Richard Kay at the Daily Mail had a hilariously bad piece a few days ago which was supposed to be a preview of Prince William and Kate’s three-day trip to Boston. It’s become quite clear that the royal reporters want the Waleses to spend more time in America and really try to glam it up and make a lot of noise. The problem is that William and Kate are too dumb, lazy and scared to really do a glitzy tour. William and Kate have already tried to manage expectations, all while royal reporters are piling on more and more pressure to ensure that this isn’t another cock-up like their Caribbean Flop Tour earlier this year. Even Kay seems to be applying pressure, even though I’m sure he’s already written his post-Boston-tour piece about how William & Kate are the new Boston Brahmins. Some highlights:
Their first trip to America since 2014 is so important: In the years since, everything has changed and so much rides on this visit that is vital to the long-term wellbeing of the monarchy. The reason, of course, is because of the polarising presence of the exiled Duke and Duchess of Sussex, whose ‘truth bombs’ from California have done serious damage to the reputation and good name of the House of Windsor. The ordeal has seen brother pitched against brother and has put the royals at their highest state of anxiety since the dark days of the various marriage crises of the 1990s.
Will & Kate’s dry itinerary: While William and his wife will be hoping to unleash the wow factor despite engagements that are a little on the dry side, Harry and Meghan will be milking their attendance as ‘honourees’ at a glitzy money and celebrity-driven awards ceremony.No wonder these twin visits are being likened by a curious American audience to a duel and a battle of philanthropic do-gooding.
The Sussexes and the Ripple of Hope Award. This is not for work to do with Aids, leprosy or the sick and the downtrodden, as Diana’s was — but for calling out ‘structural racism’ within the monarchy. And how did they do that exactly? It was their claim during last year’s Oprah Winfrey interview that an unnamed member of the Royal Family made a remark they construed as racist — wondering what their son Archie would look like when he was born. The late Queen famously responded with her unvarnished observation to the claim that ‘recollections may vary’. A wiser figure than Harry would not just have politely swerved this distinctly unedifying honour but have seen through it as a provocative and contrived gesture.
Harry has tried to claim his mother’s legacy: Harry has frequently invoked the Princess’s name with regard to the frustrations he and Meghan faced, and drawn comparisons between their own unhappiness with royal life and Diana’s. (Although it is worth pointing out that, unlike Harry, Diana, for all her difficulties, did not abandon her country and continued to serve the monarchy.)
Oh, so now they’re admitting that Harry is popular in America? Now, the Prince is venturing onto his brother’s territory, a potential challenger to Harry’s authority as the most popular royal in America….Within royal circles it is being viewed as the most important overseas excursion for years and is designed to put the Windsors on the front foot.
But enough about substance, what about the superficial: The [Waleses’] trip is certainly businesslike and worthy. The question is whether it will deliver the kind of positive headlines that makes for good PR. Many of the details are under wraps but there is talk of a visit to a university campus and to a basketball game, two opportunities for the Prince and Princess to mix with young people.
The star wattage of buttons: William’s greatest asset, of course, is the glamorous Kate, who radiates something of the star-wattage that made Diana such a sensation in the U.S. He and his wife are said to be ‘excited’ about being on American soil after an absence of eight years. It is also their first trip abroad since the death of the Queen and that is expected to play strongly in their favour. ‘They appreciate there will be a lot of interest and they do welcome it,’ says a friend. ‘It is obviously a big moment for them as they adjust to their new roles and titles. William, especially, knows how much America adored his mother and that she was the last Princess of Wales to visit its shores.’
The Sussexes & the Kennedys: Posing for pictures — as they almost certainly will — with members of a family who for years have supported Irish unity and attacked Britain’s policy in Ulster will at best look naive and at worst embarrassing.
The no-glitz Waleses: All the same, there is a view that Kate and William’s low-key visit lacks glitz. Former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, who dined with Diana in New York not long before her death, says: ‘Interest in William and Kate is low boil. I would like to have seen them hit more cities than Boston where sizzle factor is quiescent, to say the least.’ For the monarchy the twin tours represent the sternest of tests. If William and Kate are received positively, then it scarcely matters about the California blowhards Harry and Meghan. Fail and the Windsors’ reputation in America could be fatally undermined.
“Although it is worth pointing out that, unlike Harry, Diana, for all her difficulties, did not abandon her country and continued to serve the monarchy…” Diana literally gave up all of her royal patronages and she was actively searching for a way out of Salt Island when she died under mysterious circumstances. Best not to rewrite that part of the story, Richard Kay. I also think it’s hilarious that Kay is like “how dare the Sussexes accept an award from the Irish-unity supporting Kennedys” whilst simultaneously bragging about how William and Kate will spend time with Caroline Kennedy’s son Jack. It would perhaps shock Kay to realize that the Kennedy family is (gasp) all related? And Kay is SO SALTY about the fact that the Sussexes would simply accept an award! How dare they accept an award! They should spend millions of dollars on themselves to create their own awards scheme!
It’s also just so funny to me that this sad three-day flop tour of Boston is being called “the most important” or “most significant” trip in years, when multiple royals have undertaken many supposedly significant Commonwealth tours? William and Kate were in the Caribbean on a very important Jubbly tour just seven months ago and they fell flat on their racist faces. I guess that tour wasn’t as important or significant as this one though.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid and Cover Images.