Even a little Prince must keep a stiff upper lip when it comes to following the royal rules. And so at the ripe old age of 2, Prince William took his first airplane trip without his parents, jetting from London to Aberdeen, Scotland, under the vigilant eyes of his nanny, Barbara Barnes, and two Scotland Yard detectives. While William traveled on a scheduled British Airways flight, his family—Princess Diana, baby Henry and Prince Charles—shuttled behind in a royal aircraft.
No Machiavellian plot lies behind these travel plans. It’s just the enforcement of a long-standing routine to safeguard the royal line of succession against accident or attack. Since young Wills is second in line to the throne, the Queen decided that he shouldn’t fly with his dad, Prince Charles, who is first in line, or his brother, Prince Henry, third in line.
Before this trip, William’s doting parents allowed their son to tag along when they visited Australia and New Zealand in 1983. He was too young to travel without them and they couldn’t bear to leave him behind.
William handled his first solo flight with royal aplomb. He played peekaboo with photographers and waved across the aisles to another tyke on board. His refreshments included biscuits and orange juice. “Look at that,” he remarked as he peered out a window, and at another point, he inquired, “What’s that?”
The consolation of separation is the joy of reunion. No doubt, when young Wills joined his family once again at the Balmoral estate, he had plenty of notes to share.