William’s Way

My lasting memory of Princess Diana is that she showed us all a new way to be royal.

It now seems her elder son Prince William is taking that lesson a little further.

The way William Wales is planning his married life is distinctly different from the cosseted existence his relatives lead.

We’re told he and his wife would prefer donations to charity rather than wedding gifts. They will live in a modest farmhouse with no help to do the housework and continue to stock up with groceries at their local Tesco supermarket in Holyhead.

While Kate cooks and cleans, he will continue his day job as a helicopter pilot for RAF Valley’s Search and Rescue unit.

It all sounds reassuringly normal, proof that despite his position as second-in-line to the throne William is really grounded with a large helping of his mother’s common touch.

I remember how surprised we reporters were last January when William turned up in New Zealand and wore the same open-necked blue shirt and brown cords every day. He was still wearing them two days later in Sydney (unless he packed a few identical outfits). He didn’t seem bothered about smart clothes, which annoyed the photographers a bit because he looked the same in every picture.

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On other casual jobs I have seen him wearing rather boring jumpers and jeans. Or to put it more kindly, William is not flash. He may have a few millions in the bank inherited from his mother but you would never guess it when you see him off duty.

Most Princes are far more regal. Take the Prince of Wales, for instance. He is always immaculately turned out in expensive suits, shirts and jackets from Jermyn Street and Savile Row. He lives like a Renaissance prince with, some say, more personal staff than the Queen.

Of course, William does look like a proper prince on the rare occasions when he wears his Household Cavalry dress uniform or his RAF blues, especially with his Garter sash and star.

But it’s doubtful that he and Kate will be able to retain their low-key lifestyle once they take up royal duties full time. They will need a butler to answer the phone and the doorbell, a chef when they entertain, as well as housemaids to do the chores because they will be out all day on official engagements.

But I suspect William’s preference for a very ordinary life hints that he may wish to bring about a quiet revolution at court when he is king.

I don’t mean he and his wife will travel around by tube but he may send his children to state schools and sharply reduce the cost of the monarchy wherever he can.

One report published last weekend suggested he would like to move back into Apartments 8 and 9 at Kensington Palace, where he lived until 1997 with his mother. Her bright and airy old home surrounded by parkland would be a better place to bring up a family than the dark warren of rooms known as St.James’s Palace.

Diana’s greatest achievement was to bring the monarchy much closer to the people. Could it be that her son is taking up the work she left unfinished?

16 comments

  1. If William wanted to bring the monarchy closer to the people then Kate wouldn’t stay at home and cook and clean. She’d be able to have a job doing something that interested her

  2. I was aged eight when Prince William was born. We were all assembled in the school hall to be told the news and to celebrate the birth. Our headmaster announced to us that ‘a very special baby boy’ had been born in London. He was a Prince and one day, when we were all grown up, he was going to be our King. He explained to us that this particular baby boy was different because he had been born Royal – this meant that God had Chosen him to rule over us.
    As children we were sort of mystified and fascinated by this idea we had a Prince. So much so you could hear a pin drop. I remember wanting to know why there was a Prince and what it was about him that made him so special. I just could not understand why all the grown-ups wanted us to celebrate his birth. It was all just deeply puzzling and mysterious. At one level it seemed quite irrational and illogical. At another, more deeper level, it somehow made sense.
    At the end of the afternoon our headmaster said we were all going to sing God Save The Queen. I was a bit hesitant at first but soon stood to attention when I realised I was the only one left sitting. As I sang I was just overwhelmed with these feelings. Feelings of patriotism, of loyalty, and of my duty. In so doing, I realised that I was a monarchist too.

  3. I think you are exactly right.
    William is an exemplary young man and has chosen his bride very wisely – not just for himself but for the role she will need to fulfill.
    All the younger generation of royals seem to be very self-possessed, down-to-earth, decent, and worthy. I take great delight in seeing them in action – and the more I see and read – especially about William and Harry – the more I like and admire them.

  4. No color person

    He is real, and that is a good sign. It is so seldom that you see a royal interacting and behaving like ordinary folks. Way to go, Will or Bill. He will end up being the most popular monarch since monarchy begins.

  5. i really hope he does!!

  6. State schools? Both visited public schools (Eton and Marlborough), remember? Perhaps they will want the same good education for their children???

  7. With all the terrorists and paparrazis around the ywill never be able to send their children to a state school or live the normal life I am sure both want.
    pity….

  8. Laura Alexsis

    It’s interesting that they want to live a very normal life after they are married. Good idea, it will probably make their marriage work forever. Good luck to them, I think they are wonderful….

  9. I have been following Williams life ever since the say he was born, how wonderful to read , and I agree that he is so grounded and very much like his Mother. Oh, he and Kate will have the “extras” that is very much deserved to them, but how wonderful to read that he isn’t so much like the “stuffed shirted Charles”.. where even a butler squeezes the toothpaste for him,.. give me a break.
    I will be celebrating this wonderful celebration April 29th,.. as everyone else will be glued to the TV,..
    I’m just sorry that I didn’t get an invitation,.. I don’t think William knew I moved back to Australia : )

  10. Rhona Blackwell-Ready

    This article makes me want to cry. I am so very glad that Prince William is doing things the way he wants and not letting others do it for him. He will make an excellent King and everyone will love him as much as they did his mother, if not more so. It truly warms my heart!

  11. Brilliant!

  12. This article is a bit silly. What would you expect William to dress like when he is off duty? Of course he wears clothes any normal person of his age would. They are not boring clothes, they are just normal clothes. As for comparing him to his father, a ‘normal’ prince (?) that is just ridicule! I am not a prince and I never wear similar clothes to my Dad’s! Who would?! Doh…

  13. Its nice that William is at ease with the people as long as he dosnt go too far. I speak as a monarchist when I say…..if they become too informal and “like us” people will say what the point of having them? Remember please, your Royal Highness, being royal means…..BEING ROYAL.

  14. Luis v. Wetzler JD

    Prince William is a very natural and spontaneous guy. I met him in Chile, when he was a young boy and went to work with very poor people in southern Chile. He had always showed his class and wonderful manners and what is much more important, his real concern about others. I am sure that he will make a unique King of England, when his time comes. I am sure that Miss Middleton will help him in everything; she is indeed a very smart young woman. I wish them well and all happiness that they deserve.

  15. Yes, Wlliam has done just that. I believe he will bring positive changes when his turn comes around. His mother did an excellent job preparing him for the changing world. On his visits to New Zealand he truly touched my heart by his responses to the people. He showed them that he really cared about their troubles and he won over a lot of people by his actions. Probably some that may be negative toward the Monarchy. Princes William and Harry have turned out so very, very, well and that goes to both of their parents.

  16. He showed them that he really cared about their troubles and he won over a lot of people by his actions. Probably some that may be negative toward the Monarchy. Princes William and Harry have turned out so very, very, well and that goes to both of their parents.

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