Most unusually, Prince William has dominated the news pages in the UK this week for all the wrong reasons. The second in line to the British throne has been photographed on a skiing holiday and – wait for it – in a nightclub. It is, quite frankly, a storm in a teacup. And one that shows no signs of calming.
The ruckus was triggered because his holiday happened to coincide with the national Commonwealth Day on Monday when the majority of the Royal Family was carrying out official duties to mark the occasion in Westminster Abbey. Most senior members of the monarchy were in attendance, including The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex.
Criticisms have been swirling around since the photographs emerged. ‘Workshy Wills’ has been accused of abandoning his wife, Kate Middleton (she and their two children do not appear to have joined him in Verbier, Switzerland); of causing ’embarrassment’ by seeming to present himself as the ‘worse-for-wear’; of shirking his duties; and of ‘dad-dancing.’
Some of the more extreme news items have even warned that the photographs of the Duke of Cambridge on holiday may ‘fatally’ turn people against the monarchy. But doesn’t this over-egg the pudding somewhat? The British monarchy has survived greater threats than one of its senior members going off on a jolly with some friends. And long may it continue.
Poor Prince William. He does everything by the book. He has never caused a scandal. He went to the 30s shop at the right time and found himself a good wife. He has a son and a daughter and a spaniel. He tirelessly shows up to ‘duties’ that must be desperately dull, carrying out obligations that he can’t really truly want to be involved in, with a nice smile firmly fixed and an admirable ability to hold polite conversation. He’s a pilot with the East Anglia Air Ambulance – a worthy job for the greater good – and donates his entire salary to charity. And yet he constantly has to justify his position.
Only last year, a senior aide reportedly told the British press that ‘the Duke relishes the challenge of being a modern working father and husband, combining his royal and charitable duties with this work as an air ambulance pilot.’
It is a great shame that someone having fun is cause for outrage and judgment. If we all had a bit more of a merry time, we might be generally cheerier and less quick to condemn frivolity as a cardinal sin. Let’s face it, which one of us hasn’t got a bit pissed on holiday when we could have been doing something tiresome elsewhere instead?