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A Deadly Tempest In A Tea Pot: The Recent Royal Media War

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

There has been quite the negative hoopla lately surrounding the royals. The headlines have been pretty intense, from declaring the public love affair with the Duchess to be at an end, to tolling the death knell on the monarchy thanks to William's lazy shenanigans.  The majority of these negative headlines are fabricated by the media. The impression of widespread anger and discontent is at best a misrepresentation of a (far smaller) ordinary ebb and flow of public interest. At the same time, the media has not been treated as well as they should be, either by the Palace, or by many well-meaning, but misguided fans. This rift is caused by an increasing hostility between the Press and the Palace that could permanently damage both parties. The sooner they kiss and make up, the better.



To begin with, I saw a piece on E! the other day that confidently stated this tempest in a teapot was William and Kate's first scandal. Proof of the complete craziness that this has become. The Duke and Duchess have been through a number of crises and the claim that they don't work enough is as old as their relationship. Does anyone remember the days of "Waity Katie?" William has been the subject of numerous articles questioning his commitment to his royal status for years..and years!  Nothing new under the sun, but my gosh, E!, isn't there some mandatory attention span/retention level required in this business?



This particular media storm began with a piece in The Sun by Emily Andrews. Among other things, Emily wrote that Prince William doesn't work all that much at his job with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, which was...interesting. At least I thought it was interesting. She is a journalist, Prince William is news, and--assuming her sources are valid--it is an interesting article. There are a few problems here, though. The first is that much of today's news is simply rehashed from others, so Emily's article sparked a rash of news sources writing up headlines about lazy William, and that spread to lazy Kate (we'll get there in just a second), and the headlines kept running, and the Palace tried to make some half-weird statement to mitigate the damage, which was a wasted effort, and as the news headlines continued to generate they fed off of each other and suddenly E! Online was screeching hysterically about this fresh, and as yet never before seen, crisis in the monarchy and announcing that everyone loathes William and Kate, and in the midst of all this, we are all sitting here scratching our heads as Eponine London's website literally crashes after Kate wore one of their pieces and half the world lurches after her fashion wake. Was that too long of a sentence? But I mean really. The headlines just aren't commensurate with reality at this point!



The point I am sarcastically, and perhaps ineptly, trying to make is that there is no massive public backlash. The majority of the public is not obsessed with how many hours a week William or Kate works. Deep down, you either are a royal fan and you enjoy the tradition, the fashion, the people-watching, what have you, or you aren't really a fan of the monarchy. There is a subset of people who closely follow the monarchy and yet are very critical. I can't say I have ever been able to understand the psyche there, but you know it takes all kinds to make a world.


Keep in mind that there is, as mentioned earlier, an ebb and flow in general public interest. Most women know who Kate Middleton is and many emulate her style and admire her from a distance. Only a subset of those women are the dedicated followers we have here. Although I don't miss even the most insignificant pap shot, many women who count themselves fans couldn't list for you every event Kate has done in a single month. Those sorts of fans come and go as time and interest allow. Just because Kate isn't front cover every week, doesn't mean people are having a negative reaction to Kate. They are busy doing other things, and they will circle back around.

The Duchess predictably came under fire not long after her husband did. Her engagements were tallied and the Mail ran a piece itemizing the cost of her work-out ensemble while shopping in London. It was too tedious to address. I don't know I can muster the energy even now. Kate can afford $300 track pants. If that still bothers you, hang up your royal-watching hat. This angle is mean, not in the unkind definition, but in the sense of smallness of spirit. I feel like we are back on the playground in middle school. It's a cheap and ugly ploy that attempts to foment discontent via the "us v. them" mentality, which can only hurt you. When the "have nots" focus negatively on the things of the "haves" no one is benefited. Feeling angry that Kate can afford $300 track pants won't take them from her or give them to you, it will only rob you of your ability to enjoy life. I don't think I will spend more on this. You can see my post from several years ago about my position: Does Kate Really Work...Enough? True then, true now.





I want to address the two primary problems with complaining about how much the royals "work" and then I want to talk about the fault of the Palace and the fault of fans.  Everyone is in trouble today, apparently. :) Generally, the first complaint is that William doesn't work enough as a royal. To be precise, various papers have tallied the number of engagements he has undertaken and compared that number to that of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.  His activity isn't even in their league. 



We've heard this before, and I have to frankly say that I cannot understand why it is still a talking point. Elizabeth is the Queen, Philip is her spouse. They are the senior royal couple. If Her Majesty wants to abdicate because she is getting elderly, that is her prerogative, but her grandson's workload should not be held up against hers for comparison. This is for two very important reasons. First, William hasn't reached that stage of his royal career yet. He isn't the King, he isn't even the Prince of Wales. By happenstance, the public is extremely interested in him, but public opinion does not make or break your seniority within the royal family. Kind of like Kate at the Trooping, William is still in the wings, he isn't on center stage. 



The second very relevant factor is that the Queen does not have the same obligations beyond her duty. She has raised her children, she has navigated the rocky shoals of marriage (in those sometimes tense early years) and she can now devote her twilight energy to the role she promised would be her life's work. It's admirable. It's also not William's situation. William is a young father. He is raising small children and holding together a marriage still in relative infancy. This is a reality that is always either glossed over, or diminished by some irrelevant comparison to those in worse scenarios.  



The second big complaint is that William doesn't work all that much at his air ambulance job. This might be true. Maybe it's not. Ultimately, it actually doesn't matter. I hear the gasps echoing across the globe. It really does not matter. Right this second, does it make any difference to...anything, if William is home sipping tea in his garden and watching George root up a flower pot, or on shift at work? It really doesn't. The only people who should be assessing this are William and his bosses. The prince should not be taking a role that another needs, but beyond that, if he wants to keep busy, but not all that busy, (and he has the option of such a luxury) it really isn't any of our business. 


There is only so much time we can or should devote to micromanaging the lives of other people. Whether it's your best friend, your worst enemy, or celebrities, everyone has to make their own way. That means William has to make the choices that make him happy and it means you can't spend too much time worrying about what those choices are.  



I have heard that William secretly just wants to live the country lifestyle. Gosh, that sounds pretty good to me. I'd love to be Lady Mary in my own Downton Abbey. I don't think, however, that it is true that William would like to walk away from his royal responsibilities. He is heavily influenced by his grandmother and clearly has a drive to "make a difference." He just intends to go about that in his way, and he also insists on putting his family life first. The British public holds the royals to a pretty stiff standard, and I think it is bound to be a losing game for the public. 



I know the age-old argument. William is funded by the taxpayer and needs to work for his keep. But, William is independently wealthy. He'd scrape by if the taxpayer base were denied him. Is life easier with it? By a mile, fair enough. However, if you break down how much a British taxpayer spends to fund the monarchy it is not all that much. In turn, the mystique of the monarchy drives a remarkable revenue for tourism.  If you are unaware of the economic drive the royals generate, you really should try Googling that. 


The Brits get more than bang for their buck. England has the most prestigious monarchy in history. Britain boasts the most glamorous young royals--veritable super stars who literally out sparkle the Hollywood stars. That's not bad. The legacy, history, and tradition of the institution is something to be proud of and to protect, not something to gripe about. 



Prince William is a wealthy man who plays a glamorous role for the satisfaction of fans, for the good of multiple charities, and (to my mind) for the benefit of history. What if he woke up tomorrow and said, I quit. What then? I'd be pretty upset, and my guess is that a whole heck of a lot of people worldwide would be equally distressed.   William is a modern prince who has made it crystal clear he is going to prioritize his family, and these are busy years for couples with young children. Those babies grow quickly and most parents try to spend every minute they can capturing it all. William has more time than most to spend with his family. He is a lucky man.



Were William to add five or ten new engagements a month, would it really make a huge difference? Even more interesting, in a culture that is saturated with news and with celebrity, are the royals smart to pair down the number of charities they undertake?  I don't know the answer to all these questions, but I know it is a new world from the one in which the Queen was raised, or even the one that Diana and Charles inhabited. The internet truly changed the world. There is only so much time in the day. What if the royals are right and less is actually more. If we saw William every day, I am not sure he'd sustain the interest he does now. After all, people are following politics, other celebrities, personal interests, fashion blogs, writing their own blogs, and so much more thanks to the internet. We aren't buying a newspaper or two on the way to work nor are we limited to a few major news networks on the television at night.


That being said, I know there has been tension between the Palace and the press, and that sounds like the fault falls with the Palace. Part of this certainly stems form William's hardline on privacy, which he can bee too extreme trying to control. Part is due to problems in the royal press office. I am not privy to the back and forths and don't follow it closely, but I get the distinct impression from the reporters I know that the Palace has not handled the media well for some years. That is a huge problem. I have said it before, and I will say it again. If the monarchy is to survive, they need the media and they need exposure. They need pictures being printed, there have to paparazzi shots. The royals have to be glamorous and official, but also real and approachable. We need to see them on the road, but we also need a certain number of stories about where they were dining or when they vacationed. Variety is the spice of life. I loved the released photos, but the candids are necessary, too.



There is a tension that has risen thanks to William's hardline on paparazzi photos. You know how I feel about this one. :) I think the Cambridges should lighten up a little. We should get more officially released photos, and William and Kate should carefully choose their battles when it comes to contesting a paparazzi photo. When it comes to their children, the line is a little hazier. They should object when they feel they are not able to maintain proper security, however, they should not take the public for a collective fool and package all paparazzi shots together in a terrorism plea. That's dishonest and not helpful. The balance here has to be reasonable. Not all paparazzi shots pose a security risk.



I don't have all the answers of the clash between Press and Palace. Part of the problem is that the press blames the Palace for restricting their access and damaging their ability to report effectively and, frankly, stay in business. I know some of you have gleefully cheered Kensington Palace for tightly running their own media and shutting out the press, but this is not a good thing. This is very, very bad on a number of levels. It's bad in this particular situation because if you think that following Kate would be the same if suddenly the royal reporters were out of the picture, you are sadly misinformed about the way this whole process works. From whom do we get the first glimpses of Kate arriving at a royal engagement? From assembled media tweeting it out! Who stands and listens to the chatter and reports all the sweet off the cuff comments that Kate makes to fans, so we can share in the fun? The reporters. Who snaps the wildly popular shots of the royals on official engagements, but also at events like polo? Royal photographers. Who does research on these ski vacations and family holidays? The press, reporters. How many fun exclusives have we seen from People and from Hello!  And from...The Sun?  I just raised my hand. As fans, we need the press. I am not in London attending every event Kate goes to. Someone has to do it. More broadly, I am distressed by the general decline of the press. As paper after paper struggles and goes under...it is not good. Don't cheer that. We need a free press--preferably reporting in a balanced manner.


Press and Palace need to make up as soon as possible and find a healthy compromise. They need each other to survive. If you side with either party, you won't rejoice in this ongoing drama, you will hope it ends as soon as may be.  I know I do.



186 comments:

  1. Would love to know whether you think things were exacerbated by Kate's office's choice to work with The Huffington Post on her big media day in support of children's mental health efforts. I can see that not being a particularly deft move, as the Huffington Post is quite far removed from the traditional press we've relied on to cover the royals in the past. If the British press is going to support the royals by providing coverage and following their rules about paparazzi shots, then I would understand their desire to maintain some kind of reciprocity.

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  2. Very well said, Jane! Kudos!

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  3. Jane, as always you give us an incredibly well thought out argument that cuts through the noise. It's the same as comments complaining about Kate spending too long on maternity leave. The royal family work 24/7 representing their country and its people. There should be more compassion over the scrutiny they face on every comment, decision, and sartorial choice they make. It's not a life that hardly any of us would willingly choose, yet so many easily criticize.

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  4. Great points Jane. I am still digesting the article but for now...yes, the world has certainly changed because of technology and not only for royals like W&K. How many of us have jobs where we are expected to be "on call" or at least available by email almost 24/7? I know dmhave one of those jobs. And since travel can be done more quickly, we may be expected to be more places in fewer days too.

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  5. I haven't read this entire post yet, I must admit, but I need to work through my thoughts for a moment.
    Part of me feels this whole kerfuffle is entirely made up by the press because they don't like the extent to which the royals are making use of social media to control their own exposure. With the advent of social media and its meteoric rise in prominence in the global conversation, of course the monarchy has slowly caught on to the fact that they can dictate their own narrative on their social media feeds. They can communicate "directly" to their public, without the press. As a PR person, I get the appeal of controlling your own story, and to very public people who want to live private lives, it can seem like the perfect balance of exposure and privacy. Keeping it all in house, as it were. But I can also see the journalistic point of view as well--royal reporters depend on stories to get paid. Full stop.
    So either a balance must be struck or the press will be forced to keep manufacturing their own controversy to stay employed.
    I could be way off, but that's how the current "controversy" strikes me.
    -Tess

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    1. Well said. The royals won't be exactly flailing should the press suddenly decide not to cover them. What's more, the press will probably be the worse off party of that were to occur; and they couldn't sustain it. The royals on the other hand have their own press office and enough of a following to send out their message whether the press pack are willing to cover it or not. Just as the truth eventually comes to light, so fabricated press (to make them look bad) is an own goal in the end. The whole kerfuffle now stinks of pettiness and "it's personal" from the press. But I empathize with William and Kate on this one.

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    2. Sarah Maryland USAMarch 17, 2016 at 8:50 AM

      Are you kidding me with that statement anon. Just because anything negative was said about William and Kate doesn't mean it is made up.

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    3. Sarah, all you have to do is read the the media articles and you know they have made up most of what they write in order cause a so called scandal. Just as example the Express and the Telegraph yesterday ran the headlines Kate had pulled out of the St Patrick's day celebrations to stay home. First of all she didn't "pull out" - she was never scheduled so she didn't pull out of anything. Just because the media (and us) expected her to go doesn't mean she "pulled out". Second What KP said was that she enjoyed being there in the past and looked forward to doing it again in the future. Nothing was said by KP that she was staying at home. So again something "made up" by the media to stir up sentiment against the Cambridge's.

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    4. Eva, do you have a definitive source for that? What I have read says what you say plus that she wanted to spend time with her children. And royal aids are the ones sourced. Thanks!

