Will he be forced to ditch the job he loves as his royal destiny calls The young prince's concerns fortunately have nothing to do with the thorny royal issue of marriage, but they are potentially life changing.
For while many royal watchers feverishly speculate as to whether he and Kate intend to start a family together, the biggest question mark at the top of William's list this week is actually whether to continue with his RAF career a decision which has been hugely complicated by the recent illness of his beloved grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh. It is difficult to convey just how much the prince loves his job as a search and rescue Sea King pilot, and the difference it has made to his outlook on life. As one confidante explains: 'It is a core part of who he is. The confidence and contentment he has gained from his career has seeped into every aspect of his life.' Another adds: 'I honestly believe it is no exaggeration to say that his career satisfaction was in a large way responsible for his decision to finally pop the question to Kate. All of a sudden, the pieces of the jigsaw finally slotted together'. For behind the controls of his helicopter (last week it was announced that William had qualified to captain his aircraft), the prince is just another, anonymous member of the armed forces. Indeed, many of those he rescues from walkers on Snowdonia to stranded sailors in the Irish Sea have no idea that a future king has just saved their life. And having initially been desperately disappointed to be barred from frontline military service because of his position as a direct heir to the throne, that's just how William prefers it. Sadly for the prince, however, the clock is ticking and his first, three year tour of duty is due to end next spring. He has to tell his superiors by the end of this year whether he wants to continue flying and is, as we speak, 'very seriously' weighing up his options. His gut instinct is to jump at the chance both because he loves it, and because he appreciates he is being the new pandora bracelet opportunity to lead a so called normal life that few of his predecessors his father included have ever been given. Indeed, sources close to the prince are at pains to stress that neither the Queen nor Charles are putting 'any pressure on him whatsoever', and insist that he must do what is best for himself and for Kate. But in his more realistic moments, William himself is the first to admit that 'the pressures of my other life are building.' His 91 year old grandfather's two recent bouts of ill health his heart surgery before Christmas and his recent hospitalisation after a bladder infection have rammed home the unpalatable truth that the senior members of his family are not getting any younger, and it is time for a glamorous new generation to step into the fray. 'Given the chance, he would like to continue with his work,' says a friend. 'But you pandora ring charm shouldn't assume that he will chose to stay in it, as other factors are most definitely coming into play. Growing up: William gets a rub on the head from his mother on his first day at school in Notting Gate, London, in September 1985 (left) and sits on her lap (right) as they watch Charles play polo at Smith's Lawn, Windsor in May 1987 'He has got to get the balance right between his flying and his royal duties. It is a niggling sore for him. 'It is true that the Queen and the Prince of Wales are both incredibly supportive of his career and whatever decision he makes. They have made clear that it is a decision he and his wife have got to take together. He is very torn.' My sources say that one of the others factors the prince is weighing up is his home on Anglesey, the island in North Wales, which has given himself and Kate the relative peace and anonymity they crave. If he decides to take all or part of a new 36 month tour of duty, then he will almost certainly have to transfer to a new base in a different part of the country very possibly Lossiemouth in remote, northern Scotland. Do he and his wife have the stomach to start again? Particularly, of course, if the couple do have a child in the immediate future, as they have both indicated they are keen to do. Poor Kate, who turned 30 in January, finds herself subjected to daily scrutiny over her figure and potential 'baby bump'. Her private office at St James's Palace have made clear that they will not speculate on the issue, and if and when there is anything to say, an announcement will be made. Friends of the prince say they think it is unlikely the pair would try for a baby before their upcoming Diamond Jubilee tour of Malaysia, Singapore, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu a gruelling ten day pandora christmas charms tour in September that is likely to tire even those in the rudest of health. And, like many military wives, Kate might find it a challenge starting a family in a strange town far away from her nearest and dearest. She admits that she 'worries terribly' whenever her husband is out on a mission. But, friends also shrug ruefully, who knows with William? He is a prince who revels in playing his cards close to his chest. The royal flyer also has to consider the potential public backlash that 'jacking in' his career at such an early stage could spark, particularly given the 800,000 of public money it took to train him. His pilot's training course was even given its own, slightly ostentatious codename Golden Osprey.
But at least, unlike his pandora bracelet beads father who turned 30 very much as a single man hankering after the one woman he seemingly could never have, William is settled domestically. He is, say his friends, 'absurdly proud' of the way in which Kate has 'found her feet' as a member of the royal family, and the confidence with which she is now tackling her work not, they stress, that William ever doubted her. The couple will, for the time being at least, continue to conduct the vast majority of their jobs as a couple and 'very much see themselves as a team'.
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