Sun, Nov 21, 2004 - Page 6 News List

William would fight with `his men' in military role

PRIDE Prince William said he would not want to be `mollycoddled' if he chose a career in the military, and that he would fight in a war if he was called upon

AFP , LONDON

Prince William, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and future heir to the British throne, pledged to fight alongside "his men" should he join the army, in a rare interview aired on Friday.

"The last thing I would want to do is be molly coddled," William said, referring to a possible future military career when he graduates next year from Saint Andrews University in Scotland.

The 22-year-old royal said that after his degree in geography, he would consider heading to Sandhurst, Britain's most prestigious military academy, where younger brother Harry is to enroll in January. "Definitely I would like to go to Sandhurst ... obviously providing the fact of me making my mind up of what I'd want to do.

"That's why I put my brother in as a guinea pig first," the prince added jokingly, referring to 20-year-old Harry in his in-depth television interview, given to the BBC and Britain's Press Association.

Despite his position as future king, William insisted he would fight aside other soldiers since it would be "the most humiliating thing" to be left behind.

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

Looking relaxed and strapping in corduroy trousers and a charcoal grey sweater, William was filmed at the distinguished Scottish university, then followed during his school day en route to lecture, visiting the library and shooting pool in a bar with friends.

The blond 22-year-old water polo player, regularly dubbed Britain's most eligible bachelor, insisted he led the life of a normal student, living beneath piles of laundry, shopping at the supermarket and drinking vodka shots in the morning during school hazing festivities.

"There's lots of people saying it's impossible to lead a normal life, really, but actually up here, and with the media out of it, it's amazing how people just get on with their lives and not bother you and everyone up here," he said. "I do all my own shopping. I go out get take-away [food], rent videos, go to the cinema, just basically anything I want to really," he added.

When asked whether the idea of becoming king kept him awake at night, William said: "It's not like that. The thing is with me I look on the brighter side of everything."

As a first-year student he was hazed during the traditional Raisin Weekend. "I was having shots of vodka at 9:30 in the morning. It was horrific and it didn't stop there," William recalled.

Up until now, the dashing prince has been protected at Saint Andrews from the often bulldozer tactics of Britain's invasive paparazzi by an agreement reached between Buckingham Palace and the media following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in August 1997.

Manslaughter inquiries were finally dropped against the press photographers and the accident blamed on chauffeur Henri Paul, who also died, for driving drunk at high speed, but the incident opened debate on intrusive press practices.

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