May 11, 1998 12:00 PM

It’s not just the sun-streaked blond hair and shy, upward gaze. Prince William also has his mother’s gift for charming kings and commoners alike. And he carries himself with a grace that would surely make Diana proud. “Her popular legacy lives on in William,” says British Press Association reporter Peter Archer.

Though he may only be a monarch in training, among teenage girls, Wills rules. During his recent Canadian ski vacation with father Charles and brother Harry, 13, thousands turned out to chant his name and shout, “William, will you marry me?” When the American teen magazine YM put Wills on its February cover, it received 12,000 letters, many signed “the next Mrs. Windsor.” “In terms of having movie-star appeal, he’s the hottest guy since John-John [Kennedy],” says YM editor Lesley Jane Seymour.

Dubbed His Royal Sighness by a London newspaper in 1996, the 6’1″ William isn’t known for vanity. “He’s unself-conscious about his physical attributes,” says Brian Hoey, author of 13 books on the royals. And for now, at least, he spends more time on sports (he skis, rows and plays rugby) than dating. But the prince, who turns 16 next month, does display an interest in girls. “At Eton, he’ll walk with the other boys, and they’ll eye up the girls the same way they’d do anywhere,” says Hoey. And lie doesn’t seem to mind their interest in him. “The feeling among members of the royal household,” says Hoey, “is that secretly he quite enjoys it.”

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