Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Here we thought we had exhaustively unearthed every glimmer of information there was to know about the royal wedding, but you don't become a member of the royal family without learning how to keep a few secrets.
And Prince William proved this year that he could. Fortunately for us, he also proved that he could spill those secrets just as easily, thanks to an extensive and unprecedentedly candid interview given to the author of Our Queen, a book on the life and times of Queen Elizabeth II, due out next year in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee—or, for us Yanks, her 60th year on the throne.
Here's what he had to spill…
1. The First Wedding Guest List Wasn't His and Kate's to Craft: Though it ended up with several thousand of their nearest and dearest, disaster almost struck early on in the planning stages of Will and Kate Middleton's big day, when soon after the couple announced their engagement, they were told by Buckingham Palace officials in no uncertain terms exactly who they should request RSVPs from.
"I came into the first meeting for the wedding, post-engagement," Will told author Robert Hardman in the book, as excerpted by the Daily Mail. "And I was given this official list of 777 names—dignitaries, governors, all sorts of people—and not one person I knew.
"They said: 'These are the people we should invite.' I looked at it in absolute horror and said, 'I think we should start again.'"
Frustrated, he sought out help from the one person who could cast the deciding vote: his grandma, Her Majesty.
"I rang her up the next day and said, 'Do we need to be doing this?' And she said, 'No. Start with your friends first and then go from there.' And she told me to bin the list. She made the point that there are certain times when you have to strike the right balance. And it's advice like that, which is really key, when you know that she's seen and done it before." Aww, way to come through, granny!
2. Wills Wasn't Allowed to Dress Himself: You'd think that the groom would have some say in what he got to wear on his wedding day. But at least when it comes to royal traditions, you'd be wrong. Surprisingly, Kate was equally left out of the sartorial planning stages.
"I wanted to decide what to wear for the wedding," Will said. "I was given a categorical, 'No, you'll wear this!' "
This, specifically, was not, as the duke might have liked, his RAF blues, but rather his bright red Colonel of the Irish Guards uniform, as it marked his most senior military appointment.
"So you don't always get what you want, put it that way," he laughed. "But I knew perfectly well that it was for the best. That 'no' is a very good 'no.' So you just do as you're told."
3. Abdication Is Not in Her Vocabulary: Queen Elizabeth may be pushing 85, but royalty is a life, not a career, and thus something she wouldn't think of retiring from (no matter how much Prince Charles may wish otherwise).
"We all do," William said, when asked if the family ever asks the queen to take it a bit easier or to slow down her duties. "We all try to sit down with her. My father and her other children say it a lot to her.
"For the grandchildren, it's a bit difficult for us to say 'take it easy' when she's so much older than us and has done so much more. We do hint at taking some things off her, but she won't have anything of it.
"She's so dedicated and really determined to finish everything she started. She'll want to hand over knowing she's done everything she possibly could to help, and that she's got no regrets and no unfinished business; that she's done everything she can for the country and that she's not let anyone down—she minds an awful lot about that."
4. And You Thought Your Office Was Cramped: Sure, they may all have the run of Buckingham Palace, but when it comes to work, the digs aren't exactly what you'd call spacious.
In fact, Will, Kate and Prince Harry all share the office space, and while there's three of them, there are only two desks in the cramped quarters, meaning that they do, in fact, resort to desk hopping. Luckily, they're rarely all there at the same time. And we're guessing that's not a coincidence.
5. He's in No Rush to Take Over the Monarchy: Though his whole life is one big exercise in grooming for the inevitable day he becomes king, Prince William is in no rush to hurry that inescapability along.
"I try not to think about it, to be honest," he said. "As I'm flying along in my helicopter through the mountains of Wales, I try desperately hard not to think about it. That can wait until I'm a bit older."
And as for now, he's happy to think of his grandma as just that—not that he isn't thrilled to take on board any advice she has to offer.
"I say to people, 'She's my grandmother to me first, and then she's the queen.' Words that come from her, I take very personally and I really appreciate.
"My relationship with my grandmother has gone from strength to strength. As a shy, younger man, it could be harder to talk about weighty matters. It was, 'This is my grandmother who is the queen, and these are serious historical subjects.'
"As I've got older, she's become an even more important part of my life, so it's much easier. And obviously, with the wedding, she was a massive help."