22 May 2012 03:10 PM EST
-by Molly C. Braswell, Staff Writer; Image: Prince William and Duchess Catherine at their Royal Wedding (Image Source: MSNBC)
Even future kings are overcome with pre-wedding jitters the night before the Big Day.
With Prince William, that Big Day on April 29, 2011, was perhaps the biggest Big Day since his mother, Princess Diana, wed his father, Prince Charles on July 29, 1981.
“[The crowds] were singing and cheering all night long, so the excitement of that, the nervousness of me and everyone singing—I slept for about half an hour,” said the 29-year-old prince told Alan Titchmarsh on the upcoming program, Elizabeth: Queen, Wife, Mother. “The hardest thing was trying to walk down the stairs with my spurs on, sideways. I had visions of myself and my brother colliding and crashing down the stairs.”
Queen Elizabeth II a.k.a. Prince William’s grandmother also offered him some very wise and sound advice several months prior to the wedding regarding a list of 700-plus guests.
“There was very much a subdued moment when I was handed a list with 777 names on it—not one person I knew or Catherine knew,” Prince William said. “I went to [Queen Elizabeth] and said, ‘Listen, I’ve got this list, not one person I know—what do I do?’ And she went, ‘Get rid of it. Start from your friends, and then we’ll add those we need to in due course. It’s your day.’”
He mentions that he and his grandmother are much closer now that he is a grown man.
“I think being a small boy it’s very daunting seeing the Queen around and not really quite knowing what to talk about or what to ask her,” he said. “I think over the years that’s got a lot better. I’ve grown up—hopefully—a little bit and tried to understand a bit more about her role and my own role.”
The future King of England is preparing for that inevitable role, as well.
“There’s not much wriggle room left for me to try and find my own path, but I will do. It’s just a matter of learning what’s gone before me,” Prince William said. “Everyone’s fascinated by the Queen’s life and how she’s done it. And I would just hope that a bit of what she’s done and a bit of what she’s achieved, and a bit of how she’s conducted herself, we all take away in our own lives and try and do it ourselves. I would like to take all of her experiences, all of her knowledge and put it in a small box and to be able to constantly refer to it.”
William’s interview with Titchmarsh on Elizabeth: Queen, Wife, Mother will air June 1.