News24

"I'm not just an ornament"

2009-09-24 09:40

London - Britain's Prince William said on Wednesday he does not want to be seen as a mere "ornament" when it comes to royal duties and he and his brother, Harry, want to build on the charitable work of his family.

"There's a time and a place for being an ornament as such - or, you know, shaking hands and being at an engagement and showing support in that way," William told BBC television.

"But I think there's an awful lot more (to be gained) from actually doing stuff. And this is an example of what I just want to be actually more involved in."

William, 27, who is second in line to the throne after his father Prince Charles, was speaking at a meeting of the Princes' Charities Forum set up in 2006 which brings together 20 diverse groups, including charities, twice a year.

Helicopter training course

Prince Harry, 25, who like William is pursuing a military career, was absent from the meeting at St. James's Palace near Buckingham Palace because he was on a helicopter training course.

"His flying is not very good, so he has to do more than me," William joked.

He said the brothers wanted to be "more involved" and were determined to be seen to make a difference.

To underscore their commitment, William said, the princes were in the midst of setting up a charitable foundation.

A spokeswoman for the princes said the foundation would support work in three broad areas: sustainable development, support for young people and aid for wounded military personnel.

Guiding light

William said the princes had been inspired by the work of their parents, the Prince of Wales and the late Princess Diana.

"I've been trying to take the best bits of both of their charitable lives and trying to amalgamate them into making them even better," he said of his parents' work.

"I'm not in their league, but I'm warming up, hopefully, and I'm trying to do what I can."

His grandmother Queen Elizabeth and the dedication of his late great-grandmother were also a guiding light, he said.

"My grandmother inspires me, obviously. Her work and her duty and the dedication she has given to ... the country has been very inspiring."

"I think she has done a fantastic job and I look up to what she does."