Prince William is to serve an “apprenticeship” in being king.

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The young royal – who is third in line to the throne – will undergo a two-year training programme when he leaves the armed forces in the next year.

The prince is expected to increase the amount of charity work he does and take on a position in the civil service as he becomes a full-time royal.

His lessons in the ‘art of kingship’ will include working in different Whitehall departments to get a better idea of how government works, private instruction from constitutional experts, and briefings by privy councillors including former prime minister Sir John Major.

William is reportedly determined to learn the skills necessary to be a hands-on estate manager like his grandfather Prince Philip, who runs the Sandringham estate in Norfolk and is Ranger of Windsor Great Park.

The prince will also be expected to undertake solo foreign tours and study the management of the Duchy of Cornwall – the landed trust he will inherit from his father Prince Charles when he becomes king.

A senior royal aide told the News of the World: “You could say he’ll be the first person to ever get an apprenticeship in kingship.

“For the first time we have an established monarch, an active and experienced heir to the throne and in Prince William and Prince Harry real youth appeal

“The Prince Of Wales has had a long time to prepare for what will probably be a relatively short reign. Prince William has effectively got to get to grips with the job very quickly.

“It is a very different world to when the queen ascended the throne and she wants him to be prepared for what is to come. William too wants to make sure he is ready for any challenge thrown at him.”