There was once a time when Princes William and Harry could do no wrong. They were the media’s darlings that just kept on giving. Tragically motherless and stoic beyond their years, they dated likeable ‘normal’ ladies and trained to serve the country on the front lines. They could once do no wrong but recently the Wills/Harry headline factory has taken a bitter turn.
Tabloids now say that Prince William isn’t pulling his weight, deeming him “Workshy Wills”. This turnabout comes after The Sun published a tally for each Royal’s workload between January 1 and March 13 2017. Anne came out top with 44 royal assignments, the Queen (despite ill health) managed 24, while William attended just 13. Even Camilla, previously dubbed “Duchess Dolittle” and called “the laziest woman in Britain” by the PR man meant to mend her image, attended 19.
This paltry number would have raised questions about royal obligations regardless but it was quickly followed by photos of Prince William partying on holiday as his family attended Commonwealth Day services. The media have been split on what to condemn first — his dad dancing or his total disinterest in his responsibilities.
From Favourite to Foe
So where has this media about-face come from? Papers have gone from multiple-page commemorative pull-outs for everything he does to damning his sense of duty. It’s worlds away from their sycophantic coverage of the 2012 Jubilee.
Royal Biographer Robert Lacey believes that it’s not just newspapers being fickle. There’s a growing, underlying antipathy between the newest set of Royals and the media. William and Harry are said to blame the paparazzi — and by extension all press — for their mother’s death and will do all they can to avoid encouraging and supporting the media that left them motherless.
The press haven’t exactly made friends with the family. Publishing photos of Kate sunbathing topless in a private compound was just the tip of a ship-sinking iceberg. But are they really giving Wills what for just because he prefers to bypass the press?
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced their decision to become full-time royals in January 2017, less than two months before “Workshy Wills” made front page. William stated he would cease working as a rescue pilot and focus full-time on royal duties. His pitiful 13 events don’t exactly endorse this new decision. For a man that only works 80 hours a month for the East Anglia Air Ambulance, “full-time” seems a foreign concept.
It’s no secret that many believe we should get rid of the Royal Family. They’re seen as skivers and financial drains and let’s face it, modernity and Royalty are hard to mix. The Duchess of Cambridge breathed life into an unsteady aristocracy but she’s been fully subsumed into the monarchy machine. On the other hand, Harry and William have been desperate to prove themselves in the real world for years. They have (part-time) jobs, go partying, marry commoners and make announcements on Twitter. Unfortunately their social lives are more in touch with modern expectations than their work ethic.
Keeping up with the Cambridges
The more our young Royals try to take control of their own media, the more our press will become sidelined and spiteful. Already there are significant changes in the relationship between the two. Kate prefers to release her own photos of her children, rather than encourage professional shoots and publications. The Cambridges are trying their best to change the journalistic rules on Royal Family privacy while Harry has demanded the press leave his actress girlfriend alone. Her publicist might wish otherwise.
However they may see newspapers — as murderers pushing and pursuing Diana to her death — William, Harry and Kate have overlooked one vital thing: the Royal Family needs them. Without Royalist papers like The Sun and Daily Mail to uphold their untouchable status with the people, their popularity will plummet. Twitter can’t organise Jubilee parties and rouse Royal support like newspapers can.
It has always been an unstable symbiosis full of back-stabbing and bitchiness, but a necessary one for the Royal Family’s future. William and Harry have been wanting to go to war from day one — this is one battle they can’t shy away from if they want to survive.
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