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    5. Sarah Maryland USAMarch 17, 2016 at 9:54 PM

      Pulled out is termonolgy I believe they used it because they were like the rest of us under the impression this was an annual event
      Still don't see where they made anything up

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    6. The stories I saw said "aides" and "royal sources." This blog is a royal source.Whose
      aides?
      There is absolutely no verification unless it is posted by KP on a KP or official
      monarchy site.So, theoretically, most of the stories are just that-stories. The burden of proof is on the journalists to varify their sources, not on the Cambridges,
      or anyone else, to prove they are NOT made up. That's not how quality journalism works.
      Personally, I would hate to be Ms. Deacon right now if any stories are traced back to her.

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    7. Fair enough. But this source says KP said she wanted to spend time with her children (and there are others toohttp://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/501849/Prince-William-Kate-Duchess-of-Cambridge-St-Patricks-day-ceremony

      What are some links for these "official" sites?

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    8. Pulled out implies it was set in stone. If it was our hope or expectation based on prior years, then the fault lies with the people who assumed it was a done deal, and NOT with Kate.

      And while I believe Kate would have been criticized no matter what, I think KP added to it by making a statement explaining her absence. I'm not aware of other royals being expected to explain where his/her spouse is if they do an engagement on their own. The press is annoyed that they didn't have a covergirl to go with the story so they go on and on about duty and Kate not understanding tradition, etc.

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    9. I don't know if this is an official KP source royalfan but it says 1. Kate said she wasn't doing St. Pat's months ago which means she didn't pull out at the last minute 2. She didn't go because she wanted to be at home with her kids which means it wasn't that one was sick at the last minute nor was she or the nanny suddenly sick. It also makes it less likely IMO the reason was a party at Geoge's nursery. Still think it was a dumb decision though and saying we prioritize our children is sort of a stick in the eye of parents who have to work F/T away from home. I would also think any of the other engagements in the last week or so except for CD could have occurred at other times so Kate could have staggered time at home. (plus they do have KP so the kids can come with her) The charity shop opening was likely not set in stone for Mar 18 "months ago" but we all know when St. Pat's Day is. Could someone else have been drafted for St. Pat's? Maybe. But I still say if I was Anne, I would not want to "fill in" for what would **appear** to be a missing Kate! As you and I and others have said royalfan, their PR team at KP isn't doing a great job...this article is no exception.

      http://www.express.co.uk/news/royal/654056/Duchess-of-Cambridge-Kate-Middleton-work-shy-blasted-Kensignton-Palace



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    10. Thanks for the link, Lizzie. I just read it and while the first half of the article appears to be supportive of the couple and explains things in a logical an reasonable fashion, it turns into a backhanded swipe at both W&K. The references to not everyone will like it, it's not going to change, etc., are nothing short of pot stirring with what appears to be a clear intent to fan the flames of this tempest in a tea pot.

      I referenced other DM article below (negative towards Kate & Diana and positive towards C&C). And elsewhere I just commented that is no longer about shamrocks alone. This has all the elements of a campaign and I believe the celebration surrounding HM, together with the obvious implication and focus on C&C's future roles has much to do with it. IMO, the message is intended to be that C&C are prepared and experienced...and W&K are not.

      When I think about what the Cambridge's HAVE done in the last year, and how they are continuing to settle into their roles, WITH a tour on the horizon no less, it does seem like there is a lot more to this than meets the eye.

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  6. I haven't read this entire post yet, I must admit, but I need to work through my thoughts for a moment.
    Part of me feels this whole kerfuffle is entirely made up by the press because they don't like the extent to which the royals are making use of social media to control their own exposure. With the advent of social media and its meteoric rise in prominence in the global conversation, of course the monarchy has slowly caught on to the fact that they can dictate their own narrative on their social media feeds. They can communicate "directly" to their public, without the press. As a PR person, I get the appeal of controlling your own story, and to very public people who want to live private lives, it can seem like the perfect balance of exposure and privacy. Keeping it all in house, as it were. But I can also see the journalistic point of view as well--royal reporters depend on stories to get paid. Full stop.
    So either a balance must be struck or the press will be forced to keep manufacturing their own controversy to stay employed.
    I could be way off, but that's how the current "controversy" strikes me.
    -Tess

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  7. I haven't read this entire post yet, I must admit, but I need to work through my thoughts for a moment.
    Part of me feels this whole kerfuffle is entirely made up by the press because they don't like the extent to which the royals are making use of social media to control their own exposure. With the advent of social media and its meteoric rise in prominence in the global conversation, of course the monarchy has slowly caught on to the fact that they can dictate their own narrative on their social media feeds. They can communicate "directly" to their public, without the press. As a PR person, I get the appeal of controlling your own story, and to very public people who want to live private lives, it can seem like the perfect balance of exposure and privacy. Keeping it all in house, as it were. But I can also see the journalistic point of view as well--royal reporters depend on stories to get paid. Full stop.
    So either a balance must be struck or the press will be forced to keep manufacturing their own controversy to stay employed.
    I could be way off, but that's how the current "controversy" strikes me.
    -Tess

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    1. Well at first I thought I couldn't comment, then it posted 3 times! I'm sure the problem was somewhere on my end.
      -Tess

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  8. Jane thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to address all of this. My feeling are that the media are very upset that they were not notified regarding their ski trip. But I feel they deserve a private vacation without all the press breathing down their necks. It could all have ended up pretty bad with the children's being present. All trying to get the perfect shot for the big bucks. And a security nightmare too. And it was Mothers Day. Do this little 4 day trip might have been a gift from William, George and Charlotte. So there is nothing wrong with this.
    And I totally agree with everything you have said about the Palace and the press. Somebody needs to have a good talk with both parties.
    But did you mention all the nasty press Kate is getting because she's"pulled out" of the St. Patrick's a Day with William. Again we gave no idea why and we will never know. So all this trash talking from many supposed fans and the press is getting out of hand. For all we know is that George had a thing st school and Kate wanted to be there. So William is handling the duties tomorrow solo. If William really want skate to be by his side she would be there. But knowing how much their children come first then we need yo understand and except the fact that their children will always be first. That is what I live about William and Kate.
    Again Jane thank you for this great piece.


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  9. I fall into the category that puzzles you: I enjoy following the royals, but I'm not a huge fan of the institution. I like history, I think William and Kate seem like they have a strong and happy relationship, they visit places that are interesting to read about, and I like a lot of what Kate wears. Finally I'm not a UK citizen, so my tax dollars aren't an issue. Net result is that I have a lot of fun reading blogs like this. :)

    That said, the Cambridges are beneficiaries of a system that puts heredity over merit. Although every culture has its privileged classes, royalty is fairly unique in being state-sanctioned and supported. And yes, it's fair to say that William and Kate are somewhat lazy. They are very rich, and don't have to work, which is fine - but that makes them fair game for complaints about their work ethic. They seem like nice people, but they're not hard chargers. It is what it is.

    I agree with you about the press and palace needing each other to survive, and about the value of the press.

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    1. Yes, this describes me too! I agree and well said.

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    2. I absolutely agree with you Anonymous 9:52 p.m

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    3. Well I am a UK citizen, but I know that the Duke and Duchess recive no payments from The taxpayer.
      In fact it is the other way round---Crown lands profit is signed to the government and only 15% returned---and that 0only in the last few years.
      William and Catherine will get travel (on official duties) paid for from this, but nothing else.Prince Charles pays for their office expenses from his private income.
      Put it this way--when your next President comes to office, he/she hands over any property to the state and gets a little back to carry out the duties. If Mr. Trump should be elected the US taxpayer will do very well.
      Bear in mind that if Catherine had a paid job, she would not yet have returned to work following Princess Charlotte's birth.

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    4. Original poster here. My point about taxes is that I have no personal stake in the monarchy. Royal watching is fun for me because they're not my royals. ;)

      A note on your comment about, "Put it this way--when your next President comes to office, he/she hands over any property to the state and gets a little back to carry out the duties. If Mr. Trump should be elected the US taxpayer will do very well." As a non-US citizen, there's no reason you should know this, but that's not how it works! First, Presidents keep their own private property: there's no question of handing it over to the state. Second, presidential salary and expense accounts are the same regardless of personal wealth. The same amount of money is at stake no matter who takes office.

      It sounds like we both have fun royal-watching, for different reasons...and there's nothing wrong with that. :)

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    5. Jennifer from the SouthMarch 17, 2016 at 9:43 AM

      Anon 9:52, well said, and I very much agree. Also, you and I seem to have similar views, although I am a fan of the institution, but only from the view that I would love to be part of it, but perhaps not having it be a part of my country as a subject/citizen. Does that make sense?

      Anyway, do I think that William and Kate are lazy in what is typically thought of as lazy people - unkempt, no interest, no passion, etc.? Absolutely not. In fact, it takes just a quick look at both of them to know that they are far from lazy -- they are both incredibly fit and seem to enjoy being active and have many interests. They just prefer to do so privately. It's not that they are lazy - it's that they appear, to many, to be disrespectful of the positions that they are in.

      I think the sense I get is not that it's jealousy (for the most part, from most people) - it's that Kate, and William to a lesser extent, give people very little to talk about beyond clothes and what they show up for. I love to see Kate in new outfits, including her $300 track pants. I love to see what she puts together. I wish I could see more of her wardrobe.

      There is an enormous sense of history behind the monarchy, and a particular fascination with William and Kate because so many of my generation did in fact grow up with a picture of William on our walls or notebooks. We don't begrudge Kate her life at all - but we do expect her to take the duties she married into seriously. I think that the public - those in the UK and those not - feel a sense of ownership over William and Kate's lifestyle. Not in the sense that they are begrudged anything - but that, in their position, they should share a bit of their lives (like Jane says much better than me, above), and instead it feels like they are thumbing their noses at everyone. They redid KP and Anmer -- largely at the public's (not mine, though) expense - and have yet to show any more than a blurry cream wall and the fabric of Kate's chair. A house tour would do WONDERS - obviously not of the private rooms, but pictures in the drawing rooms, or making cupcakes in the kitchen - would make people feel like the money spent on the houses was worth it. Instead, K+W go out of there way to exclude - family pictures in dark windows, blurry backgrounds, etc. It doesn't go over well with the public. First ladies give tours of the White House - and a tour in pictures of the Cambridges' houses would do a world of good for them. It would give "their people" a piece of feeling like they are part of things, gives them a spot to dream.

      I think that Kate takes a cue from William, and I think that William is incredibly hard to please and is quite controlling and a bit petulant - I think he is very hard to work for, and probably hard to be married to, despite that I think Kate does love him. But, she also loves her life with him. It's hard not to intertwine the two. I am not saying William is not a nice person - I'm sure he is - but he reminds me of a CEO I know who is young and has a lot of pressure on his shoulders -- and has never been told no, by anyone -- and the result in personality is quite similar to what I see in William. Incredibly bright and sharp, controlling, and very very hard to please. Probably why K+W get along so well is that Kate can please and soothe him and also knows when to let him be -- lots of people think it's weird that she packs up to Berkshire so often, but I think it's smart - William seems like he might need his space, or a mother figure in Carole.

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    6. Jennifer from the SouthMarch 17, 2016 at 9:43 AM

      Cont...
      Something people seemed not to pick up on was when Kate and William were rappelling a few months ago, and Kate was holding onto William's rope and said "How much do you love me?" Well, after that she also said something along the lines of that it felt good to be in control for once. I think William runs the house and their lives and Kate doesn't get a lot of say. I really do think that Kate would show up for what William wanted her to show up for. And I think William is both trying to give his wife breathing room and also playing a game (very poorly I might add) with the press and public.

      For example, it's incredibly interesting to me that Kate appears to have bailed on the St Patrick's Day engagement. Why couldn't she attend? I get that she wants to spend time with her children, and she is lucky to have so much time, but why not take the chopper, pin some shamrocks, and fly back to Anmer? They've taken the chopper a lot lately, so I can't possibly imagine it wasn't available. And so I think this was William's call. What reasons he had, I have no idea. Perhaps to exercise some control. But, it looks bad. Kate took on the engagement and seems to be bucking 100 years of tradition, with the reason given that "she doesn't want people to think she will do this every year." The palace seems inept with these responses -- isn't that the role she took on, to do these engagements annually, not just for this one but for all of them? The issue I think so many have is that it looks disrespectful, both to the monarchy and to the life she chose.

      I think William is calling all the shots, and I really am interested into why - and what you all think here - he is playing at. Is it control? Is it bucking tradition? He should have known - or at the very least his PR guys should have known - how it would look in light of all the press lately, especially.

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    7. Sorry, Jean, but that is 100% false.

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    8. 1,. The idea that the Royal Family is not supported by tax money is simply wrong. Both Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall - the two sources of income for the RF were lent to the monarchy for its lavish upkeep. When the monarchy is abolished they will revert back to the government which will seize all money generated. All security comes directly from taxpayer money. It is part of the budget. Even the most ardent royalists in the UK acknowledge this and I am frankly astonished that anyone can still believe that they don't.

      2. For every article that Google produces that states it generates tourism I can show you another that says it does not. There is no incontrovertible proof that the RF contributes to tourism.

      3. The idea that William should be allowed to take funds generated from the Duchy of Cornwall, direct taxpayer money to refurbish KP and the use of a helicopter when required yet hide out without having to do any royal duties because he is "independently wealthy" is a novel one. Even if he is wealthy the fact that he accepts these monies unfortunately binds him to the duties. He can easily not take funds from his father, he can refuse securities and pay back the costs to refurbish KP and then go hide out in AH.
      Your logic Jane, is like the following : the son of a CEO of a bank decides to take the salary of an executive yet spends his time not working for the bank, pursuing hobbies instead. Yet you say that we are not allowed to criticize him because the son is "independently wealthy" and does not actually need the executive salary. One's personal financial status has nothing to do with the contract one signs with one's employer. You cannot take money from the taxpayer and then not execute because you could do without that money. I simply don't see the logic where you come from, on this and would be happy if you could elaborate.

      4. I follow the RF because I quite liked Kate when she got married. I think she is gorgeous. I love her clothes and I wish I was that athletic. I am critical now, after 5 years because I find it astonishing that they lead the life they do without any accountability to anyone.
      I have nothing to criticize about any wealthy person's kids if they do nothing and loaf about in the country. The world is full of people like that. However, they do not take taxpayer funds. That is the key.

