He may be the future king of Britain, but for now Prince George of Cambridge is just a little “rascal” according to his proud father Prince William.
Sitting in his garden at Kensington Palace on a warm summer day, the Duke of Cambridge, second in line to the British throne, told CNN that George is already quite a character in his first official interview since the birth in London on July 22.
“He’s a little bit of a rascal, I’ll put it that way,” William told CNN’s Max Foster. “He either reminds me of my brother or me when I was younger, I’m not sure, but he’s doing very well at the moment.”
“He’s growing quite quickly actually. But he’s a little fighter — he wriggles around quite a lot and he doesn’t want to go to sleep that much.”
William said his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, has been handling more of the night duties with baby George — and admitted he’s looking forward to going back to his job as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue pilot in order to catch up on some much-needed sleep.
“Well, as a few fathers might know, I’m actually quite looking forward to going back to work (to) get some sleep. So I’m just hoping the first few shifts I go back I don’t have any night jobs.”
William, dressed casually in blue jeans and a polo shirt, laughed as he described the moment he and Catherine appeared on the steps at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London to show baby George to the world for the first time.
Prince William said: “I think more shock was the feeling I felt, but I was on such a high anyway, and so was Catherine, about George that really we were happy to show him off to whoever wanted to see him.”
“As any new parent knows, you’re only too happy to show off your new child and, you know, proclaim that he is the best looking or the best everything. It’s nice that people want to see George — I’m just glad he wasn’t screaming his head off the whole way through,” he said with a laugh.
Fathers around the world watched in disbelief as William, surrounded by hundreds of press photographers, deftly secured his son’s car seat in the back of his vehicle on the first try — but the prince admitted there was more than luck involved in the maneuver.
“Believe, me it wasn’t my first time,” William said, “and I know there’s been some speculation about that. I had to practice, I really did — I was terrified it was going to fall off or the door wasn’t going to close properly.”
While the pictures of William climbing behind the wheel and driving his young family home from the hospital may have reinforced perceptions that he’ll bring a more modern approach to Britain’s monarchy, the future king told CNN it was simply more about doing things his way.
He said: “I am as independent as I want to be, same as Catherine and Harry. We’ve all grown up differently to other generations and I very much feel if that I can do it myself, I want to do it myself.”
“There are times where you can’t do it yourself and the system takes over, or it’s appropriate to do things differently. But I think driving your son and your wife away from hospital was really important to me.”
While the future king may have prevailed on the issue of driving his family home, he says he was less successful at avoiding that hallowed tradition of new parenthood: changing the first diaper.
“I did the first nappy, it’s a badge of honor,” he joked. “I wasn’t allowed to get away with that. I had every midwife staring at me, saying: ‘You do it, you do it.'”
William told CNN that Catherine is doing “a fantastic job” with baby George and that his young family is now his priority.
The prince said last week that he will miss living on the Welsh island of Anglesey when his three-year tour as an RAF pilot there comes to an end next month.
“For me, Catherine and now little George are my priorities — and Lupo,” the prince said with a smile. Thankfully Lupo, the couple’s Cocker Spaniel, seems to be on board with the new addition to the family.
“He’s coping all right, actually. As a lot of people know who have got dogs and bringing a newborn back, they take a little bit of time to adapt, but he’s been all right so far. He’s been slobbering around the house a bit, so he’s perfectly happy.”
One of William’s great passions is saving endangered species in Africa. He told CNN he wants George to experience the same Africa he saw as a young man and spark a passion for preserving the unique wildlife there, much as his father, Prince Charles, did with him.
“I’ll have toy elephants and rhinos around the room,” William joked. “We’ll cover it in lots of bushes and things like that, make him grow up as if he’s in the bush.”
In the meantime, William said the possibility of his son carrying on the royal family’s legacy in Africa isn’t an immediate concern.
“At the moment, the only legacy I want to pass on to him is to sleep more and maybe not have to change his nappy so many times,” he laughed.
And like any new mother or father, the future monarch said he was surprised and amazed by parenthood so far.
“The last few weeks for me have been a very different emotional experience, something I never thought I would feel myself. And I find, again it’s only been a short period, but a lot of things affect me differently now.”