Prince William has defied his father’s wishes and become a regular smoker.
The 19-year-old prince is believed to have stepped up what was an occasional habit during his gap year adventure in South America where he chatted into the night with friends around camp fires.
Prince Charles fiercely disapproves of smoking. He has shunned cigarettes since trying one aged 11 and now prefers people not to light up near him.
The Queen also frowns on tobacco and describes cigarettes as ‘nasty things’.
All of the royals are only too aware of the toll tobacco has taken on Princess Margaret’s health.
After smoking up to 60 a day for most of her adult life, she has suffered a series of strokes.
King George VI, William’s great-grandfather, died of lung cancer after many years as a heavy smoker.
The Prince’s prospective stepmother, Camilla Parker Bowles, gave up on her ten-a-day habit recently after suffering a persistent cough and hay fever.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on William’s habit, saying it was a ‘personal matter’.
But anti-smoking pressure group ASH urged him to kick the habit quickly. Spokesman Amanda Sandford said: ‘The real danger with teenagers is that they think they can just smoke socially and give up later. They don’t realise how addictive it is.
‘We do hope he will not smoke in public because if youngsters see him do that it could influence them to smoke themselves.’
Despite his father’s anti-tobacco stance, William has mixed with at least one heavy smoker in the Royal Household in the past.
Former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke so annoyed Charles with her smoking he would banish her to the roof of St James’s Palace to light up.