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This prince eyes the New World

London, May 4 (PTI): Britain’s Prince William wants to live in America, preferably in New York after completing his university in Scotland.

William, who will turn 21 next month, wants either to take a post-graduate degree at an American college or a job with a US art auction house or gallery.

He believes he will have more chance of leading a normal life in America — the country his mother Princess Diana adored.

Princess Diana loved the US so much at one time she even talked of moving there — and her constant praise of the country while William was growing up had a profound influence on him, media reports said today.

William who will finish his St Andrews course in the summer of 2005, is also said to have been influenced by chats with one of his cousins, Lady Gabriella Windsor.

Gabriella, daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, is already studying in America — and is said to love the lifestyle there.

But William’s main reason for wanting to go to America is that he feels he stands more of a chance of preserving his anonymity there.

Only yesterday, he faced fresh intrusion when one of his flatmates, fellow St Andrews student Kate Middleton, 20, was reported to be his current girlfriend. The claim was quickly denied by her parents.

“I spoke to Kate just a few days ago and can categorically confirm that they are no more than just good friends,” said her father, company director, Michael Middleton, at the family’s £500,000-mansion near Newbury, Berks.

William has had several casual girlfriends, some of whom have been invited to spend weekends at the Balmoral royal estate in Scotland.

When he reaches 21 in six weeks’ time, he will be able to draw on a £2 million trust fund set up for him by the Queen Mother. Through astute investment, this is now at £3 million. Then, at 25, William will get another £22-million trust.

According to a report in the Sunday Mirror today, Prince William said he would enjoy a “free and easier” lifestyle in America, away from the royal spotlight in Britain.

Such a move was described as unprecedented by constitutional experts. A courtier said: “William is determined to maintain a degree of anonymity and feels America offers him the best chance of that.”

“At the moment it is under discussions, with New York as the option he prefers. It would be to work in a gallery, auction house or even to take a post-graduate degree. Various options are being discussed. It would be for a year or perhaps two.”

“He has loved the peace and freedom that St Andrews university has brought him away from the London spotlight. Like his mother, he wants his independence — and is convinced the US will offer him that.”

Traditionally, the royal princes join the armed forces immediately after leaving school or university. Prince Harry has already said he wants to join the army.

During discussions with Prince Charles and aides at St. James’ palace, William is said to have been “forthright” in his determination to go to America.

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