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    9. Jean, I understand where you are coming from with regards to the Crown Lands. The Crown Lands are, however, the monarch's in name only. She holds it because the UK is still a constitutional monarchy. But the British public are aware (and precedence in other countries has shown ) that when the monarchy will be abolished the BRF will not retain those lands. When other monarchies have been abolished (or even when not abolished such as the Danish one) lands that "belonged" to the monarch were taken by the government. So I think that your idea that somehow the Crown Lands belongs to the Queen and she is doing the government a favor by giving them 85% of the income from those lands, is misguided, in my opinion. It is the British people who are doing the Queen a favor by allowing her to retain 15% of the income from those lands instead of seizing ALLL of it - as had originally been proposed more than 100 years ago.

      And that is the crux of the argument : if you believe that ALL lands of the UK belong to the British people, then you will agree that the Queen and the BRF are civil servants and have to perform royal duties. If you do not believe that, then I see where you come from - and your position is justified.
      I suspect that if and when there is a referendum you will find that an overwhelming majority of the British people will readily agree that the Crown Lands belong to the British people and not to the monarch.

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    10. I tend to agree with all of Lecia,s points in particular point #3. With respect to #4, I have to say, while I was a big Kate fan for a long time, it is hard to continue to unquestionably support them. When they were first married, KAte didn't ahve a housekeeper or cook, they lived a relatively modest lifestyle. Now they have two palatial homes, both extensively refurbished, and a huge amount of help. But their contribution to Royal duties has not commensurately increased. I am not saying that raising two young kids isnt hard work and that they aren't entitled to be loving parents to them. But if Kate is going to spend just a few hours of a day at engagements, she could do a lot more engagements and still spend a huge amount of time with her young family. same for William.

      I also tend to disagree that the press is making this up. I don't remember William going as long as he did at the start of this year without engagements- Kate actually had more on her calendar than he did for a while. Remember that the press is unfortunately to a certain extent market driven- these articles do reflect public sentiment.

      I do agree that the monarchy won't survive without the press. I think that asking William and Kate to do 3-4 engagements per week is not asking too much. And the press should be invited.

      Anyways, just my two cents.

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    11. Well if we want to follow that logic, any well paid CEO is benefitting from the corporation's funds, not his/her own. If you're not actually making and selling something with your own hands or providing a personal service yourself to sell to the community at large, then you're also provided a wage (independently wealthy or barely livable) from a public source. Most likely a great many of us would fall under that kind of scrutiny albeit a more miniscule one. That doesn't mean the corporation has a hold on our private life- or scrutinizing what I post on this blog for my own pleasure. Keep an open mind- we are only allowed a glimpse into the lives William and Kate lead, and that's o.k. When they are doing their public work, they do it graciously and expertly. We just wish we could see them more.

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    12. Oh, Lori, I love the way you put that!

      And to those who thought Jean was claiming that the US President gives away his property - chill. She was giving us an example of what a US President would have to do if he lived under the same style of government that the monarchy does.

      BTW, Kensington Palace was restored (as a historical palace) using tax monies but Anmer Hall is a private property, owned by the Queen and gifted to W&K, and was restored with private funds. I do agree it would be nice to see what W&K have done with KP but we have no claim to see their privately owned residence.

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    13. Jennifer from South,

      I too found it very interesting when Kate said she finally was in control or something like that. Very telling indeed. I don't think William is as easy going as he tries to appear. I have read that he takes after his Dad in temperament. Maybe that is true.

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    14. HoosierLori - I think that you completely misread what I said. Or you misunderstood.

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    15. @jennifer in the South, 9:43 A.M. I am quite convinced that William is a control freak, quite possibly as a result of his god-awful childhood, when he had zero control over his life.

      JC

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    16. Lecia, I agree with every single point you have made, and I mirror your sentiments exactly. the way William and Kate are becoming more and more secretive as time goes on completely baffles me; they know they are incredibly loved and I am very interested to know how William thinks all this negative publicity is something they'll be able to survive through, without it seriously tarnishing their image in the eyes of the public.
      Jennifer, I remember Kate saying that control bit too, and although it may have sounded like a candid comment to many, it did struck me as rather surprising, and it may (or may not) be indicating what life is like for her with William.

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    17. Lecia and others - I agree! I LOVED William & Kate, was excited when they were married, looked forward to the amazing things they were going to do with the *stage* and influence they were handed, then... nothing. I was in the group of folks that think 'they can do no wrong' for longer than many, but not all, apparently. They can and do 'do wrong' a lot. I don't know if their staff is just a bunch of yes men and women, but they seem incredibly tone deaf. Kate skipping the St. Patrick's Day event this year to 'spend time with the children', then showing up at an event the next day with what looked like fresh hair and botox is a recent example. I went to Canada to see them when they went on their 'honeymoon' tour, but now I wouldn't step on my front stoop if they were parading past my house.

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    18. Lawgirlnyc--you say you wouldn't step onto your front stoop to watch them parade past your house, and yet you are here on a blog dedicated to the Duchess and participating in the comment section. Either, their draw has not entirely worn off the way you say it has and you would step onto your stoop to watch them parade by, or you are a confused and unhappy person to have the time to stop into a space like this to vent your criticism. ~Jessica.

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    19. W&K were not "handed a stage" in the way some people think of it; they are not calling the shots within the BRF. If Charles didn't appreciate Diana's popularity (and as her husband he could have taken full advantage of it in the manner of JFK), then please believe that it would be even more of a problem today for both him AND Camilla to be eclipsed.

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  10. I completely disagree with pretty much everything you said, except the press part.

    One reason the job is such an issue with people is that William has always made himself out to be the "working" royal, with a "real" job. People feel lied to when they find out he only works 20 hours a week, about two days. Then KP LIED about the regulations and said they prevent him from taking on more royal duties. Not true, the aviation dept. of the gov said.

    You try to gloss over this with a "none of our business" sign. Sorry, Jane, but people feel that William has greatly misrepresented himself.

    Now Kate wants to break a 100 plus year tradition simply because she wants to be with the kids, per KP. Ouch. A few hours would hurt? I think the overall message from W & K to the public.... You won't control us!! Not a good way to pave the road for the future.

    And yes, I do believe William doesn't listen to advice and guidance. That last interview from him pushing conservation but saying big game hunting of sick and old animals is OK???? Then several organizations came out and criticized his comments on the big game hunting. Yes, let's let people pay big bucks to hunt sick, old endangered animals! How gross is that??? Yuck.

    William just doesn't get it. Sadly.



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    1. Sadly I have to agree with much of what you say Anon 10:30. I am not sure which of Jane's categories I fall into. I watched Diana and Charles' wedding live which meant staying up all night. Did the same with W&K's wedding. (And sadly Diana's funeral too) It seems to me KP is SO off-base these days and Will needs new advisors and needs to listen to them. I also think it is a mistake for W&K to claim "we just want to be normal" and then not expect "normal" folks to make comparisons. Better royals be "different." Admittedly, making royals normal started with Diana but she could not have foreseen today and I think she had a very positive effect at the time. Will saying (or KP saying for him) he wants to be a hands-on dad so he needs to be home alot insults fathers who have to work and be away from home. (And even Diana said Charles was a good father so I am not sure that's an out re: Will's supposed statement) All in all, not good PR or good thinking! The recent interview. ....Sorry, total yuck. I get why SOME in the conservation area support hunting of endangered animals. But to say infertile old animals are "fair game" for trophy hunting and yet see the killing of Cecil as "deplorable" lacks logic. Cecil was beyond breeding age, after all. (I'm down on hunting except if people hunting and will eat the kill as I've said before. Killing Cecil was awful to me but according to Will since he could not reproduce... ) Seems like its a repeat of the ivory hoopla. Think Will!

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    2. First of all, KP had always said William will work about 2/3 of the regular shifts. Look the original articles up. It has always been there. They made a blunder with the regulations, I agree, but to say they lied is judgmental and misleading. No PR office would intentionally lie about something that can be easily investigated. It was a confusion on their part.

      As for the shamrock tradition, who's to say it was Kate's tradition? William is the first Royal Colonel of the Irish Guards in history. His presence every year is more important. Kate stood in for him in 2012 because he was in the Falklands. Before William and Kate, it had been very rare to see two royals in this event. And yes, several men had presented the shamrocks in history. And in some years, there was even NO royal present. To say they are breaking tradition is untrue. The tradition is the handing out of shamrocks. That is being kept. People talk as if William was invisible. Storm in a teacup, if there ever was one!

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    3. I don't have a problem with the amt Will works at his ambulance job and I have said that before. But I am not sure KP always said he'd work parttime. I have tried to look it up and all I find are articles like this one saying he'd work 4 days on 4 days off.http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33503191. Do you have a link Romy?

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    4. Romy,

      The tradition of a female member of the royal family handing out the shamrocks has been going on for about 108 years. "...who's to say it is Kate's tradition..." WHAT?!? Um... nothing is "Kate's" tradition... she stepped into the royal family, she is carrying out their traditions! That's a major part of her job.

      And yes, they have lied and mislead. William DOESN'T work 2/3 of a shift!

      And PR offices lie all the time.

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    5. lizzie, @ 11:47, have either William or Kate ever claimed that they *just want to be normal*, or are these the sentiments of someone/s else, perhaps an ancient courtier who simply disagrees with the direction W&K seem to want the monarch to take? I confess that I don't know. I do, however, think that William is a product of his upbringing, which means that he received earlier and more prolonged exposure--which began when he was just three and his parents elected to send him to an off-palace-grounds nursery school--and less exposure to sometimes very old-fashioned courtiers and older royal relatives. Perhaps this resulted, in part, in an acute awareness that other kids, some at Eton, who would've been from far wealthier families than his, yet, unlike himself, had choices in life and were not subject to constant scrutiny in the press/media. No doubt, he envied their way-of-life. Could this, in turn, not have prompted him to find a compromise of some sort, which did not require him to leave the Windsors/his family but which did require changes within the monarchy itself? If so, he would've known what he was up against, old-fashioned courtiers, old-fashioned family members, and a public and press used to the way things had always been done and resistant, at least in the beginning, to new ideas, which may be what we are now witnessing.

      Regarding Williams propensity to shoot, stalk and hunt, this too is a product of his upbringing--and IMO not a very appealing one. Whatever *excuse* is made for it, the bottom line is $$$; shoots and deer-stalking are run on a commercial basis, by many members of the British aristocracy, in order to pay the bills on the huge estates they run and own. Of course, they are also run to provide these families with a fun way to spend the weekend, usually with family and good friends in tow, and often, below the radar, as an additional bonus. Like yourself, I disagree with shooting/stalking/hunting for sport, altho if a family has to, in order to feed itself--well, so be it; I have trouble condemning poor Kenyans, for example, for killing game, if it means keeping body and soul together.

      William, like many large landowners in the UK, has, from my POV, a jaundiced/biased opinion when it comes to these so-called sports. It looks very much like hypocrisy when a person who hunts for pleasure, and whose family and friends run shoots,etc., in order to raise $$$, is also head of an organization devoted to the preservation of wildlife (United for Wildlife), and who devotes so much time to his patronage, Tusk Trust, sneering at those who also choose to hunt, albeit illegally, for ivory and horn and profit. Not much to choose between them, on moral grounds. In fact, the only difference I see is that the law in the UK favours the raising, releasing, and killing of game birds, etc.,whereas the law in most of Africa protects some wildlife--those deemed endangered-- for the most part, by wealthy outsiders, like Prince Philip or, more recently, by King Juan Carlos of Spain, and their safaris.

      But, hypocrisy never stopped a European royal from doing exactly what he/she wants, particularly if they can get away with it. Nor has the BRF learned from the example of Juan Carlos, whose safari, by the way, was deemed legal, just a necessary culling--of elephants, no less!

      If William was truly looking forward, instead of to the past, would he not give up shooting/stalking/hunting now, while its still legal in the UK and elsewhere, and instead, come up with better ways to raise the money Sandringham and Balmoral needs, even if he can't implement these plans yet? Better than shooting off his mouth in interviews trying to justify iffy practises, which generally stir controversy and backlash, surely.

      JC





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    6. Lizzie,

      His eventual work hours with the air ambulance was stated last year when he first started.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/prince-william/11735464/Prince-Williams-first-day-nerves-as-he-starts-air-ambulance-job.html

      Anonymous 8:47
      You say it is the royal family's tradition to hand out shamrocks. Absolutely right. And today William carried out that tradition!

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    7. Last I heard, domestic deer, pheasant aren't endagered species. William is not
      advocating banning of all hunting. He is not a hypocrite. His focus is on
      protecting endangered species.
      Another example of the media hype taking a fact and twiting it to carry whatever
      message is the current theme.

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    8. Thanks, Romy. I had never seen this report at the time Will began his work. I had only seen articles saying what the BBC said…"four 9 1/2 hr days on, 4 days off." At most I had seen only that some shifts might be “rearranged” to allow for his royal duties, not that he was expected to work only 2/3 of that pattern. Unless everyone in the UK reads the Telegraph, I expect I expect UK citizens may not have seen this report either so it may look like the citizens were intentionally misled. And it does sound like Will may have taken all of December off. I had commented on this site in an earlier discussion (last week) after it came to light he was working around 20 hrs/wk that he doesn’t have to do the ambulance job at all so 2/3 seems fine with me. But due to what sure looks like a BAD PR team, it did have the appearance of saying Will can’t do royal duties because of that job and then telling that job he can’t do hrs there because of royal duties…smoke and mirrors. And no need for it! I had also said early in the week that I thought it was a mistake for Kate to skip the St. Pat’s event this year. I still think that and KP saying she wants to spend time with her children instead because she will be traveling in 3 weeks…sorry, that’s weak since the kids could come to KP or she could return to Amner fairly quickly. Did she HAVE to do the event? No, of course not. But it is a high profile event that happens only once a yr. And it is a way to serve N. Ireland without having to travel to a potentially dangerous spot. So there is a lot of “bang for the buck” by appearing. And lots of fireworks for not appearing.

