year-old to try again with St. Andrews.

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Prince Charles shares in William’s family happiness

Maybe so much persuasion wasn’t even necessary at that point. A circumstance that could be owed to a young woman who is now the Duchess of Cambridge. William had already met Kate Middleton, 39, and a friendship was emerging – and maybe tender romantic bonds were formed.

Kate Middleton on her graduation day at St. Andrews University.

Kate Middleton graduated from St. Andrews University in Scotland with Prince William in the summer of 2005.

© Anwar Hussein Collection / Getty Images

The two even lived in a shared apartment for a while and successfully completed their studies together in 2005. Six years later, after many ups and downs, they said “yes” to each other. Today the couple with their three children Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3, are a shining figurehead of the royal family – and in retrospect, Prince Charles probably played a large part in that.

Verwendete Quelle: Robert Lacey “Battle of Brothers: William, Harry and the Inside Story of a Family in Tumult”

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