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The Duchess of Cambridge celebrated her first birthday as a royal this past January, and it was a big one too - 30. The former Miss Middleton exited the seemingly infinite years of her twenties, which for her, were characterized by her growing fame, exposure to the paparazzi and status as the on again, off again girlfriend of the second-in-line to the throne, Prince William. For the Duchess, entering this new decade means so much more than a new stage of life, it means a new life completely. Her 30th birthday was preceded by her wedding by only a few months, and with it, ushered in her new life as a royal.
For her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, better known to us by his lifelong moniker of Prince William (or for those of you on a first name basis with him, then simply Wills), his 30th birthday came a bit later than his bride’s (a year and nearly two months later) - just this past week, on June 21. While William’s entrance to his thirties didn’t bring the same amount of change to his life that it did for Kate, it brings several questions about the future of the youngest generation of royals to the forefront.
As any self-respecting royal watcher would know, upon his graduation from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where Wills met his then-future wife, he followed in the footsteps of his father and brother and attended Sandhurst, the Royal Military Academy, and later on, joined the Royal Air Force (RAF). Since then, he’s moved up in the ranks through the RAF, all the way up to his current position as a search and rescue pilot.
As both Wills’s personal and professional lives have progressed, the pressure for him to abandon his military life - the life he has crafted and worked for himself, apart from his royal persona - has grown. When you think about it, the Will and Kate in Will’s military sphere aren’t that different from any other typical newly-wed couple -- living in Anglesey, an island off the coast of Wales where Wills is stationed, with their cocker spaniel puppy, Lupo. When Wills goes away for extended periods of time for military service, they must bear the separation like any other couple (this past fall, Kate was heard commiserating with another military wife about the plights of being separated from one’s husband).
On the other hand, outside of this world they’ve carved for themselves, there is their public life. The life of royal events and engagements, public appearances and the ever-pressing duties that their life forces upon them (the most prominent of which being, of course, producing an heir). Currently, Wills’s commission with the RAF is set to end in 2013 - a seemingly perfect time for the couple to make the switch from part-time to full-time royalty.
However, for those of us desperate to see the two fully settled in their royal roles, you may be disappointed - a royal aide told the Telegraph that Wills is keen to continue on in the service, and most importantly, give his children (soon, hopefully!) a normal, non-royal start to life. His father, Prince Charles, left military service at age 28, following the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, to take on more duties - but Charles’s decisions in his youth were rarely the correct ones. William has done well so far to stray from his father’s path, and perhaps a few more years with his wife, doing what he loves, is exactly what he needs. He may be leaving his twenties behind, and that definitely calls for some life changes (hello, royal babies!), but not a life turnaround like Kate faced last year. And it's not as if we really mind -- after all, who doesn’t love a man in uniform?