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    9. The outcry over William's comments on selling the rights to shoot older animals belie, to me, a lack of thoughtful research. The money - and sometimes, the benefit to remaining animals - of responsibly choosing to cull older animals makes a large, beneficial impact on the ability of 'poor' countries to protect animals. Dismissing the practice out of hand comes from a very privileged, and often ignorant, point of view. Bravo to William for speaking out in truth. I would love to hear what suggestion you have for Namibia's ability to raise similar amounts of money in a different manner.

      That said - it's not for me. Shooting animals, even when it benefits conservation efforts, is just not my cup of tea. But the backlash to this is ridiculous.

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    10. There is less than universal agreement among educated conservation groups re: the value of trophy hunting of endangered animals. While culling of sick and dying animals may benefit the species, these are likely not the animals preferred by tropy seekers anyway. There is also evidence the $ lines the pockets of corrupt officials and landowners and does not help the people. Suggesting non-fertile animals are of no benefit as Will seemed to ignores what we do know about animal societies (e.g. granny elephants) Trophy hunting--and being sure only the "right ones" are killed- will likely be impossible to "regulate" as the killing of Cecil, an old infertile lion showed. Will now admits he DID make the statement about palace ivory (says now he was joking) but says that was to make the point it doesn't belong on mantles. Maybe the point also needs to be made about animal trophies? While destroying ornaments won't bring back long dead elephants do we really want to encourage the gathering of MORE endangered animal trophies even if they are mostly from infertile old animals? Finally, I think his interview would have been more persuasive if it didn't sound like he almost thinks we should save wildlife in Africa just so HIS children and other children of privilege can travel there to see it. It just seems he is clueless how he comes across sometimes. That's where advisors could play a role IMO as I don't doubt he is well-intentioned.

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  11. Thank you Jane for a wonderful post. I agree with you on all points and I think the comments posted already are also very commendable. The press and the palace must strike a balance with each other to keep a good working relationship ongoing. Does it stop unwanted stories from leaking? No. Does the press make up stuff? Yes, if they don't have enough substance to write about. We must also remember that this may be a rather low key year for the Cambridges. They will have highs and lows for many years to come. If I think about Kate: 1st year- Newlywed, learning the ropes, how will she cope? 2nd year- 1st pregnancy and George arrival 3rd year- first big royal tour and Kate doing solo engagements, 4th year- 2nd pregnancy and Charlotte arrival 5th year- a boring right now so let's make stuff up! Like Jane said, they will weather public and private storms. I think it's admirable that William works a regular job even at part-time hours. He's able to keep connected to how the rest of us live. If Kate didn't marry William, she'd have plenty of money to live a very low key life with her kiddos. She probably would've been a manager of her parents' business. Prince Charles wants the attention on his work, always has and always will. He's been jealous of his first wife and his children's press-- they just photograph better than he does. I don't understand why Kate pulled out of St. Patrick's Day- this is the one really royal tradition she did on her own. Let's be honest- London is not that far away from Norfolk and she has a nanny and a hands-on grandmother to help. George and Charlotte are not lacking from attention. I am hoping for a spectacular tour- with lots of stories on Kate's clothes and some substantial stories on what William and Kate do with the cultural and charitable activities that are prepared for them. I think having 2-3 engagements a week will not hurt the children. We working women have to juggle family and work- and being Duchess of Cambridge is her career, not just a title. I do think overexposure is not a good thing either. But having more "work" related engagements to cover means the demand for pap shots will go down too. When Diana retired for a year from royal life, the demand for her image went way up and she paid horribly in press harassment for that. The less we see of William and Kate, the more intrusion they will see. They're experiencing that right now...

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  12. Wow. You have shared your opinion (and the opinion of many here too possibly) so well, Jane. I have also seen (from NZ) the amount of criticism the Cambridge's are getting.
    What really annoyed me to start with was that William's part time job is 40 hours per week shift work (from memory) which IS part time (well, here in NZ it is) and continuing his royal duties, which is absolutely fine. His salary is also going to charity which so kind of him.

    I would say from the way the Cambridge's behave at public engagements - and from what we know from interviews and documentaries - that a fair amount of work goes on in private visits and research. Just because we don't see them, doesn't mean that they aren't doing the hard yards.
    In fact, Kate probably has it worse, because, despite press kicking up a fuss at the cost of her outfits, if she turned up in a pair of sweatpants to a state dinner they would disrespect her more. The press are not consistent in their views of the BRF - especially the Cambridge's.
    I think that William and Kate have been very patient, courteous and risen above the press by doing little things like releasing photos and sharing information about their children when at public engagements.
    My view is that they are doing just fine for the causes that they are passionate about, representing Britain (and the Commonwealth) and living their lives with their children.

    Erin

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  13. Well written Jane. I agree that the press and the palace have to come to some agreement. The Cambridges and Prince Harry ( he is also part of the problem) have to be more giving and the press have to be a bit more accurate in their reporting. The coverage given for the interview with Austin this week was quite inaccurate with misinterpretation and that was clear if one listened to the interview. I think even Austin was upset about some of the reporting. Bottom line is the spin that the reporters give is quite insulting at times to readers. Internet is a huge problem because it is causing fewer and fewer people to buy newspapers. Everything is available on line instantly and that is a problem for all involved. Hope some solution can be struck. I think W/K/H are good for the monarchy. They are trying to do things a little differently and it is going to take some getting used to after so many years with the Queen. Change always takes time and is not always bad or good but lessons will be learned.

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  14. Wow, THANK YOU THANK YOU. You hit the nail on the head and I agree with everything you said.

    And here's my long and drawn out commentary on the whole thing. First, I know I do it to myself (and I think the certain people that I follow are probably very good at their job) but I cannot STAND most of the reporters that I follow on twitter (I told you I do it to myself ;)) So I for one thing that this is completely manufactured by the press. They complain about EVERYTHING. Just today, talking about St. Patrick's day, one pointed out that the Queen Mother did it every single year (first, good for her... does that mean Kate has to too?), oh, but except for Cheltenham. Someone points out that the Queen Mother is allowed to duck out for a horse race and said reporter backtracks and says it only happened a few times. Okay... this is one of a few times for Kate. I think the media needs to understand that Kate has had 2 children in 3 years! They're still small and she's not very high up in the "hierarchy" yet... why should she not take these few years she has to be with her children as much as she can. When her children are grown and she is Princess of Wales and eventually Queen (and when she is 80 years old and most of her peers are retired), she'll be doing more work. Really they're just working backwards and that is completely fine with me.

    Second, William does this air ambulance job FOR FREE. He donates everything he makes to charity. I think people tend to gloss over that. He has spent so much of his short life providing services in the military and helping people while also carrying out some royal engagements and raising his young family. Again, he's working backwards - when he's older, he'll be working more.

    Lastly, I do agree that the media and the palace have to cooperate with each other more but I think everyone just needs to learn their place. It has only been 5 years since a few superstars shot out and the media craziness over them (as a married couple) started. I hope they'll be able to work it out. I agree that William might be a bit too strict and can loosen up but he truly believes that the media had a hand in the death of his mother. How can you get over that? And now he has a wife and 2 young children to look after. I truly and sincerely hope that they can overcome this hurdle and understand both sides of the argument. I'm faithful that they will.

    I hope this novel of thoughts isn't too hard to understand. I've thought a lot about this in the past couple of weeks. But in the end, most people don't care and I think it really is the media blowing this out of proportion. Everyone will forget about it when William and Kate go to India I'm sure :) Again Jane, you are awesome. Thank you so much for writing this!

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    1. Very good points, Jane. Your lengthy post explains everything in practical terms. As someone who has followed the royal family for three decades, I wanted to say to everyone: know which bits are real and which bits are brewed to ripeness by the press. In my view, with no big royal event this year (the Queen's 90th isn't generating enough interest), the press are creating the perfect storm to keep royal stories relevant and therefore their own jobs afloat. Always happened and always will. They feed off readers' reactions. Being aware of such inner workings would benefit everyone. By this time in Charles and Andrew's marriages, serious strains and infidelities had already been reported. My goodness, these Cambridge "scandals" are nowhere near those dire situations. Keep calm and carry on!

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    2. Good point about William working for free, Alexandra. I also like your mention oder William working group backwards. I hadn't thought of that before, but it's so true. Not how most people choose to order their lives!

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    3. So true, Romy! The Cambridge family are just not scandalous enough to sell papers! Even this manufactured "scandal" is a bit boring. I mean, Oh. My. Gosh! Kate didn't hand out a fist full of grass to a soldier today! The monarchy may crumble!

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    4. All good points, ladies.

      Regarding the Queen Mother...different woman, different positions within the Firm, different generations, different priorities. Shall we compare the parental/family priorities of today (W&K) with past generations of the RF? Wouldn't the experts have a field day with that one!

      The Queen Mother was determined to be seen as being better for the monarchy than a brother and sister-in-law she despised. I am NOT minimizing her contribution, but in doing so she set her daughter, the Queen, up for what some may consider an unforgiving duty first and always path. Ironically, how different things might have been today if there was a healthier balance between duty and family. Duty is wonderful, but what about empathy, compassion, sympathy, being relevant, etc.? The QM may have put on her Sunday best to visit with victims of London bombings, but can you imagine W&K doing that today? Wouldn't they be seen as totally out of touch with reality and the people they were there to "support"? They'd be laughed at and dismissed on the spot. And I am not saying this to make fun of the QM, but the ongoing comparisons are silly. Can you imagine being compared to your spouse's great-grandmother and having her held up as an example to follow today?


      I think the Cambridge's are in a awful position somewhere between those who seem to think the monarchy should continue the way it has for generations and those who are quite irritated by what they perceive to be the wealth, power and privilege. To a degree, even with better PR, they cannot win. They really do need to continue to do what they think is best for the monarchy and their family and add a thick layer of Teflon to the roofs at KP and AH.

      Delete
  15. Alejandra RamírezMarch 16, 2016 at 11:14 PM

    Woa! May I say... Mega Congratulations Jane! I think this is by far the best opinion post you have ever written.
    You have made me change my perspective towards teh royals.
    I confess myself as guilty of thinking they need to do more, but after reading your post... OMG I was so wrong!
    The way that they live their lives does not affect us and we shouldn't let the media believe that just because they live a certan life, that will affect us too.
    What an amazing eye-opener and from the bottom of my heart, Thank you!
    I truly, truly appreciate it!
    Now I can be a Royal Watcher withour criticizing so harshly what they do and don't. From now on, I'll try to see the bigger picture and be on their shoes before saying something against them

    As for your opinion towards the press and candids, truer words couldn't be spoken.
    There has to be a balance between exposure and privacy, maybe in the following years, when the kids are older, we might see more of them.
    In any case, I'll do my best to prevent the media from influencing my opinions, thus making me judge them for the bad reasons.

    They do live a life of scrunity, of priviledge too, but at what cost?
    As Royal Watchers we have to think on the reason why we follow them? The answer will determine the type of fan we are.
    From now on I'll do my best to enjoy life, be happy for them and for the happiness they bring to my life and do my best to shut out the negativity.
    Oh and I will continue to follow your blog, because in my opinion it is one of the best (if not the best) because you give us both sides of the story and makes us think beyond the moment and look into the larger picture.

    So from a fan, May God Bless You Dear Jane and I'll continue to look forward to your blogs and all.

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  16. I think that W & K are going to throw out a lot of the engagements, traditions, etc. when they are king and queen. I think they will simply rewrite how things are done.

    Look at their track record now. Their views and personalities are not going to change. If anything, they will simply get deeper as they grow older.

    So, I do not believe this PR line that they are just enjoying the down time they have until the real work starts, nope. They enjoy their life now and will streamline their "royal duties" as king and queen, cutting out a lot of what Queen Elisabeth and Phillip do now.

    Nothing will ever be the same. They are just preparing the public for what their "royal duties" will look like when the time comes.

    I think it is complete BS that William will embrace doing all the official work that the Queen does now. He will cut it by 50%.

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  17. Great article, Jane! It's obvious that you took your time and thought out everything very carefully. You will be a brilliant lawyer! I agree w/most of what you say but have a few things to add about the press.

    My impressions are first: The press has invented this controversy and it's not going to endear them to the BRF. If they want more cooperation then they need to show the same respect to William, Kate, and Harry they expect to receive from them.

    Second: People seem to *want* to misunderstand William. There are some important facts to remember to understand his make up. The Queen became the monarch at age 25. She was instantly an absentee parent and her children were raised, as some people want W&K to do, almost entirely by nannies. As a result, her own children grew up into very dysfunctional adults. Scandals, affairs, divorces for 3 out of 4.

    One of those dysfunctional adults is Prince Charles. Has anybody wondered why he's so attention hungry? Why he couldn't stand attention drawn away from him by his beautiful young wife? Maybe because he never got the attention he needed from his parents. He was always closer to his grandmother and his uncle than to his parents. Sadly, he learned nothing from this He didn't become an engaged parent until Diana's tragic death.

    During his 1st marriage duty always came before his wife and sons. A glaring example is when William sustained a head injury as a boy and required surgery to repair the damage. C & D both went to the hospital from their already separate residences. Before William even entered surgery Charles left for an "official" engagement to attend the opera. Immediately following he got on a train and left town to attend some environmental conference up north. This is what kind of parenting "duty above everything" W&H experienced as young boys. As neglectful a parent as Charles was he was an even worse husband. Eventually W&H are children of a divorce and their world is turned upside down and splashed across the headlines of the world press. I can understand why William wants to protect his marriage and family and spend time with them.

    Third: The press loved Diana, they followed her everywhere, the cameras constant. She accommodated them for the most part but was criticized in Charles's camp-to the press-for taking attention from him. When her boys were going through a tough time during the divorce Diana asked the press to give them a little space. What she got in return from the press was the claim that she manipulated them and only allowed access when she needed them. It's why she took a year off and gave up most of her patronages. At the end W&H's world came crashing down when their mother was killed in a crash while being chased by paparazzi.

    Now, one example of the press knowing where William and Kate were going for their vacation-some photographer crawls into the bushes with a long lens and then photographs Kate topless while on a private estate. What do the papers do? Buy them and publish them. A couple of years later some creepy photographer drills holes in his trunk and puts a camera lens through it to follow them around trying to get pictures of George.

