The ‘role model and hero’ Prince William was REALLY named after, royal expert claims - and you've probably never heard of him

The Prince of Wales is set to become the fifth King William but he's not named after the who you think

Prince William close up as main and drop in with King Charles holding Prince William as a baby
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince William is said to be named after a 'role model and hero' of his dad King Charles, according to a royal expert - and you've probably never heard of him.

The Prince of Wales, who was born on 21st June 1982, was named using the traditional royal baby name hack, but contrary to popular belief that he was named after the previous four King Williams, the young prince was named after someone else entirely.

It can be tricky for parents to choose the right baby name. From unusual baby names to Disney names or Royal baby names, there are so many to choose from - and royals are no different when it comes to finding inspiration.

Prince William is next in line to the throne in the royal line of succession, but when the Prince of Wales eventually does become king, it's claimed that his choice of name comes from a little-known British prince who died in a plane crash 51 years ago, rather than the four British kings previously bearing that name.

Prince William was christened William Arthur Philip Louis in the music room of Buckingham Palace by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie.

Royal writer Christopher Wilson has made the claims in his latest MailOnline column, in which he reports that Prince William's name is a "tribute to a swashbuckling royal cousin - friend, role model and hero to King Charles who was killed in a tragic plane crash in 1972."

Prince William of Gloucester was the older cousin of then Prince Charles, who died at the age of 30, unmarried and without children.

Christopher writes that "Charles admired him profoundly and when his first son was born 10 years later in 1982 he had no hesitation in naming him after the man, seven years his senior, who'd been his lifetime role-model."

Prince William of Gloucester flying a plane, split layout with Prince William of Wales, flying a helicopter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

And it looks like the pair are not just similar by names but actually, most of Prince William's life has emulated that of Prince William of Gloucester - they both went to Eton, played Polo and worked as a pilot.

But the older William was killed in an air crash - the plane he was flying at the time a Piper Cherokee crashed while he was taking part in an air race in August 1972.

Meanwhile, younger Prince William of Wales no longer works as an air ambulance helicopter pilot, he served the East Anglian Air Ambulance from 2015-2017. He is married to wife Kate Middleton and they have three children, sons Prince George, 10 and Prince Louis, five and daughter Princess Charlotte, eight. And he now performs official engagements and duties on behalf of the Monarch, King Charles III.

Prince William playing Polo with wife Kate Middelton watching

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In other royal news, Prince Harry and Meghan enjoy romantic break without Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet - and here's why you should too and Prince William and Prince George are an adorable father-son duo as they step out in matching suits for Rugby World Cup.

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is currently a Senior Entertainment Writer for, formerly Senior Entertainment writer for Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life and has more than 16 years of experience in newspapers, magazines and online. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including celebrity births, weddings and reality show line-ups including Strictly, Dancing On Ice and The Great British Bake Off, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories from baby names to store closures and product recall warnings. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.