The Daily Beast’s Royalist column has yet another preview of Prince William and Kate’s Boston trip. It wasn’t written by Tom Sykes (who is the self-styled “royalist”) – it’s written by Clive Irving, who uses the preview to bitch and moan about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex AND King Charles. Irving presupposes, bizarrely, that William and Kate are truly the modern face of the monarchy and that everything they touch will be golden, unlike Charles, Meghan and Harry. The framing is bizarre, that’s all I’ll say. Anyway, I continue to be fascinated with the preview coverage, so here we go – some highlights:
The Flop Tour: Royal visits abroad became subject to new scrutiny earlier this year when William and Kate made an official royal tour of the Caribbean with consequences that went viral. William was nonplussed and embarrassed when confronted with the record of slavery in Britain’s Caribbean colonies and demands for reparations. This couldn’t simply be blamed on poor briefing by those who initiated the tour: William had one of the best educations of any royal. The fiasco led to renewed calls to follow the example of Barbados and remove British monarchs as the head of state. As a result, the Palace has been at pains to stress that the Boston trip is just that, a trip, and not a royal tour—a spin that unwittingly suggests that some people in the Palace might still feel it necessary to avoid the impression that America remains susceptible to colonial-style glad-handing.
The faces of the modern monarchy: William now arrives as the immediate heir and that, in turn, means that he has been enlisted in his father’s program that promises to “modernize” the monarchy and, since William and Kate are by far the most convincing faces of change, they will bring that role and message to America. The problem is that the more they create the impression of their own relevance—which they will—the more aware we become of the anachronisms of King Charles III. There is, for example, the pose that Charles chose to mark officially becoming the Ranger of Windsor Great Park.
The Keens’ innate glamour: Whether William and Kate, with their innate glamour and clearly serious intent to do good works, can ever really serve as an effective counter to the shallow window-dressing that so far serves as the “reforms” of King Charles III is open to question. But William’s appearance in Boston comes at a time when the new season of the Netflix series The Crown presents him in a deeply sympathetic light, enduring the toxic fallout from his parents’ wreck of a marriage with a stoicism ahead of his years.
Oh so William & Kate do love celebrities after all: The Friday night Earthshot awards ceremony is being billed as William’s “Superbowl moment.” It will open with clips showing the achievements of previous award winners, narrated by the father of all environmental crusaders, David Attenborough, as well Cate Blanchett, Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg. Headline performers include Billie Eilish, Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding and Chloe.x.Halle—a lineup that concentrates celebrity halo effect like no other. That will surely eclipse in production standards and credibility the event in Manhattan four days later when Meghan and Harry receive their Ripple of Hope accolade.
Irving’s complaint about King Charles appointing himself the Park Ranger of Windsor Great Park is… odd. I’m including the image and announcement below. Does it look out-of-touch? Yes. Does it seem hilariously narcissistic that Charles keeps “appointing” himself to all of these fancy positions? Yes. But is Charles’s narcissism and elitism so divergent from that of William and Kate? William and Kate… who have five homes on record, who show up empty-handed to visit refugees? William, whose staff created an awards scheme and spent more than the award grants on his embiggening campaign? William and Kate who disappear for weeks and months at a time with zero events on their schedule?
It’s also so strange to me that there would be a direct comparison between Earthshot and the Ripple of Hope Award as far as “production value.” Like, it’s not a flex to say that William is burning through donor money to produce an “awards show” for environmentalism. It’s also not a flex to point out that William was so desperate for some big, fancy “thing” to compete with his brother – the same brother who is so iconoclastic that he’s being given an award for standing up to racism within the royal family.
The King has officially become Park Ranger of Windsor Great Park, 70 years after his father, The Duke of Edinburgh, was appointed to the post.
The Ranger offers guidance to the Deputy Ranger and his team in the day-to-day stewardship of one of the country’s oldest estates. pic.twitter.com/yNLMwfOLoa
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 14, 2022
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images, Instar and Backgrid.