    Again, if the press wants the respect of having the family make themselves available, they need to show some in return. It is going to take William, Kate, and Harry a long time to trust them again. It's going to be tricky to rectify because they are not getting good PR advice. I think the photos from their ski vacation were a good compromise in their eyes and all they've gotten for their trouble is criticism about not letting the press know where they were going in advance. Kate misses one event one time, now she's a slacker. Really, what's to make them want to cooperate with the press?

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    1. Sarah Maryland USAMarch 17, 2016 at 8:46 AM

      They do show respect. Not one British paper has released pap shots of the children. Not one. Even though by law they have every right to do it

      Delete
    2. All good points, your comments are a good addition to Jane's post.

      Delete
    3. And they chose a safe British photographer to come along on the ski vacation and it wasn't good enough. It seems they can't win - not and have some degree of sanity in their lives. I'm not saying that if they are seen out and about in a public area, like Kate shopping, a photo isn't OK. It's the stalking and then the whining and complaining and all out smear campaign if the Palace says "back off" that's got this problem going. I am beginning to truly understand why Diana had her friends talk to the press for her.

      As for William's contradicting statements regarding wild life conservation - again bad PR. Whoever read that speech and said "go with it" didn't do their job. They need to fire whoever is in charge for them and find someone who can give better advice and begin to heal some of the bad feelings.

      Delete
    4. Sarah, I really do not see how you can say that the media has shown them ANY respect. It is a lot more than not releasing Papshots of the children to showing respect.

      Robin, I wonder if the " contradicting statement" again are the press taking what he says and miss construing what he says. I know there is a big distinction between endangered wild life and shooting pheasant and rabbits. Again the contraversary over the statement KP did say about the amount of work William could carry out in relation to his EAA job I can see as a misunderstanding. If you read the CAA regulations (which I did at the time) it says "work" if the CAA states now that a pilot can work outside of flying on his own time I can see how that KP might have misinterpreted the regulations but the media did not portray that was even a possibility and the attackers jump right to calling them "liars". I can also add I really question the safety of the CAA regulation that would allow any pilot to work extra hours at a second job, say something like a night gard, then get in a cockpit and fly a plane where it puts others lives at risk.

      Delete
    5. Well said Robin!

      I am exhausted from commenting on so many posts today! So thank you for your insight !

      Delete
    6. Sarah Maryland USAMarch 17, 2016 at 9:49 PM

      Reporting the fact that KP bungeled the rules about the regulations for flying is reporting facts not showing disrespect.
      Personally since the press are being treated badly I have no idea why they still go along with the no pap photo rule. I mean they keep getting trodded on by KP when in reality British papers have every right to publish a photo that was taken in a public place

      Delete
    7. Eva B, I really do agree with you that the press deliberately misinterprets many comments. They are trying to make their case against William and Kate right now so scruples seem to have been thrown to the wind. In this case though there are videos of some of William's speeches where he appears to contradict things he's said before. I think it shows a lack of judgement from their PR department or maybe the sign of being understaffed compared to other members of the family. There should be someone who reviews every speech and if there is a contradiction then he should be guided to rephrase. I'm not saying he should lie, I'm saying that he may not realize that the phrasing sounds contradictory. Or maybe he does have conflicting opinions. He wouldn't be the first person. But, since every single word he says is picked apart and scrutinized, he needs guidance in that area. He also talks about hot button issues where each side gets a little rabid about their particular point of view. The Air Ambulance job is another example of KP and their PR people not paying attention or becoming fully educated before issuing statements. I really think they need to start from the ground up and get a new person (or new people) to help out.

      Thank you, Diane!

      Delete
  18. Thanks Jane, you make some good points about the press that I hadn't considered before. As usual I agree with much of what you say!

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  19. Hi Jane, great blog! I'm British, I live in Oxfordshire, and grew up in Berkshire and although I don't share the view, I can try and explain the recent vitriol in the press surrounding the royals as I see it. Under our current right wing government, benefit payments for those out of work and those with disabilities has been brutality slashed. As a result, we have widespread and unprecedented use of food banks, and the highest rate of suicide and homelessness in years. In truth, the UK has not recovered from the 2008 recession, and the Tory Government are pushing through hard austerity measures to combat this. The monarchy costs the tax payer £37 million per year. I have no problem with this, they bring in way more through tourism, but you can see how on the one hand, those receiving hand outs from the government are left desperate, whilst on the other hand the Royals received a pay rise this year - all from the tax payer. The press are feeding off the 'us and them' mentality. I read somewhere that the gap between the richest and poorest in the UK is greater than it was in the Victorian age. I agree with you that a better relationship between the monarchy and the press could help to bridge the rift that has occurred of late. I don't blame the press, they are appealing to the millions of people who have seen their standard of living drastically reduced. In my view, the younger royals will have to step up if the monarchy is to survive in the long term.

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    1. Sarah Maryland USAMarch 17, 2016 at 8:45 AM

      Actully it was recently reported not one royal residence was in the top 10 list of historic sites visited by tourists

      Delete
    2. It must be difficult to see the home and land your family nutured and improved for many years, sometimes centuries, be taxed out of existence. There may be a Tory
      government, but the devastating inheritance taxes remain.The good news is, the public benefit from the families' need to put their homes and lives on display. Think about living your daily life publically.
      If you think the poor are worse off now than in Victorian times, you haven't read Dickens. The gap isn't
      greater-it is just more noticeable because of tv, internet, and tabloid tactics.
      The have versus the have nots indeed.

      Delete
    3. Maybe not royal residences but how many people these days would be all that interested in visiting St. Paul's or Westminster Abbey if they had not seen major royal events take place there? And the longest line at the Tower of London has always been the one to get into The Jewel House to see the crown jewels.

      Delete
    4. I am very familiar with Dickens, and I was not suggesting we will see a return to the work houses of the era, I was referring to statistics,the pay gap between the rich and poor, there have been numerous articles about this circulating for awhile now, such as this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16545898 and this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9330934/Britain-faces-Victorian-levels-of-inequality-says-Oxfam.html
      Here's another articles that's quite on topic: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/06/24/royal-family-revenue-cost_n_7651702.html

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    5. T.Miller-4:08- Interesting article. However, the first one only mentions Victorian
      standards in a headline. The body of the article does not expand on this. It is clearly meant to bring up images and comparisons to the poor of that time and thus
      incite emotional response. I believe this actually proves my point.Many people
      read headlines only.
      Secondly, the article is based on what one source PREDICTED a report would say.
      Not on what the report actually said.
      And interestingly, there is a reference in a box to an article that states that
      money will not solve the problems of poverty.
      Haven't made it to the second article yet.

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    6. Actually, T. I was referring to the Telegraph article. Not the first one.

      Delete
    7. OK Read the HP article-which is very supportive of the RF in a cost/benefit angle.

      Delete
  20. I totally agree with everything you've said, Jane. And I just wanted to clarify also that when I posted the link to Kate's gym outfit, it was just because I wanted you to write about all the items she was wearing and absolutely not because I think we should sniping about how much her workout outfit costs or anything like that :)

    So, this is a thought that I've had and I'd be interested to know what people think. The British press went on an anti-Kate-and-William rampage when the skiing pictures were released. I agree that Kensington Palace does not handle the press well but isn't there also a risk that after the slew of bad publicity following the release of official pictures that William and Kate will now be disincentived to frequently release more such photos? It's a tough one because obviously the press should say whatever it wants whenever it wants, but that was my main thought when I saw the negative publicity.

    On the other hand, I will say that I think William (and I assume Kate too?) have a hardline towards the press that is unsustainable. You're totally right Jane, not all paparazzi shots are created equal and there need to be a fair few of them floating around to keep the public happy. Shots of George and Carol at the beach or at the zoo,for example, are perfectly fine in my view - they're not a security threat, they're not intrusively close to the subjects and they provide the public with what is now an expected dose of the royals in their private time that no amount of officially released pictures can compete with.

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    1. Can I just add something here...There has just been a slew of bad publicity in the UK press and on social media about Kate missing handing out shamrocks to the Irish Guards today. Apparently, it's the first time in 155 years that a female member of the Royal family hasn't carried out this engagement and to be honest, it totally baffles me that she missed this. I understand that she's going to be away from her kids for two weeks on an official tour. But even if you assume that getting ready for this event, travelling there, carrying out the engagement, and travelling home would have taken all day -- and hence kept her from her children all day right before she leaves for a tour -- is this really the kind of engagement she should miss? It's not that she's been out and about every single day leading up to the tour and hence really had to cut something out in order to spend time with George and Charlotte.

      I don't have a lot of time for the carping in the media over the past few weeks about William and Kate but I have to say, on this occasion, I really do think she made the totally wrong call...

      Delete
    2. Not quite accurate. A little research shows the tradition of handing out the shamrocks wasn't started until 1901 by Queen Alexandra. The Queen Mother assumed the role later and Princess Anne at some point after her death. The ceremony does not take place during war time and on at least one occasion QEII had a non-female, The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, fill in while the guard was stationed overseas. Whoever does the honor is there at the assignment of Her Majesty who is their Colonel in Chief. William has fulfilled the role since becoming the Colonel of the Regiment. Kate, as much as we love her, has only been the window dressing in recent years, except when she filled in for William on one occasion which, I'm sure, was at the request of the Queen.

      Delete
    3. Georgia,
      The regiment has not existed for 155 years. It was raised in 1900

      Delete
    4. My mistake - 115 years, not 155 years! But regardless, I stick by my point - this is an event, in my view, that Kate should have attended and I struggle to see why she didn't.

      Delete
    5. OK, here's some fact checking:

      Since the regiment was founded in 1900 the shamrocks have been presented by a female member of the Royal family on all but two occasions: the first was in 1950, when King George VI made the presentation to mark the 50th anniversary of the regiment and the second was in 1989 when the regiment was based in Belize and the Queen Mother was unable to travel there and hence, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg stook in for her.

      So, in other words, it's only been on really unusual occasions on which a female member of the BRF hasn't handed out the shamrocks - which frankly is all the more reason why Kate should have been there.

      Delete
    6. Check some more, Georgia. The daughter if a member of the aristocracy, not a BRF
      member, handed out shamrocks for years, as well as a number of others who were
      not BRF members.This line of argument is meaningless, since we still don't have a
      reason that would account for the Queen and Prince Charles having significant
      appearances that day, which would have been totally eclipsed by a Kate event.
      As Eva said, BP and/or CH were obviously well-aware of the situation.
      At any rate, Kate isn't the only female BRF member. Where was Anne? Sophie? Beatrice? Eugenie? Zara?

      Delete
    7. I honestly am not sure what you're talking about - my point wasn't that the queen or prince Charles would be eclipsed by Kate's appearance but rather that there was no significant reason for another member of the royal family to take on the event as has been the case in the past. And that line of argument isn't meaningless and I stick firmly to my point.

      Delete
    8. For goodness sake. Some people will conclude Kate can do no wrong, others take a more critical view. TECHNICALLY is it a tradition or not? Who cares. REALISTICALLY was skipping it a good idea? Obviously not.

      Delete
    9. You said " ...a female member of the Royal family on all but two occasions."
      On two occasions,yes, I imagine the
      circumstances may have been" unusual." I honestly don't see the connection between
      those events and the current situation.Anne has filled in before. Why not this
      time? Maybe busy elsewhere? As all the other BRF females apparently were.
      The fact that William was virtually ignored in this ceremony proves that the
      press was only interested in Kate's appearance for her popularity, not because of the
      importance of the event because of Northern Ireland or because of a tradition.

      Perhaps time will give us a more accurate picture. Until then, I would hope
      we can refer to KP's actual words, not rumor and some writer's quote of "aides and sources." As KP said- Catherine enjoys the ceremony and looks forward to future
      appearances. Perhaps when other senior RF members aren't jostling for media
      space.

      Delete
    10. The irony is- Kate ended up dominating the headlines after all. The tabloids got their readers. One way or the other. It doesn't seem to matter to them how they get
      their money shots-good or bad Kate press. It brings the same response. Clicks.

      Delete
    11. Anon 10:23, a light bulb moment for me just now after reading your reference to jostling... On March 14th, Charles and Camilla began a six day tour of Balkan countries. I had seen the photos on Getty, but never considered the timing AND Kate not making an appearance on St Patrick's Day. Who knows... :)

      Delete
    12. Another occasion when a female did not present shamrocks was when the Queen Mother was 101 yrs old and Edward stood in. It's true  someone else COULD have done it if Kate wanted to go home but who would have been the one to ask someone else? Will? Unlikely he would. The Queen? Good grief, why woukd she want to get into that? Athough she works very hard I can't see Anne agreeing to do it since it could appear Kate took the job away from her in 2012. I agree this was handled badly as it does seem it was first said Kate was skipping this yr just so people would not expect it of her every yr. Then the kids were mentioned later when that didn't fly. Bad work KP.

      Delete
    13. lizzie-Kate didn't take away Anne's job.William did in that his becoming honorary
      Colonel brought Kate along as a bonus.There were very few husband-wife royal appearances before that, so it cannot be said it is a tradition.

      Right,it does SEEM it was first said-a royal writer started that story about expectations.. KP
      didn't initiate that remark and I highly suspect the un named sources and aides who
      supposedly came up with follow-up stories that were attributed to KP.

      I'll say one thing for certain royal writers-they threatened to make William pay
      for using Twitter to get news out (although all photos were also released to the press)and they and their friends and relatives, including some who have been airing press
      grievances on other blogs made good on the threats.,The run-up to this farce started with the first Twitter
      pictures and came to a head after the HP event. The ski holiday hullabaloo was
      anti-climatic.
      The royal writers have set themselves in a very poor bargaining position.They look like fools.They have printed misleading stories that were based on poor research
      methods at best and verging on outright lies at times. The public can be misled
      for a time, but best not he in the way once it finds it has been bamboozled.



      Delete
    14. royalfan 6:33- I'd like to take credit for your Edison moment, but I believe Eva
      first pointed out the coinciding senior royal events.
      anon 10:23

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    15. Thank you, 11:47. My apologies to Eva :)

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    16. Did you know the journalists who covered Watergate often used the term based on various sources....that just means people gave comment who did not want to be named...and if u remember i m pretty sure Woodward and Bernstein's reporting was accurate

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    17. I'd hardly compare William and Catherine's activities to Watergate, nor royal
      writers to Woodward and Bernstein. I saw the movie, too. I also lived through
      that era. W&B were in fear for their lives. That was the purpose for anonymity
      in that situation. I doubt anyone would risk death to report how much Kate's
      joggers cost or why she was not scheduled to assist her husband in the shamrock
      ceremony.

