Prince William: Expert discusses 'crazy' reaction to royal
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The Duke of Cambridge recently set pulses racing when he shared an image of himself receiving the COVID-19 vaccine into his upper arm. Royal watchers were delighted to see the muscles of the second-in-line to the throne, especially as William rarely wears short-sleeved shirts. But William’s role as a heartthrob started years ago, when Charles took both of his sons on a royal tour of Canada in 1998.
In the documentary, ‘Prince William at Thirty’, the narrator pointed out that the young royal not only had to represent The Firm, but also had to greet his legions of excited teenage fans.
The narrator explained: “William had to fulfil yet another role — that of a royal pin-up.”
The documentary also includes clips from a broadcast dating back to 1998, which said: “A tall 15-year old with a demure smile and his mother’s looks, is the very latest heartthrob.
“Welcome to Will-mania.”
The Duke of Cambridge has often been compared to his mother Princess Diana, who was known for her beauty.
The BBC’s former royal correspondent Jennie Bond also told the documentary: “My goodness me, William turned out to be very handsome indeed — tall, handsome, a prince!
“The most eligible young man around and the world went mad.”
Harry, then 13, would reportedly nudge his brother and encourage him to wave to the crowds during their tour — and, according to Ms Bond, there would be “screams all around” in response.
Fans from the time excitedly told the press that they “loved” the royal, and were amazed at how William “shook our hands”.
TV presenter Phillip Schofield also told the documentary that William’s popularity would have worked out well for The Firm, claiming: “The Royal Family must be thinking, ‘this is unbelievable!’”
But, as The Times’ royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah pointed out: “Thousands of screaming young girls turned out for him — he looked very embarrassed and awkward.
“Whenever he’s been asked about it since, he really seems to laugh off or shirk off that image of him as a pin-up.”
Even his future wife, Kate Middleton, was at one time reported to have had a poster of the young royal on her bedroom wall growing up.
However, Kate dismantled this claim in their 2010 engagement interview, when journalist Tom Bradby asked if this was true — and William joked there were “about 20” pictures of him on her walls.
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Kate replied: “He wishes. No, I had the Levi’s guy on my wall, not a picture of William, sorry.”
William joked: “It was me in Levi’s, honestly.”
‘Will-mania’ could be said to have peaked when the royal was looking to go to university, in 2001 — the year he met Kate.
His university of choice St Andrews saw the biggest increase in application for degree courses among UK universities that year.
Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service found that applications had increased by 44 percent in a staggering move dubbed the ‘Prince William effect’.
But, despite his growing reputation as a heartthrob, William was still flustered during his first introduction to Kate, according to reports.
Journalist Emmeline Saunders claimed in The Mirror: “He lost all his charm and seductive ways when he first laid eyes on his future wife Kate Middleton, who then was nothing more than a fellow History of Art student at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.”
Speaking in a 2020 documentary ‘William & Kate: Too Good to Be True?’, royal author Tom Quinn claimed: “One of the funny stories is he was so desperate to meet her that as he walked towards her, he apparently tripped and said, ‘Oh, that’s a terrible start, you’re going to think I’m a complete clot.’”
Still, the pair established a firm friendship very quickly and began secretly dating when they were living together in their second year of university.
Royal correspondent for 5 News Simon Vigar said: “While they were at university at St Andrews, I have it on good authority that one of the few girls not chasing William or trying to catch his eye was Catherine.
“If that’s true, she played an absolute blinder.
“He was definitely the target of lots of Sloaney girls there at university, but it wasn’t until the infamous fashion show that William noticed Catherine.”
The turning point in their friendship allegedly came when Kate famously modelled in a charity fashion show wearing nothing but a sheer dress over her underwear, supposedly prompting William to whisper to his friend that she was “hot”.
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