English: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, on his first royal tour after his marriage, visiting Ottawa for Canada Day celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Cambridges: Full-Time Royals Or Not?
On last week’s RoyaltyNow! radio show, I discussed whether or not the Duke of Cambridge could fulfill two roles at once. Can he be both an Air Ambulance pilot AND Prince? He seems to think so.
According to CNN’s Max Foster, the Palace says that Prince William’s job with the air ambulance will be his “primary occupation” but he will also take time to perform royal duties and charitable work. That’s quite a schedule! Prince Harry is a soldier as well as a royal, so Prince William should be able to manage pilot duties in between royal duties. Right?
Let’s take a look.
Prince Harry has been pegged as an insouciant wild child, but there’s no denying his work ethic. He has been overseas in the military serving Queen and country in horrible conditions. His patronages include helping people in need, whether it’s after a natural disaster or the children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Lesotho, Africa.
Although he has a full-time career in the military as an Apache helicopter pilot, Harry still acts in his capacity as a prince representing the Queen. He carries out engagements and travels overseas as part of his royal duties.
This should all bode well for William. Some people say that by joining the air ambulance service, William is expanding the royal role. That the prince is helping people in need, much like Harry, and that he should be able to have this career without criticism.
Not only will he be helping people in need, the prince is giving his salary to charity. Good thing, since this civilian air ambulance he’ll be flying is run by a charity and probably needs the funds to keep running effectively.
It just seems so weird to me. I can’t shake it. Harry’s life makes so much more sense. I’m sorry, but I am just confused by the Cambridges.
First the Cambridges renovate Kensington Palace to the tune of millions of pounds, now they’re not even going to be there. Or if they are, it’s only for a brief stopover to perform a royal duty or two while in London. Most of the time they will be at their country home, Anmer Hall, for William’s new job. So why all the dollars thrown at Kensington Palace right now? It seems so unnecessary at the moment.
Then the job itself. It’s not an ordinary pilot job, it’s an emergency service. Whereas Harry’s schedule is EITHER in the military OR acting as a royal, William’s new job sounds like he will be called upon in – you guessed it – an emergency.
For example, the Cambridges are in London for a Tusk Trust gala. Will the prince zoom back to pilot an air ambulance for an emergency? If he has made it clear that that particular day is for royal duties, who fills in? Does the service have to hire a whole new person to cover for William, or is someone going to pull a double shift? Either way, it sounds costly and/or inconvenient for the air ambulance. It’s an odd set-up, to say the least.
The Age Gap
Then there’s the age gap. I love Charles and Camilla, but they are at the age where most people think about retiring (or already have done). That’s not to say that they can’t do their jobs. I realized a long time ago that British royals don’t do retirement, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh being prime examples. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number to them, but at some point, both couples will need younger back-ups for those long-haul tours and extensive engagements. As much as we want them to be superhuman, that’s just not the case.
Those closest to the throne will need to step it up. That’s Prince William, Duchess Kate, and Prince Harry.
Yes, there are other members of the family to help the Queen, but William is second in line. His lack of understanding of an institution that is based on precedence is worrying. It’s willful, and that’s distressing.
Stay tuned for more.