Prince of brides
Jun 1 2003
by Laura Kemp, Wales On Sunday
HE LOVES glamorous blondes, watches EastEnders and reads the tabloids for the sport.
Sounds like most young men in Britain. Except this one is the next Prince of Wales and is being groomed to be our King...
TOP Welsh royal author Brian Hoey says the future of the Monarchy rests on Prince William's choice of bride.
In his new book marking the young royal's 21st birthday this month, Hoey says he is "the star of the future; the one on whom the Royal family's hopes rest".
It's partly to do with his model good looks, it's also because he is an ordinary man with an extraordinary destiny.
But it's overwhelmingly because he is the new generation of Royals: he can bring the family up to date, smooth over the marriage break-ups of the past and confine the toe-sucking and Squidgeygate scandals to history.
So his choice of bride is considered crucial.
Hoey says William is acutely aware of the pressures he faces and how the future rests on his shoulders.
And he also realises he's the world's most eligible bachelor, making him a girl-magnet wherever he goes.
In his book 'Prince William', a fellow student at St Andrew's University - where William is in his second year - says: "William's shyness is just a cover. There's no real nervousness at all, it's all a carefully and discreetly cultivated mannerism to make people, girls especially, fall for him - and boy does it work."
Hoey says William likes to be seen with attractive girls and prefers slim, tall women.
But on the advice of his father, Prince Charles, he knows to look out for "predatory females" as "sexual aggression" is no longer confined to "eager young men".
"William is by no means reticent when it comes to girls, he loves to party and chat up the best-looking girls in the room and he knows he can have any of them by crooking his finger.
"He may not have marriage in mind and they are aware this would be highly improbable, but that doesn't stop any of them from enjoying flirting with the eventual heir to the throne," writes Hoey.
Another student told him: "We were all having a marvellous time at a party, dancing and drinking all over the place, I couldn't see Wills anywhere, then when I went into the kitchen, there he was surrounded by four or five gorgeous girls who were hanging on his every word.
"He was loving every minute of it and so were they. He knew the effect he was having, the girls couldn't get enough of him."
But Hoey says any girl who is considered for wife material will have to pass the most vigorous vetting procedure.
"The Queen has already let it be known that she regards the choice of wife for Prince William to be the utmost importance for the continuity of the Monarchy," Hoey says.
The Queen and Prince of Wales would like to see him settled before he's 30 otherwise the chances of finding a girl with an "unblemished past" - like his mother Diana, Princess of Wales - will get slimmer.
William argues he should be allowed to make his own choice, that family and country should have enough confidence in him to pick the right one.
But Hoey reveals Buckingham Palace keeps files on prospective young women. If one features too much in the gossip columns or is seen with unsuitable companions, she is struck off the list.
His name has been linked with a number of high society debutantes, but not one has figured permanently - although he was said to be delighted at the rumour he was dating Britney Spears!
Dating for William is not easy. He would love to take them out for a drink or dinner, to share his love of pasta, venison, salads and red wine. Instead, he is given 'safe houses' to date girls to keep him out of the limelight.
Wills-mania kicked off when he turned from a pubescent adolescent into a strapping young man.
Captain Norman Lloyd-Edwards, Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan and the Queen's representative in Wales, recalls an impromptu walkabout in Wales.
"It was like something out of the Beatles. Girls were screaming, it was deafening. They threw bunches of flowers at him and climbed over each other trying to touch him.
"He handled it brilliantly and secretly he didn't mind it at all.
"Prince Charles was delighted that William "worked the crowd" as well as his mother used to," he says.
And when it was announced he would be going to the Scottish university, applications from females leapt.
Ex-student Elizabeth Hadley, 22, from Preston, who lived in the same residence as William, told Hoey that girls get dressed up and hang about outside his lectures.
"One night in a popular student bar a girl, for a dare, pinched his bottom. He turned round and gave her a scathing look and she felt a real fool," she said.
Instead he associates with aristocratic students, the Yahs as they are known, who fiercely protect his privacy.
Another problem he faces is the permanent presence of his bodyguards.
At Eton, he was looked after by Sergeant Graham Cracker who lived in an adjoining room.
Hoey, who presented the first BBC Wales Today programme in 1962, writes: "They got on well but had disagreements usually because William wanted to go to a party and be left alone or because he had met a pretty girl and felt the presence of the policeman was ruining his chances."
And he reveals if William ordered his bodyguards to leave him "not one of them would obey him - it would be more than their careers' worth".
Security is a huge issue - Wills even has to take minders with him when he goes out for a bite to eat with his student pals.
Hoey, who is official biographer of the Princess Royal, says a police officer accompanies him to restaurants and eats at a separate table to keep watch.
William has to make sure he pays in cash too, because if he used his Coutts credit card, someone may sell his signature or even his number.
Despite all these pitfalls, Hoey says he is man enough to meet the challenge of being the next heir to the throne.
"William above all others of his contemporaries, knows exactly what his destiny is: he is going to be king."