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CNN Today

Prince William Turns 18

Aired June 21, 2000 - 2:50 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The boy who would be king today is a man. Prince William, first-born of Charles and Diana and heir to the Windsor throne, is 18 years old.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: William's grandmother, the queen, threw a big party for him and other royals. But he stayed at school. It apparently is exam time.

WATERS: All right.

ALLEN: CNN's Margaret Lowrey reports now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARGARET LOWREY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Prince William's big day, birthday cards and presents flooded in from around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thinks he's an extremely popular young man, especially with the ladies.

LOWREY: And his peers and the British public, who may not be as enthusiastic about their royal family as in the past, but can't seem to get enough of William.

GERVASE WEBB, "EVENING STANDARD": He is so much in the spotlight. With Diana gone, he's the one royal with charisma, with looks, with youth. And he's the one that everyone's absolutely fascinated by. So for the foreseeable future, his life is going to be incredibly difficult.

LOWREY: "Incredibly difficult" because much of the rest of it will be spent in the focus of a paparazzi lens.

MARK SAUNDERS, BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHER: I just hope common sense will prevail this time. But already the interest in William has reached a fever pitch. I really -- I was surprised how quick it went, he became this big.

LOWREY: William already has a deep distrust of the media. Given his mother Diana's experience, some wonder how he'll handle the pressure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It obviously hurt her life quite a bit. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he'd be happier to do his own thing.

LOWREY: On this day, doing "his own thing" meant studying. Seen here in official video released last week, he stayed well out of the public eye Wednesday, missing the big birthday bash his grandmother, the queen, was hosting at Windsor Castle.

But there's no shortage of other regal milestones to celebrate. The queen mother's upcoming 100th birthday, Princess Margaret's 70th, Princess Anne's 50th, and Prince Andrew's 40th.

Camilla Parker-Bowles, stepping out with Prince Charles again on the eve of the party, was not on the queen's guest list. But Sarah Ferguson, "Fergie," Prince Andrew's ex, was, perhaps signaling a subtle shift by the queen to prevent further fractures in her family. All this has royals watchers positively atwitter. But the monarchy matters more to some than others.

TONY BENN, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: I think people at the moment are beginning just to find they are less and less interesting.

LOWREY: But for many, the house of Windsor is still simply the best show in town. And William, at 18, now gets star billing.

Margaret Lowrie, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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