Tragic story behind Prince William’s name and why Diana wanted to call him something else

Prince William’s name was inspired by the Queen’s cousin who died in a plane crash. The king was very close to Prince Charles and is referred to as “the other Prince William”.

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Prince William was named after “the other Prince William”.

The Duke of Cambridge celebrates his 40th birthday this week and we can expect a host of tributes from the royal family and well-wishers around the world.

Prince William Arthur Philip Louis was born at St Mary’s Hospital in 1982 to Prince Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales. He was named after a number of his relatives including the Duke of Edinburgh and Lord Louis Mountbatten.

While it was also reported that his other middle name, Arthur, was a strong contender to become his given name, Charles and Diana ended up going a different route.

According to royal biographer Robert Lacey, Diana suggested the “more robust” name William, which she and Charles made for their final decision. He said in Magazine PEOPLE: “Diana, Princess of Wales suggested a more robust name – William, as in ‘William the Conqueror’, victor of the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066.”

There was another family member by the name of William, who many royal experts believe inspired the choice of the couple’s nickname. The king in question was close to Prince Charles and died tragically young in a plane crash.

Prince William was named William Arthur Philip Louis after many of his relatives



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On 18 December 1941 Prince William Henry Andrew Frederick was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. He was a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary, a nephew of King George VI and first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. At the time of his birth he was fourth in line to the throne.

William was the elder brother of Prince Richard (current Duke of Gloucester) and acted as page boy at the wedding of his cousin, Princess Elizabeth, to Philip Mountbatten on 20 November 1947.

In 1965 the Royal began working for the Commonwealth Office. He worked in Lagos as Third Secretary of the British High Commission. In 1968, the Prince was posted to Tokyo, Japan, as Second Secretary of the British Embassy.

He is said to have enjoyed his life, free from royal duties and strict protocol. He even met the woman he wanted to marry – Zsuzsi Starkloff – when she would have been considered appropriate in royal circles.

Starkloff was considered unsuitable as a royal bride at the time as she was a twice-divorced Jewish and Hungarian mother of two young children. It is even believed that his cousin, Princess Margaret, was sent to Japan to encourage him to think about his duties in the relationship.

Prince William of Gloucester relaxes at his home in York House on his 21st birthday, December 18, 1962


(Getty Images)

William with his brother Richard, 1958


(Getty Images)

All long-term plans collapsed for William and Starkloff in 1970 when his father, the Duke of Gloucester, began suffering numerous strokes. He was forced to return to Britain to manage his father’s estate and undertake duties as a full-time royal.

In 1972, Prince William – who was a qualified pilot and owned several planes himself – competed in the Goodyear International Air Trophy. His mother sat in the stands to watch her son compete.

Shortly after takeoff, he lost control of the aircraft at low altitude, causing the wing to crash into a tree and burst into flames. His body was identified through dental records the following day.

He was considered a daring prince. He enjoyed several dangerous hobbies such as flying, ballooning and hiking in the Sahara. At the time of his death he was only 30 years old and ninth in line to the throne. His tragic death made him the first grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary to die. He is buried at the Royal Burial Ground in Windsor.

It was also revealed that the prince was a carrier of a disease called porphyria. His diagnosis was particularly interesting as porphyria is a disease known to be associated with King George III and his “madness”. Other royals who had it included Mary, Queen of Scots, King James I, Princess Charlotte of Wales and Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Princess Victoria.

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