What it means to be the Prince and Princess of Wales in 2022 – WWD

LONDON – When Kate Middleton and Prince William stood shoulder to shoulder with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry greet the mourning crowds The death of Queen Elizabeth II last month they sent a crystal clear message about what kind of royals they want to be.

Prince Williamfirst to the throne and with the new title of Prince of Wales, put aside his high-profile differences with his brother and sister-in-law in the name of duty and respect for the late monarch.

A few weeks later, he made it known that he did not want an official investiture ceremony as Prince of Wales like the grand one his father had in 1969. Instead, he said that he wanted to earn the trust and respect of the people of Wales. .

On September 27, the royal couple made their first official Welsh visit with their new titles. They visited Anglesey, an island in Wales, where they resided between 2010 and 2013 when William was a helicopter pilot for the RAF. The mood was informal and optimistic, marking the end of the period of royal mourning.

The millennial Prince and Princess of Wales made it clear from the start that they wanted to be modern royals, connected to their subjects and to the issues of the day. They want to be seen as compassionate changemakers, advocates for UK charities and people and strong parents to their three children.

They are miles away from the generation of their parents and the former Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana. They also serve at a time when the idea of ​​royalty seems outdated to many and some members of the British Commonwealth are eager to part ways.

The couple – like William’s father, King Charles III – must modernize the monarchy in real time, out of a sense of duty and respect for their ancestors and because they need the institution to survive.

According to a survey by British Social Attitudes, 14% of under-35s believe the monarchy is not very important, compared to 44% of those aged 55 and over who believe it was essential to the country.

But preserving the crown is a difficult task.

Over the past four decades, the monarchy has undergone major changes – before the 1980s, society was a dusty establishment with no real zhuzh. Their image was so old-fashioned that they agreed to a television documentary in 1969, letting the cameras into their daily life and breaking the so-called fourth wall.

The famous English presenter David Attenborough, who then controlled the BBC 2 channel, insinuated that the film could have killed the monarchy because “the whole institution depends on a mystic and the tribal chief in his hut. If ever a tribesman sees inside the hut, then the whole system of tribal chieftaincy is damaged and the tribe eventually disintegrates.

Queen Elizabeth got the message: later, she had the documentary banned. It has not been shown on UK television since 1997.

Every once in a while, a big royal wedding signals the start of a new era for the monarchy. (Photo by David Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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When the 80s rolled around, the royal family’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Charles, found a wife in the young Diana Spencerwho gave the family a glamorous boost and kept them in tabloid headlines with her marriage woes, her split from Charles and her life as a divorcee.

By the time of Diana’s death, the life of the royal family had become a British soap opera and the future of the monarchy was once again in jeopardy. Many Diana supporters have questioned whether Charles should even be king and have lambasted his behavior and his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.

But William and Middleton, who married in 2011, represented a fresh start, a happily married couple who would do things differently and try not to repeat past mistakes.

It hasn’t been easy for William in particular.

He is fiercely loyal to the Firm, in public and in private. Her marriage is a united front; his philanthropic causes are aligned with those of Middleton; and he has been vocal when it comes to defending the institution in which he was raised.

But the family can’t seem to escape one misstep after another. There was Prince Andrew’s outrageous involvement with sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein that tarnished the entire monarchy. Then there was the marriage of William’s brother Harry to Markle, which brought Hollywood glitz to the monarchy, but the couple, with Markle’s star power and obvious desire to be royal players, threatened to eclipse the heir to the throne. Harry and Markle’s public feud with the family only made matters worse.

In 2021, William publicly responded to his brother and Markle’s claim about racism within the Royal Family by saying, “We really aren’t a racist family” during a visit to a school in India. east of London.

LONDON, UK - JUNE 05: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER DATE AND TIME OF CREATION) Prince George of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince Louis of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the Platinum Pageant on June 5, 2022 in London, England.  The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is celebrated June 2-5, 2022 in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession on February 6, 1952. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo /Getty Images)

Prince William and Kate Middleton on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with their children. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

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The royal couple are confident in their priorities: the environment, mental health awareness, education, art, history and photography. It’s clear to them that just being royal by association is no longer enough, especially for the younger generation growing up with them.

There is no rule or pattern to follow. There’s Great Britain as a country at your fingertips, as well as the Commonwealth, which occasionally challenges the monarchy. For example, in November 2021, Barbados voted to remove the Queen as head of state.

GREAT ABACO, BAHAMAS - MARCH 26: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Abaco on March 26, 2022 in Great Abaco, Bahamas.  Abaco was dramatically hit by Hurricane Dorian which saw winds of up to 185 mph and left devastation in its wake.  Their Royal Highnesses learn about the impact of the hurricane and see how communities are still being rebuilt more than two years later.  (Photo by Samir Hussein - Pool/WireImage)

William and Kate visiting Great Abaco in the Bahamas. (Photo by Samir Hussein – Pool/WireImage)

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During William and Middleton’s Caribbean tour, the strategy was to curry favor with the region; instead, they were met with anti-colonial protests, which forced the couple to cancel their first official event in Belize, while in Jamaica, leaders prevented them from visiting the island.

An open letter supported by 100 leading figures in the country to William and Middleton read: ‘During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother did nothing to atone and atone for the suffering of our ancestors during the entire period of the British slave trade of Africans, slavery, enlistment and colonization.

LONDON - NOVEMBER 16: Prince William and Kate Middleton arrive to pose for photos at St James's Palace State Apartments on November 16, 2010 in London, England.  After much speculation, Clarence House today announced Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton.  The couple will marry in the spring or summer of next year and continue to live in North Wales while Prince William works as a sea rescue pilot for the RAF.  The couple got engaged on a recent vacation in Kenya after being together for eight years.  (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Prince William and Kate Middleton announcing their engagement in November 2010. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)


The couple responded with a diplomatic statement on their return to the UK: “For us, it doesn’t tell people what to do. It’s about serving and supporting them in the way they see fit, using the platform we’re blessed to have,” he said.

Although the couple model themselves on the queen, it can only go so far. The old adage ‘never complain, never explain’ is not one that works for today’s royals.

Keeping quiet in the era of using and seeking your voice can mark them as accomplices. In their new roles, William and Middleton seek to amplify their voices rather than stifle them. They have embraced their social media channels to relay their messages and the causes they care about.

In 2021, Middleton honored Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman who was murdered, by writing her family a heartfelt letter and attending her off-duty wake, a gesture of great compassion her late mother-in-law gave. often shown to the public.

Lord William Hague, chairman of the couple’s charity The Royal Foundation, told Sky News: “Certainly in the Royal Foundation we are not changing our tune, you know. On the contrary, we are stepping up a gear with a well-established tone about how to help solve some of society’s deepest issues that we need to bring people together to work on.

He added that although the royal family is apolitical, it is “quite fair for a royal family that is engaged in the world and wants to help people and serve people to engage with”.

The era of Elizabeth II is over, with its ups and downs. What will happen will be different from what history has witnessed.

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