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    18. Anon 9:57, don't the supermarket rags do the very same thing? It works both ways. It can be true, or the "source" could be the person at the keyboard. :)

      Delete
    19. Still these sources could be people who work for the palace and that is why they don't want their name used
      Just because a Source isn't apefically.named doesn't mean it is made up

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    20. anon- 10:00- the point is accountability. If they aren't named,they are not held accountable for their statements. A false source isn't necessarily a made-up source.
      If some info is indeed coming from some palace source, the person can't be a close
      source who would be privy to private information or he wouldn't last long with
      William, I guarantee you.
      That just leaves hanger's on and wanna-bees giving out gossip,for whatever motivation.
      Diana and Charles/spouse may have leaked info to the media, but I don't think W&C
      would give out private information.

      Delete
  21. "Feeling angry that Kate can afford $300 track pants won't take them from her or give them to you, it will only rob you of your ability to enjoy life. " Halfway through reading this article but had to stop as I think this is the best sentence ever! Completely sums up all that is important - please keep writing!!

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    1. Loved that! I agree with everything Jane wrote but I must admit I loved this part the best. I follow the royals because I enjoy it, no one is forcing it upon me, it's interesting to imagine the seemingly fairy-tale-ness of it all. I respectfully admit that I am in no way bank rolling any BRF activities...I can't defend that but I do believe the royal family does good for many UKers who are marginalized. That must be worth something.

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  22. The Daily Mail admitted in an article that the British press are annoyed with William and Kate due to lack of access to them and the fact that Kate chose to edit the Huffington Post over a British publication. As such they're filling the papers with negative articles.

    However read any comments in the DMs Facebook page and you'll see 90% of the British public don't agree. They understand William works set shifts in line with rest days alongside his Royal duties and young family.

    The British press has always known Royals sell papers. They wrote awful things about Diana and it's only after her death she has this status as an angelic figure. We don't take our tabloids that seriously. They are annoyed, not the public.

    It's hardly surprising that Wiliam wants to protect His family from the way his mother was hounded, vilified and eventually killed by the paparazzi!

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    1. Ummm you forget that Diana welcome the media attention by writing a book with a member of the media and doing that interview bashing the royla family
      And people who worked back then she would often call reporters and let them know where she was or how she felt about Charles
      So please Diana was not an innocent victim
      And she wasn't killed by the paparazzi. She was killed by a driving who was drunk and high on pain pills who was speeding. Also Diana wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

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    2. I think the main point is that no matter how the press may or may not have been treating Diana at the time of her death, the media and the BRF were stunned by the outpouring of love and grief from the British people. They didn't understand nor comprehend how the actual "man on the street" felt. If they continue the "campaign" against W&K they are no more in touch with the people than they were in 1997.

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    3. Anon 11:14, if the Paps were not chasing them, they would not have been going that fast then crashed. Yes, drinking may have played a role, but if you take out the Paps they would not have needed to leave the hotel.

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    4. I don't follow. It was an AWFUL TRAGIC event for sure. But Dodi's father owned the hotel and they had a completely private suite there where they had dinner for a few hours (and easily could have stayed) and all the while Dodi's driver was getting drunk in the bar (while taking antidepressants and tranquilizers that don't mix with alcohol) Dodi apparently decided late at night they should go to his apt across town instead. At the time of the crash the car was going 100 mph and passengers weren't wearing seatbelts. Just how were D&D made/forced to leave the hotel?

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    5. They left the hotel for their own reasons not because of the paps.

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    6. I agree Eva. The paps were exonerated from coming in physical contact with the car to make it crash and the driver was drunk. The media are not completely innocent, however, because they were trying to outrun the photographers on the backs of motorbikes so they could shoot photos through the windows of the car. I believe they were complicit in that crash. I also feel like Diana was being used by the Fayed family to get back at the BRF. When Dodi had a private suite at The Ritz, where they ate dinner, why did they leave again. I have always believed that he was parading his conquest in front the public - at his father's behest.

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    7. Agree the press was not blameless..but I don't think the press forced them to leave the hotel. I suspect your last statement about Dodi and his father is true.

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    8. There were many factors that added up to a tragic night... Bodyguards unprepared to deal with someone of Diana's status (Dodi, on his own, was not a challenge); a boss (Dodi) making decisions and changing his mind which made the bodyguards' job even more difficult; a driver who had been drinking and had a catch me if you can attitude; no seat belts; and the paparazzi chasing the car and flashing away. One of the photos taken that night is chilling because, even though it was the middle of the night, the flash bulbs were so bright that you'd think they were seated at home on a sofa.

      All of the "ingredients" were unfortunate and, combined, they resulted in three deaths. But I do believe that without the paparazzi chasing the car, and a driver treating it like a game, they could have made it to Dodi's apartment safe and sound.

      I am NOT advocating or excusing drinking and driving (at all), but this was not the first time this driver combined the two. I'd bet on that. It was also not the first, or last, time someone did not wear seatbelts in the back of a limo.

      I cannot believe it has almost been 20 years since her death. To say that life is not fair is an understatement. At least in William's case, thank goodness Kate came along (and hopefully Harry will strike gold one of these days.) But imagine how William must be feeling to see another woman he loves being treated like this by the press. Control? Yes, I'd want some control if I was standing in his shoes...and lots of it.

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    9. I still have moments of disbelief that Diana is really gone. Every August on THAT day I just go blue. I am one of those that watched her marry Charles and followed her entire life. I also watched those boys walk behind her coffin. That was a very hard day for many of us.

      Many good comments and we can debate who is to blame over and over. It was just a series of many bad decisions by MAN people. Toss in the paps and a inebriated driver and you have ...well we know what we had in the end.

      For me I have always thought if Diana had kept her own bodyguards. ROYAL protection officers this probably would not have happened. I am not blaming her for dismissing them. She was trying to cut the cord. I just think they would have never NEVER allowed her to get in that car under those circumstances.

      All combined I totally understand how William might feel about the press when it comes to his family. He will never allow another tragic event like this to happen. So I agree with royalfan in that it makes sense and of course he wants control. ..he needs control! He grew up with little control in those early years watchingo battling parents....and then his Mother is killed. We maybe lucky to see anything of the Cambridges given the history.


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  23. Agree with some of your points,Jane but your argument on the necessity of the press for the survival of the monarchy is just plain silly. Monarchies have been around for thousands and thousands of years and in relation, the press is new to the game. Somehow, up until this last century, monarchies have managed to survive without anything written about their private or public lives for that matter. They are certainly NOT co-dependent. In fact, the public's fascination with the Royal families of the world seem only to grow in the anonymous mystique of their lives. In the Asian dynasties for example, the people never even saw their King but we're still very much aware and in awe of his presence. William and Kate are smart enough to read the writing on the wall of this social media age and are taking back the reins on their own brand. Considering what they have all suffered at the hands of the columnists, why wouldn't they jump at the chance to try to finish them off when their job has become so irrelevant. W and C now have the ability to connect directly to the public, why not cut out the middle man where there has been farrrr to many "lost in translation" screw-ups? Royal photographers will always have some relevancy but there really is no need for some many. Their ski trip photo session is obvious proof. Sure, we may have slightly less access but I for one am willing to sacrifice that for their good!

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    1. Sure, monarchies have been around for centuries, but generally those monarchies were real, as in, "L'État, C'est Moi." You don't need the press is you have real power. You don't need the press if you command your military on land and see. You don't need a press if people's fortunes rise and fall on your good will. But, in 2016 when you are a figurehead...yeah, you really do need the press. If the public doesn't find the royals sufficiently interesting, if the royals no longer draw crowds and generate the public interest that the British monarchy has in the last few decades, then they will grow irrelevant and eventually, they will be done away with. That's the sad reality.

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    2. Uh...claiming that monarchies have existed for thousands of years without the press is sort of silly. They existed in a completely different way. They were the government. Now there are elected officials, and nepotism no longer determines who runs the country.

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    3. Actually, the monarch does have quite a bit of power it's just that HM chooses to let the Ministers regulate instead. The two most important things the reigning monarch can do, if he/she chooses, is declare war (they are the equivalent to commander-in-chief) and they can suspend Parliament. In recent years the monarchy has relegated themselves to a ceremonial role but they still retain the power for many critical roles if they choose to use it.

      http://royalcentral.co.uk/blogs/insight/what-are-the-queens-powers-22069

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    4. I know she still technically holds power, but the reality is, if she chose to exercise any of that power, it would then be taken from her. I don't see her able to actually wield it in any significant manner.

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    5. The public obviously still finds W and K interesting it's just a question of where the access to them comes from and from their perspective it might as well be through their own channels instead of a vicious press pack.

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    6. Can they just take the power away from her? I think it might require a vote from the people to go to a republican style government. I think, deep in their hearts, most people in England are royalists. It would be interesting to know if they could seize her power and her lands without an all out coup. Maybe you can become our resident royal law expert, Jane! After you're finished figuring out the complexities of our American law that is.

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  24. The tale of 115 years of Royal ladies is not true. GeorgeVI did a turn, as did the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. William is the first British Royal Colonel and appears to be doing a good job--that is from pics on Royal Channel. So far the newspapers have no pictures on line.
    They want the Duchess there because she sells newspapers---not that they are interested in the Irish Guards.
    Catherine did the day's editorship with Huffington Post, because they asked her. Possibly she would have preferred it to be with someone else, but sadly they see female members of the family(except HM) as only interested in dressing up.

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    1. Oh, Jean, well put! And the press are such a contradiction of themselves. "Work shy" William is doing his job and he gets no press attention because Kate isn't there. Add to it the British press are lashing out at the Duchess because they didn't think about asking her to do an editorship themselves! Thank you for reporting from the front lines! ;-)

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    2. Thank you Jean! One of my thought this AM was "OK, I think I can perhaps see why Kate did not do the engagement with the Irish Guard. The media covered the Queen at the new Lion enclosure at the London Zoo and Prince Charles on his tour. I dare say had Kate been there to hand out the shamrocks the press would not have covered either engagement. I have to wonder if KP was told by BP or CH for William to do the engagement on his own. I actually think BP or CH was in charge of this and not KP, Will or Kate. It was then very telling that the press did not cover William at all, so my original thoughts may not have been that far off. Also very poor on the media's part to only be interested in Kate.

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    3. I will add to the irony. The British press suggests that their jobs depend on W&K's cooperation and, to punish the couple, they compare their diaries to that of other senior royals. Well, doesn't this mean that there ARE other royals and engagements to cover? Yes! But the problem is that the others don't sell papers or generate clicks the way W&K do.

      Diana's death left a huge void that no other member of the RF could fill. Not until Miss Middleton appeared on the scene as William's very attractive and photogenic girlfriend. She became their covergirl and for several years we were treated to headlines like "Waity Katie" and other mean-spirited references to the Middleton family. (Incidentally, some of this treatment of Kate and her family continues to this day. Surely, this must also contribute to William's protectiveness towards his family.)

      When the couple married in 2011, I think the press believed they had another C&D chapter to look forward to, but it was not to be. And when William's commitment in Wales came to an end, they did not expect the couple to move to Anmer rather than spending more time in the limelight. Oh well... The media, like some followers, is looking for the type of entertainment value that should be expected of reality stars. How many years has the Queen been on the throne?! And we are judging and dismissing this young couple 5 years into it? Really?

      And while I do agree that W&K's PR could use improvement, I also believe that this current tempest is being stirred by people who never truly supported the royal couple. Would it have been a wise PR move for Kate to attend with William? Yes. Will the monarchy survive in spite of the fact that she didn't? Of course. As I stated elsewhere recently, Charles didn't topple it when he concentrated on his personal goals so pleeease...!

      We are talking about the BRF. The monarchy has survived some very choppy waters and part of the current game plan, IMO, is to avoid making waves and detracting from what needs to be the main objective, and that is King Charles and Queen Camilla. Whether we agree, whether we think it could be done differently does not matter because the bottom line is that W&K are not in a position to call ALL of the shots. Do junior partners in a law firm determine policy? Or are they expected to put some time in and, initially, know their place (for lack of a better way of stating it)?

      For those of us who followed Diana in her day, and stand by W&K today, we can appreciate the tremendous asset this couple is to the Firm, and the great potential they have and will continue to build on as time goes by. Think about how dysfunctional the Firm was during the 80's and 90's...and look at how far they have come, with thanks to Diana's sons and their vision for the future...a vision they will have more control over in the years to come...

      End of speech...time for a glass of wine! :))

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    4. Agree Eva B.It's what I said last post. There's more to Kate's removal from the shamrock ceremony. than KP can explain. I said the royal schedulers would not cancel Catherine
      for a nursery party or R&R with the children (some rest-she has an engagement the next day), or some vaugue furure plan that was put out without the writer naming
      a reliable source.
      I also said people will believe what they find it convenient to believe.
      It absolutely amazes me how commenters on blogs and social media can vent such strong
      anger with so little varification.
      People don't give up their protection under the law when they become famous and I
      don't think being famous automatically exempts one from consideration under the Golden
      Rule. Which one of us could tolerate this? It is the same mean spiritedness that has
      led to teens taking their own lives. Actors and others in the public eye have
      admitted in interviews that such unfair, rumor-based criticism has hurt and
      sometimes devastated them.They don't have to personally read it to know it is
      out there.

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    5. royalfan, it is quite the contradiction the press has created for themselves. They claim they need W&K for the survival of their jobs and yet throw a massive tantrum and alienate the royal couple in the process. I also believe that all of this is stirred by those who want the monarchy abolished and, as we know, anyone who is anti-anything are always the loudest. I think those of us who were around all those years ago and closely followed Diana from her engagement through to the end of her life are the ones who are more supportive and understanding of William, Kate, and Harry. We've seen what the press can do for good or evil for far longer than those who aren't old enough to remember those Diana years.

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    6. Cheers to Robin, Eva B, Jean, Anon 10.26 and of course royalfan!

      I agree on all points! Not sure why so many fail to see the bigger machine as in the Charles and Camilla show as a driving force here. The Cambridges must never outshine the heir right now.

