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World - Europe

S P E C I A L S: Diana: A Remembrance
Diana: A Nation Mourns

Britain's William gives glimpse into princely life

Marks 16th birthday with rare interview

June 20, 1998
Web posted at: 10:23 p.m. EDT (0223 GMT)

LONDON (CNN) -- Britain's Prince William turns 16 on Sunday, and he is marking his birthday by giving a rare glimpse into his personal life.

The oldest son of the heir to the throne responded to a series of questions put to him by Britain's Press Association news agency. His paraphrased answers were front-page news Saturday in Britain's royal-hungry newspapers, with the Sun going so far as to dub him "Prince Charming."

William said he plans to spend his birthday -- the first since the death of his mother, Princess Diana, last August -- with friends at Eton, the exclusive preparatory school he attends near London. He will speak with his family on the telephone.

The tall, blond prince, who bears a strong resemblance to his mother, said he is still somewhat uncomfortable being the focus of adulation by screaming teen-age girls. On a visit to Canada last summer, they turned out in droves just to catch a glimpse, and a British teen magazine has named him as its number one hunk.

William revealed that he likes techno music, though he also listens to classical fare. In a deft bit of diplomacy, he declined to name his favorite group.

Prince likes polo -- the kind without horses

The prince said that he likes to play rugby, soccer, water polo and tennis and also likes to swim. While he doesn't have his own computer, he enjoys playing computer games.

In his final two years at Eton, William plans to study geography, biology and art history. He wants to further his education at a university but has yet to decide which one. Members of the royal family historically have gone to Oxford.

William has a pet female black Labrador, named Widgeon, and shares the royal family's love of horses. He said one of his ambitions is to go to Africa and see big game in the wild.

Prince William is able to shop for clothes himself and likes modern styles, though he said he also likes Eton's distinctive uniform that consists of a tail coat and striped trousers.

William resolves dispute with newspaper

His interview with the Press Association marked perhaps the most in-depth glimpse at William's life since his mother's death. At that time, beset with criticism about how they had covered Princess Diana, the British press pledged to respect William's privacy and that of his younger brother, Prince Harry.

However, earlier in the week, William filed a formal protest with Britain's Press Complaints Commission over an article that appeared in The Mail on Sunday newspaper, which speculated at length about his private life.

Buckingham Palace spokeswoman Sandy Henney said the palace particularly objected to The Mail's assertion that William would evaluate young women and then tell his private secretary to invite some to tea. She called the charges "inaccurate" and "intrusive to his privacy."

On Friday, the palace announced that the prince and the newspaper had "amicably resolved" the complaint. However, the newspaper said it would not be publishing either an apology or a retraction.

Reuters contributed to this report.

The Death of Princess Diana

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