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Prince William Turns 18!

by Colleen Sullivan


London, UK -- It is unlikely that Prince William celebrated his 18th birthday this week with a gala event. Unfortunately, William, second in line to the British throne and in his last year at the prestigious Eton College, spent his birthday revising his A-level exams. After completing his studies at Eton, he will take a year off before going to university.

Although plans for his 'gap year' have yet to be formally announced by Buckingham Palace, 50% of British residents polled felt that William should spend the year 'doing whatever he wants'. Only 9% felt that he should spend the year learning more about the royal duties that await him. Generally, older respondents were less likely than younger ones to believe that William should be free to spend the year to his liking. Likewise, older respondents felt more strongly that his gap year should be spent learning royal traditions.

Plans for His Life Ahead
It has been widely rumored that Prince William may attend Edinburgh University in Scotland. When asked, 19% of those polled felt he should attend either Oxford or Cambridge as kings-to-be have in the past, while a majority (51%) felt he should break with tradition and go to another university.

Respondents were also asked what Prince William should do after he finishes at university. While 29% felt he should follow in the tradition of his father and spend his time in one of the Armed Forces, 44% said he should take up a civilian occupation. Conservatives and older respondents tended to report that a stint in the Armed Forces was preferable for the future King of England.

Following in the Steps of Princess Diana
Like his mother Princess Diana, Prince William has tended to shy away from the glare of public attention. Therefore, when asked how much they felt they knew about Prince William, it is not surprising to find that the vast majority of British residents (78%) felt they knew 'only a little' or 'nothing at all' about him. Nevertheless, 81% felt that he should continue to be shielded from the media.

Despite attempts at keeping a relatively low media profile, Prince William is viewed as strong role model for young people today by nearly three out of five British residents. Men are somewhat less likely to view the Prince as a role model (52%) than are women (65%).

Survey Methods
The results reported here are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of 1,007 British adults, 18 years and older, conducted May 31 - June 6, 2000 for the Daily Telegraph. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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