Cambridge Confidential – Duke and Duchess Struggling for Normal Life, but Alienating Subjects
Yet, the most dangerous criticism is coming from the public, who are becoming more and more vocal in their anger at what they view as the ducal couple happy enough to go on a state visit at the expense of the British public, but uninterested in connecting with the public through appearances and substantial charity work. These connections are vital and the substance of keeping the monarchy in touch with the common man who pays their bills and maintain the important connection that the monarchy is famous for since the time of the earliest monarchs. As the Duke and Duchess continue to treat the public with cavalier disregard, the public has become borderline abusive in their mockery. The British are famous for their contempt of idle royals and the former Duchess of York (Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson) was a favorite, being subjected to endless satires and endless vicious mockery and Kate has been getting mocked with a variety of nicknames, among them the resurrected “Duchess Doolittle” (a nickname formerly applied to the former Duchess of York) and fears are being resurrected along with the nickname. The worst aspect of this public hostility, it is not just a press campaign conducted by a prejudiced press, but it is coming from the public, sending many courtiers into a paralyzed inability to deal with the overwhelming hostility that increases by the day.
The palace can easily deal with a prejudiced press by following the media friendly tactics that Princess Diana introduced to the courtiers, but a public turning against the ducal couple en masse with the ability to report on every little gaffe via social media is an entirely different matter. It can’t be proven that the Duke and Duchess are working on their charities when they could easily be photographed entering and leaving offices and places where the charities conduct their operations and leaked stories to favored columnists has resulted in a series of mocking posts and derision. With columnists turning against the couple (the result of numerous lawsuits applied against publications and editors during the 2012 French nude scandal) media personalities are joining in on the mockery, when they don’t seem to be actively promoting it. Appearances are considered increasingly useless to stem the tide and pretty much seen as disrupting the usual activities of the natives of the areas that they do visit. Little is accomplished and the public has commented numerous times that recent appearances are mainly a public relations exercise to clean up their images after a scandal or a reaction to a decrease in their formerly flawless popularity and effortlessly attained goodwill.
The idea of a normal life for the ducal couple was initially encouraged, but it has gone from the idea of a year or so off while William complete military work to a vicious cycle of repeated promises (quickly broken) to engage in full time work and appearances, to William frequently finding one reason or another to put off participation in formal royal ceremonial and frequent announcements of newly created ‘transitional years.’ It’s been galling to a public that quickly embraced Kate as they did William at the time of his birth and reviving memories of Kate’s jet setting idle twenties. There is especial resentment directed at the errant Duchess mainly since she’s known to have practically campaigned (rumored in the cahoots with the British press to achieve her goal) and was known to have reportedly been fixated on the (formerly) Most Eligible Bachelor in the World (as William was christened even in early adolescence) at an early age, supposedly going so far as to repeatedly place herself in a strategic position to make sure she met him. Her former idleness would be chalked up easily as youthful enjoyment of life, but her outright refusal to even try to raise the profile and raise funds of her assigned charities has brought back her past, a past that courtiers have worked hard to bury.
William has been (in the eyes of courtiers) systematically squandering his opportunities to learn anything of use and to end up helping the Queen shoulder her responsibilities. He’s living quietly, like a country gentleman of the gentry or aristocracy, when he isn’t going on lavish vacations. Kate has been eagerly taking advantage of the leniency William allows and spends much of her time shopping, beauty treatments, and has only on occasion spent time with her infant son while the nannies tend to the more on-hands drudgery of changing diapers and handling the messy feeding times. She’s done appearances, but they have been almost laughably minimal and the numbers are currently going down more and more. As William allows his wife more leeway to shirk her duties, he has begun to undermine his authority in his own household, which will likely make him look like a future King who will be a weak Sovereign. Courtiers have worked to train him to do more useful things, like training in an agricultural college to learn farming to be able to effectively run the Duchy of Cornwall, but William drifted from that back into a more pleasure loving life.
William’s lack of apparently even trying has ended up causing views among members of the general public to be expressed that he should probably renounce his role in the royal family, leaving the place as Prince of Wales and future King of Britain (and Commonwealth) to his younger brother Prince Harry, who is becoming increasingly admired. Ironically, this proposal has struck terror into the hearts of courtiers and a change to the direct succession would likely traumatize the Queen. If William were to renounce his place, he would likely end up renouncing his relations with his family. Charles has been trying to get his wayward son into line, but with an independent bank account and means to support himself, William isn’t going to be able to be intimidated into doing what he isn’t interested in doing. There is a feeling to tension that the Queen will continue to be burdened with numerous appearances and presiding over banquets and receptions, but it has been causing more fragile health. Ironically the longer she holds on, the more quickly she will become worn down. Charles is trained, but he isn’t going to be able to handle the Prince’s Trust and the demands that will be made on him, along with the expectations he will need to meet.
This level of alienation from the public has been unprecedented and something William hasn’t been able to handle. He is used to having effortless popularity and admiration and it’s beginning to make the prince worried that his unchallenged popularity and easy road to the role of King has ended and he’s going to have to actually work twice as hard, first to regain his popularity, second to catch up to what he (and the courtiers fully agree) should have been able to learn a long time ago. It’s been obvious that William has grossly neglected his training in favor of trying to live ‘normally,’ but it’s obvious that ‘normal’ for William is the life of country squire when at a country estate and the life of a party loving prince when he is in the city. Despite the hopes of his mother, William has in fact oddly become more attached to the aristocracy, with his idea of ‘normal’ at only the single level below the more regal lifestyle he was born into. His idea of normal, through his actions, has become obvious in that he views the aristocratic standard of living (a life of privilege and no high level duties and restrictions) as ‘normal’ and he’s reached a point where he looks like he’s given up on even pretending to be interested in the public and public duties and participating in serious events.