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'African' queen for Wills party

'Give my father a break,' says the 'biker' prince

Handshake from William
'Wills' says he has been influenced by his mother's aim to help people.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britain's Prince William -- the man set to be king after his father, Prince Charles -- is to celebrate his 21st birthday with a royal "Out of Africa" fancy dress party at Windsor Castle.

William told how he thought it would be fun to see members of the royal family -- including Queen Elizabeth II -- in African fancy dress in an interview with the UK's Press Association to mark his coming of age.

The birthday prince -- second in line to the throne after Charles -- has invited more than 300 family and friends to Saturday night's party -- themed "Out of Africa."

In the interview, the student prince talked about continuing the legacy of his mother, Princess Diana, and the influence of his father -- whom he said had been given "a hard time" and deserved better.

"He does so many amazing things," said his supportive son. "I only wish people would see that more because he's had a very hard time and yet he's stuck it out and he's still very positive.

"And he's very happy and protective towards Harry and me as well."

William said his father had been a "huge influence" on him, especially concerning rural issues, like organic farming and sustainability, for example.

"I'm one of his biggest fans in that sense," he said. "He's been given quite a hard time recently and I just wish that people would given him a break."

But first the prince looked forward to Saturday evening's party at Windsor.

Senior royals and university students, all in fancy dress, will take to the dance floor to music performed by a band and a DJ.

Charles and William drinking
William defended his father, saying Charles is given a "hard time."

William said: "I thought it would be quite fun to see the family out of black tie and get everyone to dress up. It just gives it a bit of character."

He added: My grandmother may be slightly apprehensive as to what she's going to wear, and what's going to happen, but she's very much looking forward to it. She's very positive towards the whole thing."

Then with a hint of fun in his voice, William added: "I don't know what she's going to wear but I'm sure she'll look very amazing in whatever she chooses."

In the 21st birthday interview, William said: "My guiding principles in life are to be honest, genuine, thoughtful and caring."

According to PA's Court Correspondent, Peter Archer, William is an unassuming young man "equally at home sitting on a golden sofa at St James's Palace beneath a gilt-framed picture by Van Der Meulen and in a student's room with utility furniture and posters."

Said Archer: "His firm handshake, welcoming smile and boyish charm were a winning combination. However, William left no doubt who was in control."

William told him: "I don't go around and expect everyone to listen to me the whole time. But I like to be in control of my life because I have so many people around me, I can get pulled in one direction and then the other."

Can be 'stubborn'

"If I don't have any say in it, then I end up just losing complete control and I don't like the idea of that. I could actually lose my identity."

He continued: "A lot of people think I'm hugely stubborn about the whole thing. But you have to be slightly stubborn because everybody wants you for one reason or another.

"If you don't stick to your guns and stick to your decision, then you lose control."

William, who is midway through a four-year Master of Arts degree at St Andrews University in Scotland, remains particularly close to his younger brother, 18-year-old Prince Harry, with whom he suffered the trauma of their mother, Diana's early and tragic death.

"I have a very good relationship with my brother," he said. "We've grown up together and we have to go through a lot of things together. We'll always have that common bond.

"We ring each other quite a lot. He usually rings me up to tell me some incredibly amusing story and the things he gets up to. He is a very nice guy and he's very caring."

In many ways, William manages to be an ordinary student -- though at 6ft 4ins, he is a keen sportsman, excelling in water polo, swimming and rugby.

He supports Aston Villa Football Club and sticks with the Birmingham-based Premiership side, partly because he likes the fans.

"Villa supporters are dedicated -- they are great because, although Villa don't always win, they stay loyal."

Chat-up lines

William loves new-style R&B music and enjoys dancing. He says he revels in banter with the boys and nights out drinking cider.

He told PA if he "fancies" a girl, he chats her up. But he is concerned that his girlfriends must be protected from the media spotlight, knowing the pressure his own mother was subjected to when she married into the royal family.

He watches TV and admits to having "very square eyes" at the moment. He likes going to the cinema to see action movies and he drives a car but prefers his high-speed motorbike.

"I have a small lap-top computer mostly for university work but I use it occasionally for playing the odd game and surfing the Internet," he said.

"But I haven't checked my e-mail for so long I think it's vanished -- wiped away."

He told of the influence his mother, Princess Diana, had on him and how he hopes to use his position as a Royal, to help people.

William said: "I was influenced a lot by my visits to hostels with my mother when I was younger.

"I learned a lot from it, more so now than I did at the time. It's made me aware and I think homelessness is one of those topics that people kind of gloss over and don't really focus on.

"It is an important issue that needs to be understood and highlighted. My mother used her position very well to help other people, as does my father, and I hope to do the same."

Love of speed

William revealed a passion for fast motorbikes and conceded that his father worries about his love of speed.

"Riding a motorbike can be dangerous but so can lots of things really," said William.

"It is a risk but as long as you've had sufficient and thorough training, you should be okay. You've just got to be aware of what you're doing."

However, William said: "My father is concerned about the fact that I'm into motorbikes but he doesn't want to keep me all wrapped up in cotton wool.

"So you might as well live if you're going to live. It's just something I'm passionate about."

William disclosed that he has a Yamaha 600 trials bike. "It's an on-off road bike, so you can do either," he said.

William rides his motorbike mainly at Highgrove and around the country roads of Gloucestershire.

"It does help being anonymous with my motorcycle helmet on because it does enable me to relax," he said. "But I just enjoy everything about motorbikes and the camaraderie that comes with it."


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