PRINCE William and Kate Middleton now have access to some of the world’s best cars, and are often seen getting in and out of Royal Range Rovers. And while both hold driving licences, neither necessarily have to use them, thanks to servants and chauffeurs who would no doubt drive them wherever they wanted to go.
But the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – one of the most famous couples in the world – are normally photographed driving themselves. And both have had a surprisingly modest automotive past. Thanks to Kate Middleton’s upbringing, the Duchess spent her formative years in much more humdrum cars than the Aston Martins and Bentleys associated with her new royal life. And while Prince William is clearly a “car person”, his automotive interest began with the same humble beginnings as any other British millennial.
Like millions of young people all over Britain, Prince William began his driving career in a Ford Focus. The young prince was photographed at the wheel of a silver Mk1 following a driving lesson on the Highgrove Estate in 1999. The Mk1 Ford Focus was an extremely common car in the UK at this time, and it was in this car that Prince William passed his test aged 17. Clearly a keen driver, Prince William passed his theory test one day after his 17th birthday. And he passed his practical test after around 20 lessons.
Volkswagen Golf Mk3
Prince Charles is thought to have given Prince William a Volkswagen Golf for his 17th birthday. Introduced in 1992, this generation of Golf was already out of production by the time Prince William reached driving age. It’s a sensible first car but not a patch on the Aston Martin DB6 the Queen gave Prince Charles for his 21st. But Prince William hasn’t always been a sensible driver to match. It was in a Golf that Prince William landed himself in trouble while driving “too fast” (allegedly) on land belonging to Earl Bathurst.
Volkswagen Golf Mk4
Kate Middleton bought her 1.4-litre petrol Golf before going to university – many years before she became a Duchess. It was Volkswagen’s replacement for the Mk3, introduced in 1997, though the vehicle registered to “Miss Catherine Middleton” was a 51-plate. Volkswagen stopped selling this car in the UK in 2003.It remains a popular car with students and second-hand buyers on a budget. The 1.4-litre petrol version is a particularly good hatchback and should cost less than £1,000 with reasonable mileage.