A speech by Prince William on becoming a Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple, London


I suppose I could say that I come from an old legal family

Master Treasurer, you have done me a great honour this evening by making me a Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple.

I am aware that my family has had long association with the Inns of Court, but it is a particular pleasure for me to be following in the footsteps of my great grandmother, The Late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother - who served as Treasurer of the Middle Temple in 1949 - and my mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who was called to the Bench of the Middle Temple on 26th October, 1988. I suppose I could say that I come from an old legal family.

I am told that it is customary for a new Bencher to say something about himself. On her Call to the Bench, my mother told you that her husband was in public service and that they had two small boys. Well, I am one of those small boys.

Since then, following school, a gap year in Chile, and Africa, University at St Andrews and a short ‘pupillage’ in the City, I have had the privilege of serving in the Household Cavalry and, as a look-see, as an officer in the Royal Navy. To complete the three-card trick, I am now in the RAF, training to be an operational Search and Rescue pilot.

On the charities side my particular interests lie in trying to do what I can to help the disadvantaged in our society – particularly young people - in overcoming the challenges confronting them, and to realise their potential.

I am also very interested in initiatives aimed at creating sustainable development in the light of climate change. Finally, both my brother, Harry, and I are intent on supporting in any way we can the outstanding men and women of our Armed Forces, especially those injured in the wars that we, as a Nation, send them away to fight.

On a lighter note, I play football, rugby and water polo, but particularly pride myself in being a quite magnificent armchair centre back at football and flanker at rugby…and now you have made me a barrister – I promise not to practice! Except for the odd speeding ticket!

Thank you, Master Treasurer, for inviting me to join the company of this great Inn of Court, with its illustrious history, its excellent continuing support for and training of students, and its promotion of the highest professional standards.

It is a reflection of that history and the continuing vitality of the Inn that Master Reader, who presented me to you for Call to the Bench tonight, is herself the granddaughter of the great Irish advocate, Sergeant Sullivan, who, as Treasurer of the Middle Temple, called my great grandmother to the Bench in December 1944.

On this special evening for me, I very much look forward to furthering my mother’s commitment to Middle Temple.