Prince Philip’s ‘characteristic’ warning to Prince William: ‘Don’t wimp out!'

Prince William visits newly re-opened head quarters of BAFTA

Prince William admitted earlier this week that he and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge struggle to “regulate” their children’s screen time. William stopped by BAFTA’s London headquarters on Thursday and plans were announced for the Prince William BAFTA Bursary fund which aims to help talented youngsters pursue careers in film, TV and gaming when they might otherwise not have the means to do so. During his visit, William admitted all three of his children love the medium. He revealed Prince George, 8, is a keen gamer, but he and Kate are “trying to regulate” his screen time.

Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3, are “a bit too small at the moment” for gaming, “but they love the films”.

William and Kate will mark 20 years since first getting into a relationship next year.

They first met in 2001 at the University of St Andrews and began dating in 2003.

They lived together with two other friends in their second, third and fourth year of university.

But things might have been very different if William had had his way.

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Prince William

Prince Philip’s warning to Prince William: ‘Don’t wimp out!’ (Image: GETTY)

Prince William

Philip urged his grandson not to drop out of St Andrews. (Image: GETTY)

William originally enrolled at the Scottish university on a history of art course. But university life was not what he expected, and he almost dropped out after the first term.

Royal author Katie Nicholl wrote in her book ‘Kate: The Future Queen’ that William held discussions with his father and former housemaster at Eton, Dr Gailey, over the Christmas holidays.

She said: “They listened carefully to William and concluded that quite apart from the problems associated with feeling hemmed in at St Andrew’s, William was not being inspired by his history of art course.

“After much discussion — in which his father shared his own difficult experiences of adapting to undergraduate life at Cambridge, and his grandfather, Prince Philip, issued a characteristic warning to ‘knuckle down and not wimp out’ — it was decided, in conjunction with the university administration, that William would return to St Andrew’s in January 2002.”

William remained in Sallies — St Salvator’s Hall — and switched courses to geography.

Prince William

William and Kate’s romance blossomed as youngsters at university. (Image: GETTY)

Ms Nicholl added: “This seemed like a good compromise, and William felt decidedly more optimistic about his undergraduate days ahead.”

William has addressed his university ‘wobble’ in the past, and admitted that he was “daunted”.

He said: “My father was very understanding about it and realised I had the same problem he probably had.

“We chatted a lot, and in the end, we both realised — I definitely realised — that I had to come back.”

William’s return north of the border signalled the beginning of much happier times for the young prince.

Prince William

William’s decision not to drop out ultimately paid off. (Image: GETTY)

March 2002 marked one of the most significant fixtures in the St Andrews calendar — the fashion show.

Kate auditioned for the charity show and was successful. The event was held at the Student Union and those in the show were offered tables closest to the catwalk.

According to Andrew Sands, the show’s choreographer, William and his friend Adam England sat at Kate’s table along with some others.

Kate shimmied down the catwalk wearing a see-through long skirt. William reportedly whispered to a friend: “Wow, Kate’s hot!”

The students went off to various after-parties, with William and Kate both ending up at the same party at 14 Hope Street.

Mr Sands told Ms Nicholl: “They kissed at the end of the night. They were both standing up in the corner of the living room, and I recall seeing them out of the corner of my eye.”

He added: “Everyone pretended that they weren’t taking much notice, but it went round St Andrews like wildfire afterwards.”

Others at the party, however, told Ms Nicholl that Kate could be seen pulling away as William leaned in to kiss her.

Ms Nicholl wrote: “She may have been momentarily concerned that anything more intimate than their already close friendship might muddy the waters when it came to living together.”

Whatever the nature of the advance, their relationship continued from then onwards.

Charlie Moretti, the fashion show’s organiser, told Ms Nicholl: “I think the fashion show made them the couple they are today… I was always certain they would be together and maybe the fashion show was the crystallising moment.”

‘Kate: The Future Queen’ was written by Katie Nicholl and published by Weinstein Books in 2015. It is available here.

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