      I think I want that wine that royalfan said it was time for :)

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  25. Sarah Maryland USAMarch 17, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    Even though i disagree with some of your points (to me it does matter how William spends his time because he is trailed by very expensive protection officers and I think the more engagements he does the better because that gives him the opportunity to highlight more causes) I 100 percent agree. With you about your thoughts of the press
    I'm a former reporter and I've also been distressed by people insulting the media for trying to do their job. And saying the palace doesn't need them. And when anyone in the press says anything negative about the couplle it's obviously a lie. It is down right scary.
    Also, the PR from KP is awful. I know some might not be their fault because William nor Kate would listen but after being called work shy how smart was it for Kate to skip saint Patrick's day? Especially since she has gone every year since she got married and even went last year when she was 8 months pregnant.
    People use the excuse that Kate wants to spend time with her kids and that is fine. But she had three weeks until she goes on tour and that tour only lasts a week. So to me it wasn't too much to ask for her to stay with the kids in London for an extra day and spend time honoring heroes.
    People forget Kate has the use of KP and the children could've stayed there while she did the engagement
    Something needs to change PR wise.

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  26. Great job Jane! However, what I find interesting is the mail article. Jane please correct me if I'm wrong, but pretty much everything she's wearing (and that they are picking apart) she owned prior to her marriage. So, that means she's not spending taxpayers money on it, it also means that she has gotten her money's worth for these "large money" purchases. Which, with her rate of rewears, is a trait she has used and honed for a long time.

    and, the funniest thing to me....the author and/or editor clearly have not purchased a pair of sneakers in the last 10 to 15 years, the price of those shoes isn't at all overpriced as far as market value is concerned.

    just my two cents

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    1. And they took a sly dig at the fact that she paid 5p for her bag. Petty.

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  27. Excellent, well thought out post Jane. I benefitted from your mention of William's air ambulance job - I didn't know what to think about his supposed lack of working hours there but your opinion makes perfect sense to me.

    I have sometimes wondered if William might be tempted to "quit" the whole royalty gig. As you said, he doesn't need the money and I very much suspect he would prefer a quiet life with his family. My conclusion is that, even if he is tempted, he would never do it while his Grandmother is alive. By all accounts they are close and after she has given her life in service to her country I'm sure it would break her heart to see him turn his back on it. I'm sure William would never do that to the Queen.

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  28. While you correctly point out that William is "independently wealthy", we should not forget that his wealth comes from his inheritance from his mother's death, which came from her divorce settlement, which came from taxpayer money. Even the duchy of cornwall income is still money that would belong to the taxpayer if the monarchy did not exist. The very fact that this blog post was written is evidence of a serious PR issue. The very fact that royal fans who adore Kate and visit this blog are debating whether or not she works enough underlines the seriousness of that issue. I am a royal fan, but I have been cringing at the PR lately. It is unacceptable to skip an engagement to avoid creating the expectation that she go every year. There is nothing wrong with the public expecting annual attendance at this important event.

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    1. I guess it was not that important since no media covered it.

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    2. Princess Diana was wealthy in her own right. Not through divorce settlement from tax payers' money.
      I do however believe that it was a MASSIVE PR blunder for Kate to skip Saint Patrick's Day. It would have been better if they had moved the mental health day to another week in that case, if possible. I can understand that being away from the children for 3 days would be too much for everyone involved.
      Royal Watcher

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  29. Well said! I agree with you in it's a big case of $$$ (for the reporters and paps) and petty jealousy & covetousness (for the "have-nots"). If John or Jane Q. Public had the money W & K have JUST from what was left to him from his mother, I think they would be living just like the Cambridges. I KNOW I would! You will find jealous, small minded people anywhere. I can't believe the snarky, hateful comments directed at William & Kate. Do they not realize he WILL be THEIR king one day? I admire William and Kate and they have come along way in putting family and dignity and marriage first compared to his ancestors. Poor George & Charlotte though! My goodness, what are THEY going to have to complain about! :) Diana did a remarkable job with her boys!

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  30. Jane (Barr), regarding the need for some sort of rapprochement between the British press and the BRF, specifically, William and Kate, I can't disagree, altho I think it would be a mistake to go back to the old ways of doing things. I personally disagree, for example, with holding huge photocells when very young children are involved; hence, I must say that I heartily approved of the way that W&K handled their recent ski vacation. Forewarning the press before taking a family vacation, either verbally, or by returning to the same place at the same time annually, doesn't work, because some photographers will linger on trying to get big money shots/candids, no doubt raising Ws ire yet again. Certainly, to pull this off costs more, as going by public transport would also tip off the press.

    Back to the recent ski holiday. W&K did, after all, release several photos, of the sort that would've been taken by holding a huge photocall, which pleased the public--well, it pleased me, at any rate. What really has the UK press annoyed is the loss of revenue, and the fact that W released the photos on social media; the latter may have been a mistake. Perhaps it would've been better to release them to both, simultaneously, via an embargo, altho someone in the media would, no doubt, break the embargo, annoying the rest of the press.

    Some sort of accommodation must be made, however, since the UK press is also active on social media, and, in retaliation, could stir up a lot of negatives, re W&K; actually, they seem to have played this card, already, unfortunately. So why don't the tabs follow the example of Huff Post, get behind a cause which would appeal to W or K or both and invite them to participate?

    And, perhaps it might be a good idea to call a general meeting with the UK press, outlining, in general terms, what W&Ks plans are, re photocalls and access to their children, and, at the same time, listen carefully to the press, and any sensible objections they might have. This might require at least one follow-up meeting, after both sides have had time to adjust/tinker/come up with new ideas. And, I would advise W&K to be present, along with their staff, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. W&K should not leave this in the hands of their very young reps, who might mishandle things--conversely, if W&K express themselves in a confusing manner, their staff would be able to step in to clear up the message.

    The relative youth of W&Ks staff is worrisome--but cheaper for Charles--yet, this may also permit William, and hopefully Kate, to have a greater hand in the direction they want to take--and, why shouldn't they have this? The thing is that W,K, and their office staff have to be on the same page, and bungling must cease. If not, time for a change of staff?

    I do have the feeling that W likes to play games with the press; he isn't at all transparent in his dealings with same, and some transparency might go a long way toward honest cooperation. But what do I know?

    JC

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    1. I completely agree with you, JC, that they probably need a change of staff. I think they still need some youth on their staff, because they can't go back to the old school way of doing things, but those they have currently do not seem to be very good at what they do.

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  31. All I want to say is.... drop the mic. I agree, Jane! Thanks for taking the time to so thoughtfully pull together this piece.

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  32. Two points I don't think anyone else has mentioned:

    1. William needs to make sure he doesn't overshadow his father. If W&C are out in public, and C&C are out, who gets the press coverage? I assume his father would get jealous, if he isn't already.

    2. If William put in more hours as a helicopter pilot, wouldn't some people complain that he is taking a job away from someone who needs the salary?

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    1. Both very good points. They really can't win, can they?

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  33. If KP wanted to send the message that Kate would not attend every year, then it would have been better to have her skip the ceremony last year. Kate showing up last year, 8 months pregnant, fueled the expectation that she would come every year. After all, if you go to the trouble to make it a priority when you are 8 months along, then it seems reasonable for people to expect that she will make it a priority when there aren't as many perceived barriers.

    I suspect that there is more too this than her just wanting to stay home with the kids, but KP doesn't want to state the reason. For instance, if (like a previous poster suggested) George has something going on at school, they wouldn't want to tip their hand to photographers.

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  34. Thank you so much for this post Jane. It is every bit as thoughtful and balanced as I expected it to be. I agree with so much of it.

    I think William, Kate, and Harry have spent hours over many bottles of beer and/or wine in the last few years deciding what kind of royals they want to be. I don't think they are paddling their boat without direction. They want to make significant changes I would bet. The thing about the BRF is that it's all about protocol and tradition and history. Change can be made, but respect for those who came before must be paramount. I'm reminded of this most in HMQ decisions about Charles and Camilla. As long as Princess Margaret was alive, the Queen could not consent to Charles' marriage to Camilla. Poor Princess Margaret had been denied the love of her life because he was divorced - so for as long as she was alive, there was no way the Queen could allow Charles to marry Camilla. Once Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother were gone, the Queen relaxed that "rule" and allowed her son to marry for love, notwithstanding that Camilla was divorced.

    It is my belief (a very strongly held belief) that things will change remarkably once the Queen is gone, maybe even when Prince Philip is gone. Charles won't have a lot of time himself and I'm sure that he'll want to make changes. But because of his (relatively) short reign, the most change will be brought about by William and I will bet my last dollar that he's given that a great deal of thought.

    I agree with Jane. Less is more. The media age we live in today means that everyone lives in a fish bowl. The reason that everyone is so harsh with William and Catherine is because we know so much more about what they are doing (or not doing) than ever before. Too much information can be a bad thing.

    As to the press, I agree with you Jane, that peace has to be achieved; however, I object strongly to reporters who misquote for the sake of headlines. If they want to be respected, they need to use their power fairly. And I just don't think that many of the reporters that I used to respect have been fair here either. To me, this all started with the Huffington Post thing. The media has reported that as Kate "choosing" HP over British media. The fact is that HP brought a refreshing idea to KP and Kate took them up on it. But the reporters make it sound like Kate went to HP with the idea and chose them over the British press. So not fair. So not true. I keep saying it: if you have a great idea, float it and see what they do with it. But don't shoot down Kate because she recognized a good idea and worked hard to bring it off.

    Just my opinion.

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  35. Very nice post Jane. The British Press does have a function, but too often their aim is to make the BRF miserable by stirring up much-ado about nothing--just to sell headlines. And their justification seems to be that the British public foots the bill for their every action, and therefore has a "right to know" the mis-information they print.

    But it is not entirely true that British taxpayers foot the bill for their lifestyles. And even if it were true, they conveniently forget the value of the BRF to the British economy, which has been calculated to be in the Billions.

    In 1760, control over the "Crown Estates" was passed from the Monarchy to the UK Government. This is a huge holding of real estate, estimated as being worth $16B with an annual revenue of $500m. Parliament keeps the bulk of this, and pegs 15% of the revenue for the Monarch for Expenditures relating to her duties as Queen of the Commmonwealth--including upkeep of Royal (public) palaces.

    The only member of the Royal Family receiving taxpayer income from the Civil List, is Prince Phillip. Three of the Queen's children, and her remaining first cousins also receive income, but the Queen now reimburses the State for those amounts from her personal funds. Prince Charles and his children receive no income from taxpayers--although they may be reimbursed for expenses incurred while on Ambassadorial appearances.

    William's annual Pilot income of $61,388 is given to charity.

    William and Harry share investment income on the $10 Million left to them by their mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

    William, Harry, and Catherine share a $4.6 Million allowance from Prince Charles' Duchy of Cornwall estate, to cover their Kensington Palace Office Staff, their Official Travel, and Official Wardrobes annually.

    Anmer Hall is a private estate given to William and Catherine by the Queen. The Royal Family pay for renovations and upkeep from their private funds. William and Kate pay for their own personal staff, such as Nanny, Housekeeper, Hairdresser etc...

    Kensington Palace
    - William and Catherine (and other Royals historically) are granted grace-and-favor Apartments in this public property, which itself generates income from rentals and tourism.
    - Members of the BRF pay annual property taxes on the value of their homes.
    -The £4 Million cost of restoration of these long vacant apartments, was paid out of that 15% annual amount the Queen gets from the Crown Estates mentioned above. The work included a new roof, new electrical and plumbing throughout, and asbestos abatement.
    - William and Catherine "paid privately" for all internal furnishings, including carpets and curtains.

    The one legitimate claim that is made to taxpayer cost of the BRF is that of Security detail on heirs to the British Throne. However, part of the current cost would remain if the BRF were no more, as their replacement heads of state (and their families) would likewise require security.

    It is true the BRF is changing, the press and politicians are gradually chipping away at their support. The Queen's public funds have been locked in place (despite inflation), and are increasingly reduced to the point they can not pay for similar needed renovations to Buckingham Palace. The Queen has even had to cancel her annual Staff Christmas party.

    British politicians want control of all funds related to the BRF, and they're going to need them if the BRF, and the Billions they bring to the British Economy ever goes away. Likewise, the British press will no longer be able to hound the BRF to sell headlines, as they will then be Private citizens.

    Belle

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    1. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner stated last year that providing personal security cost £100 million---but that included besides the royals, ambassadors; Cabinet Ministers and certain former Cabinet Minister (eg all former Northern Ireland Secretaries of State).
      Even taking that into account, there is still £100million from Crown property that goes into the Treasury Coffers.

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  36. My two cents worth as a long time royal watcher (I started when I was 11 when Queen Elizabeth made a visit to the US and have been following for 30+ years):

    I'm not sure I'd write off the monarchy yet. I've seen much, much worse for the British royals as well as some of the other royal families.

    It's a slow period; something will happen (like the tour of India/Bhutan, Queen's 90th birthday, birthday photos of Charlotte and George) and the press coverage and tone will change.

    A few days, weeks, months, years or decades (as in the case of Charles) do not an end of the monarchy make.

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  37. Thank you for writing a very considered and well measured piece. I would strongly suggest it does matter how much W&K work. They are in a position where there work can shape the national discourse. The public have invested in them both emotionally and financially. There are expectations. Kate's decision to miss the St patricks day parade maybe insignificant in the grand scheme of things but think what message snubbing them brave men and woman in uniform sends out in the short term. Was there really no happy medium where she could have attended the parade and spent the rest of the day with her children? Right now we need Kate to reciprocate all the love and warmth her country has shown her. Is she patriotic enough? Does she have The Queens sense of duty? The jury is out. What I do know is alienating the British media will not help matters. Quite frankly W&K have shown much disdain to the UK press who by and large have always shown restraint and respect in covering the couple. Bypassing the British press by sharing photos through Twitter betrays the fact that the UK media refrains from using paparazzi images. Indeed as we all know foreign media has even broken embargoes and revealed photos first. Why does the foreign press deserve parity when they dont play by the rules? Where is KPs recognition of the British press's cooperation? Furthermore I also disagree with Janes argument that W&K need the paparazzi. The paparazzi have caused W&K to withdraw and greatly hindered them from embracing their roles. Such is evident. As previously stated the British press does not publish pap images they are overwhelmingly sold abroad. Why is that an arrangement of such importance? Why is the readership of French Closer, Bild and PopSugar so important that they must take precedent over the sanctity of a young family? If we the British public can go without blurry photos of George and Charlotte surely they can? Will and Kate lose me on many issues but I dont believe their desire for privacy is misguided nor is it too much to ask. Nor is it too much to ask that W&K work more. Really it is defeatist to suggest they cant. Thanks again to Jane for a great blog. I remain a huge Will and Kate fan despite my growing scepticism and only hope that I am proven wrong. But first and foremost I hope that Will, Kate, George and Charlotte are allowed to live purposeful and dignified lives as a happy family!

