Prince William Marks Quiet 29th Birthday

VIDEO: Future king spends his birthday at controls of a Royal Air Force rescue chopper.
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Farewell to the birthday celebrations of his youth and bachelor days.

Just-married Prince William is marking his 29th birthday on Tuesday at work.

William, a helicopter search and rescue pilot in the Royal Air Force, will spend the last birthday of his 20s on duty at a base in Anglesey, an island off the coast of Wales, and may even be pulling a 24-hour shift, palace officials confirmed.

Royal watchers say the prince would have endured media and professional glare had he taken a birthday vacation.

"William has got to work on his birthday," Duncan Larcombe, royal correspondent for the UK's Daily Sun newspaper, told "Good Morning America." "For an ordinary Royal Air Force pilot, it would be horrible if he was given the day off."

A quiet day, away from the media spotlight may be just what the prince himself wanted for his 29th birthday, coming on the heels of what has been a whirlwind year for the royal.

"We see how William wants to start out," said Larcombe. "He will be a full-time, working royal."

The son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana was married to the former Kate Middleton at London's Westminster Abbey on April 29 in a fairy tale wedding that was watched by billions around the globe.

After a delayed honeymoon in Seychelles, William and Kate, also 29, faced the dual tasks of settling into marriage life and preparing to move into their new London apartment at Kensington Palace, William's childhood home.

PHOTOS: Kate and William's New Home

It was Kensington Palace where William celebrated so many of his birthdays, also in a low-key manner thanks to his mother, Princess Diana, who tried to give her sons, William and his brother, Prince Harry, as normal lives as possible, within the confines of royal life.

"William's birthdays were very normal, with friends," Dickie Arbiter, the Queen's press secretary during William's childhood, told "GMA." "I remember him running around the palace in his Army fatigues."

William's grandfather, Prince Philip, recently celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this month with a full day of official engagements.

But the low-key birthday for the prince is more typical of what many are calling a new breed of monarchs, "modern royals:" going to college, having careers and marrying for love.

After exchanging vows amidst the pomp and circumstance of their lavish royal wedding, Prince William and Kate vowed to live as much of an ordinary life as possible.

PHOTOS: Highlights From the Royal Wedding

The young royals, who lovingly call themselves Mr. and Mrs. Wales, chose a modest cottage in Wales over Buckingham Palace, and resisted taking on butlers and servants.

William returned to work as a search-and-rescue pilot in Anglesey, while Kate was seen grocery shopping for the couple herself.

The commitment by Prince William and his bride to live a modest, royal life is another trace of his upbringing, and his late mother's efforts to shield her sons as much as possible from the inevitable media glare.

"They protected him," Arbiter told "GMA," of efforts by Charles and Diana to set up photo sessions for the princes to avoid photographers in their daily lives. "He was in the media constantly, but they tried to protect him."

No protection can guard the young couple, however, from the media glare that is bound to descend on them again as they prepare to travel to Canada and the United States next month on their first official overseas trip as a married couple.

William and Kate will embark June 30 on a nine-day, eight-city tour that will take them from Ottawa and Montreal through the Northwest Territories of Canada before making their way down to Los Angeles, Calif., for a grand finale full of both philanthropic work and red-carpet affairs.

But the philanthropic work and their very modest travel arrangements, by royal standards, are what royal experts predict William and Kate will seek to highlight.

"The palace says they're not taking a huge entourage," Larcombe told "GMA." "They're trying to start on the right footing."

"This is the first overseas trip for them and they don't want to be seen as too extravagant," he said.

And when William and Kate return from their trip, it will be back to everyday life for the Duke and Duchess.

Prince William will return to his Royal Air Force duties and Middleton will oversee the couple's move to Kensington Palace.

It will be a new start and a new home for the royals, a home Middleton is reportedly already busy decorating with new cushions and her favorite scented candles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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