Prince William on Fatherhood, His Role as Future King and What He's Learned From the Queen

PHOTO: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge smile as he visits the Elephant Family Discovery centre, a Mark Shand Foundation charity in Kaziranga National Park, April 13, 2016, in Kaziranga, India.PlayChris Jackson/Getty Images
WATCH Prince William on Queen Elizabeth, Being King and Life as a Father

In a very candid, very personal interview with the BBC’s Royal Correspondent Nick Witchell, Prince William spoke movingly about fatherhood, the importance of his family at this point in his life and what he hopes to achieve when he becomes the King of England.

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“I’m concentrating very much on my role as a father," said William, the father of Princess Charlotte and Prince George. "I’m a new father and I take my duties and my responsibilities to my family very seriously and I want to bring my children up as good people with the idea of service and duty to others as very important."

William added, "But if I can’t give my time to my children as well, I worry about their future.”

With Princess Charlotte celebrating her first birthday in two weeks and Prince George just shy of his third birthday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are putting family first. The royal couple want to give their children as normal an upbringing as possible away from the spotlight, and, at the right time, will make George aware that he is the heir to the throne.

“I love my children the same way any father does and I hope George loves me the same way any son does to his father," said William. "They'll be a time and a place to bring George up and understand how he fits in the world, but right now it’s just a case of keeping a secure, stable environment around him and showing him as much love as I can as a father."

Prince William, 33, also told the BBC that his role as an air ambulance pilot is an important part of his life right now and he feels strongly about devoting his life to public service.

"I find the air ambulance role very important to me," William said. "It’s serving the community, working alongside extremely good professionals in the medical profession and then there’s my royal responsibilities which I still keep going."

At the moment, Prince William juggles his royal responsibilities with his full time job as a helicopter pilot with the East Anglia Air Ambulance.

“I’ve a contract and when that contract runs out, that will probably be a time that I finish," the Duke of Cambridge shared.

Prince William paid tribute to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, on the eve of her 90th birthday. The future king revealed that he knows there will be a time that his life as a full-time royal will become more critical and he is prepared.

“When the queen decides she’s going to hand down more responsibilities, I’ll be the first person to accept them," he said. "There’s an order of succession and I’m at the bottom at the moment so there is the time and space and future to take on more and develop more.”

“I think royal duty is extremely important," William continued. "I take my responsibilities very seriously but it’s about finding your own way at the right time and if you’re not careful, duty can sort of weigh you down an awful lot at a very early age, and I think you’ve got to develop into the duty role."

The prince added, "It’s something I take very seriously but with my family and with my role of air ambulance, for instance, I think there’s a number of things, I’ve got my fingers in many pies at the moment and want to keep an eye on [them]. That will change as life goes on and I’ll take on more."

On Thursday, William's grandmother, the queen, will celebrate her 90th birthday. William reflected of what he’s learned from Her Majesty and what kind of king he aspires to be.

“I think the queen’s duty and her service, her tolerance, her commitment to others, I think that’s all been incredibly important to me and it’s been a real guiding example of just what a good monarch could be," William said. "And it’s been incredibly insightful for me growing up, watching her leadership in that role."

"The queen is a fantastic role model to lead that as she has done for the last 90 years," he said.

William, who rarely speaks about his late mother, Princess Diana, also spoke to Rhiannon Mills of Sky News about the important role his grandmother has played in his life after his mother’s death.

“Having lost my mother at a very young age, it has been particularly important for me that I had somebody like the queen to look up to and who has been there and has understood some of the more complex issues when you lose a loved one," William said.

When he is the king, William said he plans to use the qualities he admires most from his grandmother and his father, Prince Charles.

"I think the royal family has to modernize and develop as it goes along and it has to stay relevant and that’s the challenge for me," William told the BBC. "How do I make the royal family relevant in the next 20 years’ time?" William said, "You know, it could be 40 years’ time. It could be 60 years’ time. I have no idea when that’s going to be and I certainly don’t lie awake waiting or hoping for it because it sadly means my family have moved on and I don’t want that."