Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge is turning 40, a milestone birthday for anyone, and much more so for the one who is bound to become King one day.
That date, however, has been put off in time after Queen Elizabeth II made it clear that Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and William's father is first in line.
Not so long ago there were rumors that with public support for the monarchy waning down, Wiliam, as the son of the late Princess Diana, had a more positive image than the natural heir to the throne, particularly after he engaged with Camilla, Duchess of Cornuailles. But once Elizabeth announced this year that Camilla will become Queen Consort, the road ahead is clear.
Nevertheless, William remains bound to be king and for that, he is already laying down the foundations now. He has for example promised to tackle homelessness, a cause inspired by his mother, while also consolidating his own role within the royal family, alongside his father and in support of Queen Elizabeth, whom he often replaces at certain events.
William's birthday has been commemorated by the Royal Mint, with the issuance of a five-pound sterling coin with the effigy of the prince, an anticipation of his destiny as king.
Compared to his grandmother's recent Platinum Jubilee after 70 years as Queen, William's birthday celebrations were limited to an intimate party, with public congratulations from the crown.
The Prince of Wales is the second most popular member of the royal family. He has engaged in numerous charitable activities and the prominence of the Cambridges at the recent Platinum Jubilee celebrations was both telling and deliberate. The long-term future of the House of Windsor lies with William and the Cambridge dynasty.
Those who know him believe he will be a modern-day monarch, who wants the Royal Family to be relevant and meaningful to everyday people.
Recent events such as his brother Prince Harry’s standing down as a working royal, the COVID-19 pandemic, the passing away of the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Duke of York's scandal in the United States has rekindled the royal family's need for members admired by the citizens, particularly those in a straight line to the throne.
William, who at first was focused on his own family life, has so far lived up to what has been expected of him.
With the Queen having no plans to abdicate despite her mobility issues, the monarch relies more and more on Charles and William as her chief substitutes. Last month, the Prince of Wales undertook the State Opening of Parliament for the very first time with William by his side. It was another powerful image of the future as well as a valuable opportunity for William to witness up close the speech he will one day deliver.
“He’s much more confident in his role and the position he wants to have,” a former aide has been quoted as saying. “We saw that with Andrew but also on the Caribbean tour and how he came out and said he was open to changes within the Commonwealth at the end of it. This was his view, it was a sign of what we might see in the future and new confidence.” His ten-year marriage to Kate Middleton played a significant role in William's evolution, it was reported.