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Prince William turns 40: How he's celebrating, plus royal family birthday tributes

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 6/21/2022 Angie Orellana Hernandez, USA TODAY

Dozens of cake candles might be lit up at Kensington Palace today as the royal family celebrates Prince William’s 40th birthday.

Social media tributes began to pour in early Tuesday, including from the royal family’s official Twitter, which released various photos of the Duke of Cambridge throughout his life.

The photos were accompanied by facts about William, such as his exact birth time and his earlier service as a search-and-rescue pilot, where he was known as Flight Lieutenant Wales.

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“His Royal Highness now undertakes a number of charitable activities and projects, with a particular focus on the environment, young people and mental health,” the account tweeted.

The Clarence House Instagram account, the official account for William's father, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, posted a slideshow of photos of William and wished him "a very happy 40th birthday!"

In one of the photos, Charles lays his head on his much taller son's shoulder as the two smile brightly. 

William marked his 40th birthday by supporting The Big Issue, a United Kingdom-based street magazine that provides employment opportunities for those experiencing homelessness. It was a nod to his late mother Princess Diana, who championed such humanitarian issues herself.

“I was 11 when I first visited a homeless shelter with my mother, who in her own inimitable style was determined to shine a light on an overlooked, misunderstood problem,” William wrote for the magazine.

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William took to London streets, along Rochester Row, to help sell copies of the issue a few days after Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Accompanied by Dave Martin, a Big Issue vendor, the duke sold 32 issues that afternoon, according to Kensington Palace.

Prince William donned the signature vest of vendors of the magazine The Big Picture, joining other vendors in London selling the publication covering homelessness and poverty in the UK, to call attention to a charity close to his heart and to mark his 40th birthday on June 21, 2022. © Andy Parsons/The Big Issue Prince William donned the signature vest of vendors of the magazine The Big Picture, joining other vendors in London selling the publication covering homelessness and poverty in the UK, to call attention to a charity close to his heart and to mark his 40th birthday on June 21, 2022.

The royal said he hopes to bring his three children — Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, — on future visits to “see the fantastic organizations doing inspiring work to support those most in need,” similar to what Princess Diana had done for him.

“As she instinctively knew, and as I continue to try and highlight, the first step to fixing a problem is for everyone to see it for what it truly is,” Prince William wrote.

William's birthday followed Father's Day in the U.K., when Kensington Palace released a previously unseen picture of the proud dad with his laughing children, taken in August in Jordan, according to the palace.

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Prince William with his three children (from left): Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince George. © Kensington Palace Prince William with his three children (from left): Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince George.

The Cambridges were on a private family holiday in the country where Duchess Kate spent part of her childhood. A similar picture of the five Cambridges was used on the family's 2021 Christmas card. 

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"Wishing a Happy Father’s Day to fathers and grandfathers across the world today!" the official Cambridge Twitter account captioned the photo. 

William entered his fifth decade about six months after his wife, the former Kate Middleton, who turned 40 in January. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Prince William turns 40: How he's celebrating, plus royal family birthday tributes

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