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Prince William is One of Those Scooter People Now


Once the stuff of Silicon Valley dreams and urban nightmares, the conversation around electric scooters feels like a vestige of a bygone era. Given that, the sight of Prince William on one of the reviled devices might feel oddly fitting—or just about right, given the overall kookiness of 2024.

Back in the far simpler times of 2018, electric scooters were known for ruining San Francisco (this is before everything else ruined San Francisco—relax, I live there and am therefore entitled to a little self-mockery) and making some fairly obnoxious-seeming people at least temporarily quite rich.

The jaw-droppingly funded market has since collapsed, with many companies booted from the stock market, bankrupt, or worse. These days, you can still find the devices for rent in tourist-heavy cities and holiday destinations in the U.S. and elsewhere, and occasionally you’ll pass a privately owned one on the road—that is, if you’re in a city that hasn’t banned them from the streets.

In London, for example, the only electric scooters allowed on city streets are owned by rental companies participating in a tightly regulated trial. “It is still illegal to use privately-owned e-scooters or other powered transporters on public roads,” officials say.

All bets are off when the roads you’re scooting on are ones that you and your family own, however. So when Prince William was spotted by a social media user as he zoomed around the grounds of Windsor Castle, you needn’t worry that he was breaking the law: according to regional transit officials, the scooters—which as of late 2023 had “seriously injured” 22 people, per the BBC—are use at your own risk if ridden with a landowner’s permission, as William presumably has.

According to a report in the Sun from last year, William purchased the scooter in 2023 in an effort to make the 10-minute trip from Adelaide Cottage (where William lives with wife Kate Middleton and children Prince Louis, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte) to Windsor Castle less of a trek. The scooter, which reportedly can hit 10 miles per hour, “just makes sense,” an unnamed source told the Sun. “He whizzes up to the castle” when he needs to see his father, King Charles III.

“It’s a two or three-mile round trip from his family home at Adelaide Cottage to Windsor Castle, so it’s easier by scooter than car or walking,” the source reportedly said.

It’s unclear when the William on a scooter video was taken, and it’s equally unknown what make and model of scooter the prince has. What we do know is that Middleton likely prefers a scooter over his previous mode of solo travel, a high-powered motorcycle.

In 2015, the princess told well-wishers that “it always fills me with horror when” William would hop on his beloved bike. “I’m terrified,” she said of his easy-riding habit. Given Middleton’s challenging year, trading a hog for a scooter seems like a kind concession, regardless of the device’s brand or its past role as a hot-button issue.

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