Prince William: Gap year friend on relationship with royal
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Prince William has travelled extensively on numerous state visits in his adult life, often at the side of his wife Kate Middleton, 39. However, his royal trips these days differ greatly from some of his previous travels. His gap year was a time that saw William experience a “tough environment” far from palace life.
Prince Charles was very keen for his son to travel at the time and “meet people from different lands and backgrounds in order to gain the worldly knowledge that would prepare him for the lifetime of responsibility that lay ahead,” wrote author Ingrid Seward in her 2010 book William and Harry.
And so, aged 18, Prince William flew to Belize where he joined the Welsh Guards “on exercise in the jungles of Central America.”
It must have been a rude awakening for the young royal.
However, the experience taught him some vital survival skills.
Hunting for food in the wild was one key lesson William learnt.
“He was taught how to kill and prepare his food,” wrote Seward.
“An exercise code-named Native Trail began with instructors slaughtering a pig, hanging it from a pole and butchering it.
“The soldiers, William included, were then given a live chicken to dispatch.
“They had to wring its neck and cut off its head and feet with a machete, pluck its feathers and gut it before cooking it over a fire, exactly as they would have to do if there were living off the land in a jungle war.
“They were shown how to make a termite stew – and then made to eat it.
“At night, William tried to snatch what little sleep he could in the rain in a hammock strung between two trees.”
The young royal was praised for his attitude during the trip.
“I never saw a moment of panic on this face,” Seward quotes Corporal Claud Martinez of the Belizean defence force.
Nevertheless, William is said to have found the Belize expedition “tough going.”
Luckily, these days the royal gets to enjoy rather more relaxing trips.
The Caribbean island of Mustique is much loved by both Kate and William.
The couple visited the island, located in the stream of islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, in 2019 for Prince George’s sixth birthday.
While on the island, the royal couple opted to spend their two-week stay at the stunning Villa Antilles, which was built in 2016.
The villa is owned by property developed Andrew Dunn, who is a friend of Prince William.
A stay at this glamorous property can cost guests as much as £27,000 a week, depending on the time of year.
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