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    1. Yes - I completely agree with your comment. Thank you for articulating it so well.

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  38. It'sAboutMoreThanClothesMarch 18, 2016 at 12:07 AM

    Brava Jane for another magnificent and well-reasoned post.
    However, reading these comments has been quite depressing.
    Lessons learned (or to be learned?):
    Can you blame William and Harry after what happened to Diana? And is anyone surprised that Harry hasn't married yet? Not many women who are qualified for the number 2 role would want to subject themselves to this buzz saw of criticism. Let's hope we never see a reprise of the Sarah and Diana saga, nor Chelsea and/or Cressida in the role of Camilla.
    But their PR strategy needs an overhaul. Learn from the Scandinavian royal families. Release your own pictures to the media at the same time or shortly after you post to social media. Jane is right about the precarious status of conventional media. If they go out of business, the media will consist of anybody with a cell phone who says anything they want, whether or not it's true, with no accountability.
    Re the stats about visits to the top 10 historical attractions in Britain: how many of the top 10 are associated with royal history? I'd be very surprised if the answer was zero. Tourists have short memories. If there is no relationship to someone they see doing glamorous things today on the internet, for many it's not worth visiting.
    Re hunting: does the middle class in Britain hunt? There seems to be a vast knowledge deficit in those who equate killing elephants with hunting game and fowl.
    Population of the latter needs to be managed so that woodlands and wetlands are not decimated. This mean. s sometimes people can hunt, and sometimes they can't, depending on the status of the wildlife population. Conservation of woodlands and wetlands as animal habitat is critical in preventing further climate change.

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    1. I would hate to see Harry in the same position the whole Fergie thing created. I've heard (although there is no way to know for sure) that Chelsea's friends said she did not want the restrictive royal life that came with Harry and that was the main reason for the break-up. Now that he's a little older and seems to have stopped dating the party girls I hope he can find a Kate for himself.

      After the claim of the top visited places in the UK I did a little research and found the list from the official Visit Britain site. There were a couple of zoos, Stonehenge (of course), and a few other things but three of them, in my mind, wouldn't be of much interest without the historic British royal families and the recent ones. Those were St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and The Tower of London. You can read the list here:
      https://www.visitbritainshop.com/world/articles/top-10-english-tourist-destinations/

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    2. When I was young I went to Europe on a "tour" organized by a local university. I visited those sites mentioned in London, took a trip down the Rhine in Germany to see the castles, saw Versailles in France, palaces and religious sites in Italy...I think it is impossible to predict future UK tourism if there was not a current royal family or to know for sure why tourists have visited where they have in the past. Like with anything else, either side can make its argument but we can never know what would have happened in the past if things had been different. It's like politics in the US...each party takes credit for good things and claims they would not have occurred without that party's actions and each party blames bad things on actions of the opposing party. But the vast majority of thetime we can never know for sure what would have happened if a different path had been chosen.

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    3. Lizzie, I think the monarchy plays a huge role in tourism. Huge. In my case, my first visit to London was during my college years. I fell in love with the city and continue to visit for that reason, but initially the royal family was the motivating factor. To this day, I get goosebumps as I walk down The Mall towards BP. :)

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    4. If ever there is an award given for Greatest Royal Fan it would be between you and that delightful fellow who dresses up in the Union Jack for royal births and like events,
      royalfan. Your approach is more subtle, but often at least as effective, I would say.
      You give your opinion with sincerity, wit, and kindness and I have enjoyed
      following you as I follow Kate.

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    5. I can picture the man's face, Anon 1:43! :))) And I thank you for the very kind words. More often than not, I imagine people thinking, "Here she goes again..." ;)

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    6. I have to admit to being a little bit jealous, royalfan, of your visits to London.
      I've only ever been to Toronto.Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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    7. I hope you are able to visit one day. :)

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    8. On my bucket list, royalfan. Second after the Irelands..

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  39. Bravo Jane - posts like this are why I read your blog. You expressed me sentiments exactly. I really think they are in a no win situation. No matter what they do, the media and some folks will always find fault. I am finding it hard to understand the angst over the St. Patrick's Day parade. William represented the royal family - why is that not good enough? There has been much written about the fact that while most of the time the Queen delegated it to a female member of the BRF, it has not always been a female member. There are documented instances in the past where male members of the BRF passed out the shamrocks. William is the Colonel of the regiment and it was totally appropriate for him to attend. Kate had an engagement this morning in Norfolk so they obviously made a decision to divide and conquer as most couples do when there are multiple commitments to be handled.

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    1. The St. Patrick's day event was a military event, and the excuse Kate gave as to why she wasn't going to do it felt feeble. Basically she just didn't want to set up the expectation, yet the military has a difficult job to do, imagine if they decided to just do thing differently? There is already enough us vs. them in regard to money, I don't think people begrudge them their palaces and finery in life, but when it comes to something like the military that protects the country, I think she should have stepped up.

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    2. Why is it not possible to visit the Irish guards and the other day Each?

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    3. The palace never said Kate didn't want to set the expectation that she would not do it every year. That sound bite came from a royal reporter. This is how fiction becomes fact in people's minds. The palace said that due to her engagement in Norfolk on 3/18 and obligations with her children, William was going to hand out the shamrocks. It wasn't like no one from the BRF showed up - William is the Colonel of the Irish Guards! I think it is a stretch to say that the Irish Guards were ignored on St. Patrick's Day.

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    4. Well said, anon 8:29-I am curious, however. Did KP actually print that or was it also from unnamed "sources and aides?"

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    5. There is ZERO reason Kate couldn't have done the saint Patrick's engagement than gone to Norfolk later that day. She could've done both engagements they were on different days.

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  40. To the point I made earlier about some of the press not being in touch with the "man on the street" - have a look at today's video of Kate in East Anglia. See what the British citizens feel about William and Kate - and even one of the royal photographers. I know Jane will cover the fashion piece of it later but Kate's kindness and the goodwill she and William generate is fairly obvious.
    http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/topic/duchess-of-cambridge/

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  41. Very interesting post and very interesting insight from the comments - I changed my mind back and forth as I read through them!

    I guess in the end, to me, it's a shame that William's life has been such that W&K's ability to use their status to 'do good' is a bit constrained by his relationship with the press and his need to finally have a healthy home life. They could spend more time out and about highlighting important causes and use their voices more often to speak about injustice. I understand that they don't want to give up their personal lives but the frequency with which they use this role feels, to many people, like it's a waste. I can understand that. I think I would behave differently in the role but who can judge.

    At the end of the day I think this is exactly what you've diagnosed, Jane - a tempest in a tea pot.

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  42. In my point of view they are just being too freaky about privacy. Nobody would be caring if he was working or not, if they had bother to do a public photo shoot while on the ski trip. It's what every royal family does! It is what William used to do. British press is not allowed to print paparazzi photos of them, and as far as I know that are fulfilling their part of the agreement. It's one thing to be private, it's another to want to control the whole thing.
    Have you realized we won't have any cute espontaneous videos of George and Charlotte as kids, like the ones we have of William and Harry? Would it hurt to have the media on their backyard for Easter or Christmas or any special date for a 20 minute photo shoot? I don't think so - t would only show how lovely they are.

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    1. They shared lovely family photos from the ski trip. Other than the CHILDREN'S experience being quite different if they had been faced with a wall of photographers taking photos, I do not understand the difference from our perspective. Kudos to them, as parents, for having their children's best interest at heart.

      Delete
  43. Thank you so much for this post. I love the community you've built here and I enjoy your writing.

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  44. I must say that I have really enjoyed reading everyone's comments on a weightier subject than how Kate looks. I enjoy the fashion too, but everyone made great points today. It shows Will and Kate that we care about them; we just hope that they care that we care.

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    Replies
    1. HL,I think they do care. :) More than they are given credit for...

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    2. I hope they also get a chuckle or two out of some of the truly outrageous stories
      that are printed. Some of them are laughable. Not even associated with facts.
      Just rumor passed from source to source until it is accepted as fact and nobody
      cares where it originated. It sells papers.
      Hopefully, in view of two lawsuits won recently against online privacy violations
      of high-profile targets-this practice may become less lucrative.

      Delete
  45. Sonja from BavariaMarch 19, 2016 at 7:52 AM

    Somehow, you always manage to use photos of Kate that I have never seen, like this pic of Kate in the black and White Dress!

    I agree with your Point of view. Many critics are simply overreactions and the Cambs are still some of the most popular British royals. But you are right, improving the palace's relationship with the press is especially important! I don't have anything more to say, you already took the words out of my mouth, Jane. This recent storm will be over soon (hopefully).

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  46. The DM has another article attacking Kate, another on Diana, and a flattering one about C&C. Call me cynical, but I don't think any of this is coincidental.

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  47. A tempest in an Emma Bridgewater teapot! Sorry, I could not resist :)

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    Replies
    1. Ha! That should be Kate's attitude, Jay. "I have a lovely pattern or two to go with that." ;)

      Delete
  48. 'Kate is lazy, Waity Kaity, The Duchess of Doolittle.' I'm very sick and tired of the complaining on Kate's work ethic.

    In the years before her marriage, she works at her parents business. Why is that? For the privacy. Everytime she moved outside there waited photographers for her. When William was away for a training, she could work at her parents business. When he came back home, she could take free time too spend time with him. So what? Okay, she hasn't have an amazing carreer path but why does that matters? I know a lot young woman that have a 'simple job'.

    If you have a relationship with the future King of England you will be second place. Here main job is to support her husband. It's old-fashion but it is what it is.

    She want too bring her childeren up like her own mother. Carole was a stayed-home mum. She had a business that she managed from home. But she was there all the time for her childeren.

    George and Charlotte have both a difficult future. They are royals. Thats a destiny they didn't choose for. There are worldwide famous kids, role models and have 24/7 protect officers around all their lives. The pressure is very heavy on their shoulders. One misstake they make, the media will blowout.

    But the good news is they are now carefree childeren. A good childhood will make them stronger adults. A close and warm family is what those children need.

    I think that is the reason Kate has a very low profile. I think her work ethic will envolve when her children are older.

    I don't care how much money she spend, I won't trading shoes with her. She is a very isolated lady. Let her go on a vacation if she have there her privacy.

    Despite all the critism, she stay smiling on the pictures. And that is how she handle it more then a decade. And that shows what a strong woman she realy is.

    (Sorry for my English, I'm Dutch)

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    1. Your comment is very clear and I completely agree with you. :)

      The Cambridge's have so much to offer and they are an asset to the monarchy. This is just too much now and it isn't about one engagement. KP may not be doing a very good job in the PR department, but it doesn't mean W&K deserve to be undermined to this degree.

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    2. Kate can still be there a lot for her children and contribute more. Case and point was saint Patrick's day. She could have had the kids waiting at KP for her and William to finish the engagement than they could've gone to Norfolk together
      She has three weeks before she goes on tour to spend with her children and when she does go on tour it will only be for a week!
      Spending a few hours honoring those who serve their country is not much to ask

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    3. anon 4:33- not only do you use English eloquently, you have a marvelous Queen!
      Maxima.She and the King seem to have a matured version of William and Catherine's
      marriage.
      My Mom used to talk about Queen Wilhelmina and later I followed the young princesses-
      Beatrix was one.Your country is known for strong women and obviously you are one.

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  49. I don't agree with your point of view. Saint Patrick's day won't be an annual occasion for Kate.

    Yes, she has three weeks before her tour, but Saint Patrick's day is a holiday. George didn't have too go to school. It's a extra full day free with her little boy.

    She could have take her kids to KP but how many paparazzi waiting everytime for her? The last weeks she's photographed two times by the helicopter. On the pictures you can see, she noticed the photographer.

    She released pictures of her ski-holiday for a reason. In the hope paparazzi will back off. It won't happen. Even in her hometown her kids get photographed.

    Before their marriage it was clear this couple will do things different. Some things are appreciated (recycling outfits, showing affection in public, their self-made photographs, choice to raise their children a normal way)

    And some things disapoint people.. (very private, breaking traditions : like Saint Patrick, slamming Christmas at Sandringham, not much information about the kids)

    William is a very protective husband and dad. Kate has a low profile and I think he will keep it that way. His mum Diana was extremely popular. She showed up daily in the news, she talked a lot, people made up a lot of story's. Diana was a wonderful person but we all know how this tragic story ended...

    Kate has a low number of engagements, we don't know anything about her everyday life and she never talk about the palace or her struggles. Her image kept 'boring' by the palace. But this will keep the paparazzi harrasement to his lowest level.


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    1. But George NEVER has to go to school. He is much too young also to notice if he is kept home from school on a "school day" as he only goes a couple of days a week for a few hours and he's too young to grasp days of the week. I'm also not sure the private nursery school was closed Mar 17. Last week posters here were hypothesizing there might hàve been a St Pat's party at the school.

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    2. But George NEVER has to go to school. He is much too young also to notice if he is kept home from school on a "school day" as he only goes a couple of days a week for a few hours and he's too young to grasp days of the week. I'm also not sure the private nursery school was closed Mar 17. Last week posters here were hypothesizing there might hàve been a St Pat's party at the school.

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    3. What do we know about George's schoolweek? Nothing. We know nothing about his daily life. If there was a party on the Montessori school doesn't mean that he attended the party.

      Fact is that Kate will not attend Saint Patrick's day every year. It's confirmed by the palace. We can speculate what she has done on that day but It's her private life.

      Delete
  50. I was hoping you would write about this topic, Jane! Thank you so much for your wonderful insight and thorough explanation.

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