Friday, December 16, 2016
Will they ever step up?
For the record, I do not dislike the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. What I do not like is the fact that the Duke, second in line to the throne, and his wife, still do not see their royal role as full time jobs.
In the last few years, several of Britain's royal correspondents, namely Emily Andrews (The Sun) and Richard Palmer (Daily Express) have reported that the Duke and Duchess will not be releasing to the media their Christmas card and they will be snubbing the Royal Family (the Queen) on Christmas Day.
It is not mandatory for a member of the Royal Family to release their Christmas card to the press. It is something that many royals, British and European, do each year. Lovely new photographs. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall's 2016 Christmas card features a photo taken in Croatia.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will not be joining the Queen and other members of the Royal Family on Christmas Day. They have chosen to spend the day with Catherine's family at the Middletons' family home in Berkshire.
No one is saying that Catherine should be denied the pleasure of spending the holidays with her family. But ... and this is a big but ... they could change their plans and have a second Christmas on Boxing Day. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first duty should be with the Queen at Sandringham. This should be a no brainer. It is about responsibility to one's family, one's heritage, and respect for the monarchy. If William cannot show respect for this institution, then perhaps, then why should the general public -- the taxpayers who fund a large percentage of the institution.
[Update: The Sunday Express' royal correspondent, Camilla Tominey, broke the story that the Cambridges have also opted out of the Duke of Edinburgh's Boxing Day shooting party. Instead, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with the duchess' parents and siblings, Michael and Carole Middleton, Pippa and James Middleton, and Pippa's fiance, James Matthews, will be attending a schoot at the Yattendon Estate at Thatcham, in Berkshire, close to the Middletons' home. This means Prince George and Princess Charlotte will not have the opportunity to spend time with their paternal grandfather or their paternal great-grandparents, who are in their 90s. George and Charlotte spend more time with their maternal grandparents, who are frequent visitors to Anmer Hall, then with their maternal grandfather, the Prince of Wales. It has been reported - but not verified - that the Prince of Wales has lamented about not being able to see his grandchildren. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh enjoy having multi-generations attend the Christmas celebration. The holiday is also a good time for the queen's children and grandchildren to enjoy quality with the Queen and her husband. In the not-too-distant future, the Queen and Prince Philip will no longer be alive. Yes, this is a morbid, but realistic statement.
I can only assume that the Queen would prefer the Cambridges to join family at Sandringham. She is not a dictator. Rather, she is selfless, and more likely to say yes, even though she would prefer otherwise. It is sad that the Duke does not want to his children spend some time, and make memories, with 'Gan Gan.' It is possible that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will spend time with the Queen at Sandringham. She will be in residence until early February. ]
In all fairness, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have built up large portfolios of patronages and charities that they support in a myriad of ways. Charles and Camilla were married in 2005. Eleven and a half years later, the Duchess is involved with 136 charities and patronages. The Duchess of Cambridge, a royal since April 2011, has 12 patronages. Twelve! William's load: 33. I don't want to tell you how many his father has .. and his father has never eschewed his royal role.
Here is the link to the British monarchy's charity and patronage database:
I have been wanting to give the Cambridges the benefit of doubt since their wedding, when William decided not to release a photo of the signed register. I thought this was wrong. Every British royal bride or groom has allowed the signed register (most of the signings take place at the reception) since the 1920s. The register is the record of the marriage, and a historical commentary of who signed the register -- and how the bride or groom was styled. When the then Princess Elizabeth was married in 1947, she was listed on the register as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor. The surname Mountbatten-Windsor was first used in 1973 when Princess Anne married Mark Phillips. She was listed as Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise Mountbatten-Windsor. The double-barreled surname was also used by Princes Andrew and Edward on the official registers. Charles did not use a surname (although his birth registration includes Windsor), but we do not know if William used Windsor (the surname for his birth registration) or Mountbatten-Windsor or no surname.
Can some explain why the Duke of Cambridge would want to hide the official registration? I cannot think of one good reason for this decision. Fast forward to 2016. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been married for five and a half years. Two adorable children (well, they were adorable when we last saw them in September in Canada.) Two homes, again largely funded by others, a few holidays here and there, but far too little day-to-day royal duties.
Yes, William has been working part time as an ambulance pilot, but why? He donates his salary to charity, but there must be another father who could use the job. William's priorities should be his family, which is far more than the wife and kids. His family includes his country and the Commonwealth, and the duke and duchess must become more pro-active in the next year.
This means stepping up, and taking on more patronages and charities.
There was certainly a lot of fuss about Catherine not handing the shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day. I defended her, by pointing out that a female royal has not presented the shamrocks to the Irish Guard since 1901. I provided a year by year list (meticulous research) of the presenters from 1902 to present day.
The Duke of Cambridge is the first royal colonel of the Irish Guards, and it made sense for the royal colonel to present the shamrocks.
The Cambridges prefer their country life at Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate to the newly renovated apartment at Kensington Palace. There are reports and sightings of the couple having dinner at a local restaurant or Catherine taking the kids to a Zoo or a children's Christmas production. Fine. Parents, royal or other commoners, should do things with their kids. This does not preclude a full time career.
There are millions of working mothers who scramble to find day care to care for their kids. The Duchess of Cambridge has a full time nanny for George and Charlotte. Yes, she has private meetings with her few organizations and private visits to prisons with no real press coverage. But ... and this is a BIG BUT ... the Duchess of Cambridge can be a hands on mom even if she adds several dozen patronages to her schedule, and does engagements for three days a week. Every week (except when the royals have their official breaks.)
The Duke of Cambridge has proved himself adept at knighting people on behalf of his grandmother. Yea. Stepping in for granny is good, but he needs his own royal responsibilities.
William and Catherine will celebrate their 35th birthdays in 2017. Most people have been working in their careers for at least a decade already. The Duke will have no constitutional role until his father is the sovereign, and he moves into the position as heir apparent. His lack of a royal work ethic (there, I have said it) will make it more difficult for the older William to take on more, having been accustomed to his years of part time royal work.
I want to have faith in this couple. They are the future of the monarchy, and they and Prince Harry (and his future wife) will remain the only members of their generation to represent the royal family.
Their advisers and press staff need to be changed. They don't need American PR gurus to offer a few bones to the media and the vox populi. They need a Lord Stamfordham or a Sir Alan Lascelles or a Sir William Heseltime to run the offices. They do not need Yes, Royal Highness, every day. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge need to hear No more often, with recommendations of "I think you should begin to do this," or "Sir, it is time to stop rescuing others. You need to concentrate on rescuing your reputation as a royal slouch, unwilling to take on the mantle of your royal role.
Yea, I know, William has little choice. He wants to live a normal life with his wife and kids. William was and will never be normal. He attended the most posh of private schools. He has personal protection officers. He never needs to worry if he has enough in his bank account to cover the credit card bill.
When Catherine gave a positive response to William's proposal, she was saying yes, not only to a marriage with the man she loves, but also giving her assent to joining the Royal Family. This means a bit of sacrifice on the part of the newbie. It means taking on a public life of duty and responsibility, producing heirs (check that box) and accepting that there are times when the Sovereign comes first -- and that includes Christmas and other royal events.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge must come out of shadows. They -- and their children -- need to be seen doing more engagements. Contact the Crown Princess of Sweden to see how she and Prince Daniel have introduced their two children, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, to royal life. Four-year-old Princess Estelle has been included in royal engagements for most of her young life. The Swedish royal house has a liberal view of releasing photographs and videos of the royal grandchildren.