October 21, 2005

Britain’s Prince William to join army next year

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince William, elder son of
heir-to-the-throne Britain's Prince Charles and the late
Princess Diana, will join the army next year as an officer
cadet at Sandhurst military academy, Buckingham Palace said on

William, 23, who graduated from university earlier this
year and will be joining Britain's biggest bank HSBC in
November for work experience, has long been thought to have his
eye on the army -- following in the footsteps of his younger
brother Prince Harry, 21.

William has now passed the Regular Commissions Board exams
-- a series of tests and tasks to gauge the ability of
candidates to meet the mental, physical and emotional demands
facing army officers.

"I am absolutely delighted to have got over the first
hurdle, but I am only too well aware, having spoken so much to
Harry, that this is just the beginning," William said in a

"I am really looking forward to taking my place alongside
all the other cadets at Sandhurst," he added.

As second in line to the throne, William has the prospect
of eventually becoming Commander in Chief of Britain's armed
forces -- the role traditionally occupied by the monarch.

William said in a wide-ranging interview last November that
he was considering joining the army after finishing his
geography degree at St Andrews University in Scotland, but
would not expect or accept special treatment if he did so.

"The last thing I want to be is mollycoddled or wrapped up
in cotton wool," he said then. "If I was to join the army, I
would want to go where my men went and I would want to do what
they did."

Harry, who entered Sandhurst earlier this year and who will
therefore be senior to William, has joked that he was looking
forward to his elder brother having to salute him.