When We Talks

bitchy | VF: In 2017, there was ‘a sense of frustration’ Prince William wasn’t working more


In recent months, Vanity Fair’s royal coverage has been either bare-bones PR fluff or throwing everything into their royal podcast, which I still haven’t listened to. It feels like it’s been a while since Katie Nicholl did an exclusive for VF, which is weird because she has sources deep within Camp Middleton and the office of Kensington Palace. Well, here we go – Nicholl did a “Prince William at 40” piece in which she tries to convince everyone that the bald sow’s ear is a silk purse. Much of Nicholl’s evidence for why William is important and why William will be a good king is stuff like “he showed up at an event” or “he made a speech.” While I’m used to Duchess Kate being endlessly infantilized, it’s really strange to see a 40-year-old man discussed in similar terms. “He’s such a big boy, he made a speech all by himself!” There were some interesting parts in this VF piece though. Some highlights:

The long-term future of the House of Windsor lies with William: It is a prospect that once weighed heavily on Prince William. When he was a gap year student, he traveled to Chile where, according to someone he was with, he was painfully aware of the burden of his birthright. “We were all sitting round a campfire excitedly discussing our futures,” the friend I spoke with explained. “William said ‘you’re all so lucky. I’ll have to be king one day.’ It seemed like a lot for him to bear.”

William’s kingly foundations: While there is no chance that William will “leapfrog” his father the Prince of Wales, who will succeed Queen Elizabeth, William is preparing for his future reign by laying down the foundations now. As one person who met William while he was recently selling Big Issue magazine remarked, he is “the people’s prince.” Those who know him believe he will be a modern-day monarch, who wants the Royal Family to be relevant and meaningful to everyday people in a fast-changing world.

He only stepped up when he was forced to: In the past, William has admitted to not giving the idea of being king much thought. But recent events, including his brother Prince Harry’s decision to stand down as a working royal, the turmoil caused by the COVID pandemic and the Queen’s ill spate of health have had a direct impact on William. He has had to step up to the plate. And in doing so, he has proved to be a solid and dependable statesman.

Finally becoming a full-time royal at the age of 35: In 2017, he gave up his career as an air ambulance helicopter pilot. It was a position he loved, but the job that really mattered was calling. At the time Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh had just retired and although the Queen was carrying out around 300 engagements a year, and Charles more than double that, there was a growing pressure on William to take on full-time royal duties. “There was talk at the palace that the duke needed to make up his mind whether he wanted to be a pilot or a prince. I think there was a sense of frustration that he was not doing more official engagements,” says one palace insider. William, who can be stubborn, had refused to be pressured into taking on full time royal duties until this point. It was important to him that he and Kate, and their young family were able to enjoy an “ordinary” family life and he loved having a civilian job that had a real impact on people’s lives.

Charles & William make plans together: While neither Charles nor William want to think about the Queen’s demise, the death of Prince Philip in April 2021 has in the words of one former courtier “sharpened the focus on the future.” According to the source, this is something Charles and William speak about on a regular basis. “They are absolutely on the same page, in fact they are closer now than they have ever been,” says a family friend. “They speak almost every day and they have a very loving and genuine connection. They believe in the monarchy, that it has a genuine purpose and that it has a future. They recognize that it has to modernize and that there will be changes in the future when the Queen’s reign comes to a close.”

An apolitical king? “I don’t think he’ll be a political king, but I think he will speak up on the issues that matter to him,” says a former aide.

How he feels about Harry: Of course, there is still his ongoing rift with his estranged brother Harry. There wasn’t a reunion at the recent Jubilee, however, sources close to the princes are hopeful they will one day smooth things over. “My sense would be that it is something that plays on his mind a lot,” says a friend. “The thing is, William knows they are stronger when they have each other in their lives. In time I’m confident that can happen. The hope is one day it will be resolved.”

William plots the next decade of his life: “William and his team are plotting out the next ten years,” says another source. “That’s what is on the long-term agenda at Kensington Palace. William will focus on the environment and homelessness, these are the big issues he wants to push. Selling the Big Issue wasn’t a flash in the pan or a photo opportunity, it is the first stage in a big new initiative. It will be Royal Foundation led and a collaborative model which we’ve seen in the past.” And expect to see the Duke appeal more to the next generation. They will after all be his future subjects one day. “Nothing can be done if you don’t have the young generation on board and he knows that,” adds the source.

[From Vanity Fair]

In many of the William-at-40 pieces, there are mentions of the fact that William didn’t become a full-time working royal until 2017, as if it merely sprang up out of nowhere. 2017 was a busy year – there were significant changes in Buckingham Palace with the ousting of Christopher Geidt, the world was paying attention to Prince Harry and Meghan, Philip retired from public life and William and Kate were being criticized consistently for being lazy a–holes. Keep in mind that Charles and the Queen absolutely wanted William and Kate to be full-time royals for years before then, but then William came up with that scheme to be an air ambulance “co-pilot” in Norfolk. He didn’t even work part-time there, but he did pose for a lot of photos. Funny how none of that is mentioned.

Re: Harry and “William knows they are stronger when they have each other in their lives” – I don’t know, Harry seems happy, free and strong right now. Sounds more like William is just sitting around, seething about Harry constantly.

Re: the apolitical king stuff… that’s also a lie. William is a Tory stooge. All of his handlers and top advisors are right-wing political operatives. William doesn’t even realize that he’s being “managed” by one political party and how short-sighted that is for his royal future.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.


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