In one of his most candid interviews, Prince William insisted he will be the “first person” to take on more royal duties when the time comes.
The Duke said he was fully aware of criticism of his relatively light workload, but wants “to bring my children up as good people” and needs to have time for his duties as a father.
The Duke signed an initial two-year contract when he began the job in March 2015, and told the BBC in an interview to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday: “I’ve a contract and when that contract runs out that will probably be the time that I finish.”
Insisting that he does not “lie awake” waiting or hoping for the day he becomes King, he also said that “duty can weigh you down an awful lot at a very early age” and spoke of how Prince George is being brought up as part of a “normal” family without any real discussion of his future.
In an interview with the BBC, conducted shortly before his recent tour of India, the Duke was asked whether he shared the Queen’s devotion to duty.
He said: “I think royal duty is extremely important. It’s part of the fabric of what the royal family and any future monarch has.
“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.”
“To be honest, I’m going to get plenty of criticism over my lifetime and it’s something that I don’t completely ignore, but it’s not something I take completely to heart.
“I’m concentrating very much on my role as a father – 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. But if I can’t give my time to my children as well, I worry about their future.
“Plus… I find the air ambulance role very important to me; 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.
“And when the Queen decides she’s going to hand down more responsibilities, I’ll be the first person to accept them.”
The Duke was asked whether he had the full support of the Queen and the Prince of Wales, and replied: “Absolutely. My grandmother and my father are 150 per cent supportive behind everything that I’m doing – and Harry and Catherine. They very much understand whilst my grandmother is still extremely active at the helm of the royal family, as the monarch.
“My father is incredibly busy with his charitable activities and other responsibilities – there’s the time now and the space to explore other means of doing a worthwhile job. And for me, the air ambulance is an incredible important part, It’s not going to last forever , but I think it’s important.”
He said that as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh slow down, he will “absolutely willingly” take up the slack, “and as that time comes I’ll be the first person to put my hand up and take it on.
“But like I said, my grandfather is so active as well and he’s unwilling to slow down and my grandmother is very much at the helm, and my father is extremely busy, so there’s a lot of very hard-working members of the family in place and I look up to that and I see they do a fantastic job.”
The Duke was also asked whether Prince George had any inkling that he would one day be king.
He said: “As far as we’re concerned, within our family unit we are a normal family. 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, so we are very normal in that sense.
“And there’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.”