Yet he is not a man who is likely to spend his 40th birthday fretting about the state of his legacy. Those close to him say he is “more comfortable in his skin than ever”, and he does not regard his birthday from him next Tuesday as a significant moment, even though he has joked that turning 40 is a “daunting” prospect.
William has long made it clear that family comes first for him, a generational shift from his father and grandmother, and in that respect he can be rightly proud of his record as a husband and a father. He has three thriving young children who stole the show during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and a solid, happy marriage to a woman who has grown to be a perfect royal companion.
The Duke of Cambridge’s ‘limbo’ years might well turn out to be his best.
“He and Kate are in the happiest period of their lives now, before the weight of the world lands on their shoulders,” says a friend. “They try to not think about what’s ahead.”
The couple have made one major decision to coincide with their 40th birthdays (the Duchess’s was in January), which is to shift their home base from Kensington Palace to Windsor during the summer so that their children can all attend the same co-educational school when four-year-old Prince Louis begins his formal education.