Less than 24 hours to go before Prince William touched down in New Zealand, his two-day visit was attracting “little fanfare”, according to local media.
The editor of the NZ edition of Woman’s Day magazine, Sido Kitchin, went so far as to admit to a radio station that while her publication would follow the visit, it wouldn’t “be the same” without his family with him.
Understandable. As head of Team Cambridge, William is a rock star dad with a worked-out physique, glamorous wife and adorable children. He’s rich. He’s well dressed. He’s got it going on, albeit with gritted teeth (exhibit A below.)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pleased to share a new photograph of their family.
The photograph, taken by Matt Porteous, shows The Duke and Duchess with their three children at Anmer Hall, and features on Their Royal Highnesses’ Christmas card this year. pic.twitter.com/6XqCMlhLi8
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) December 14, 2018
But solo, he loses his lustre.
At best – based on interviews where his stolid persona, mild charisma and stock-standard intellect are on show – he’s just another pleasant schmuck with a desk job he hates who lives for the weekends.
He’s like his dad Prince Charles was without Princess Diana by his side. Important but dull. Nothing to see here.
Thing is, the future king of England probably wholeheartedly agreed with the lacklustre response to his NZ visit (although his hongi with PM Jacinda Ardern was a ripper photo op.)
After being enlisted at short notice for the long, long journey to lay an Anzac Day wreath and pay royal respects to the survivors of the Christchurch mosque massacre, William had to rejig his schedule.
On son Prince Louis’ first birthday on April 23, the duke choked down an early breakfast with wife Kate Middleton, 37, and children Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and Louis at the family’s Norfolk bolthole.
Then he headed off to catch his flight and go to work.
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On #AnzacDay we remember the servicemen and women of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who have served their nation in times of war. Today The Duke of Cambridge attended the Anzac Day Civil Service at @AucklandMuseum with New Zealand Prime Minister @JacindaArdern. The Duke of Cambridge is visiting New Zealand on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen on Thursday 25th April and Friday 26th April, at the request of the Prime Minister of New Zealand. During the visit, The Duke will pay tribute to those affected by the Christchurch mosques terrorist attack, and will recognise the incredible empathy and unity displayed by the people of New Zealand in the weeks that followed. #NewZealand #Anzac #AnzacDay #LestWeForget
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William is hardly the first person to miss their kid’s birthday to earn a crust, but the balancing act between that and the 36-year-old’s professional world has never been so delicate.
His grandmother Queen Elizabeth, 93, is cutting back her workload. His father, 70, is obsessed with his passion projects.
And his wingman brother Harry, 34, has decamped to Windsor (and possibly Africa) to set up his own brand with wife Meghan Markle.
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Today is #earthday – an opportunity to learn about, celebrate and continue to safeguard our planet, our home. The above, Their Royal Highnesses in Rotorua, New Zealand. Of the 170 different species originally planted in the early 1900’s, only a handful of species, including these majestic Redwoods, remain today. Next, we invite you to scroll through a series of 8 photos taken by The Duke of Sussex©️DOS sharing his environmental POV including: Africa’s Unicorn, the rhino. These magnificent animals have survived ice ages and giant crocodiles, amongst other things! They have adapted to earth’s changing climate continually for over 30 million years. Yet here we are in 2019 where their biggest threat is us. A critical ecosystem, Botswana’s Okavango Delta sustains millions of people and an abundance of wildlife. Huge bush fires, predominantly started by humans, are altering the entire river system; the ash kills the fish as the flood comes in and the trees that don’t burn become next year’s kindling. Desert lions are critically endangered due partly to human wildlife conflict, habitat encroachment and climate change. 96% of mammals on our 🌍 are either livestock or humans, meaning only 4% remaining are wild animals. Orca and Humpback whale populations are recovering in Norway thanks to the protection of their fisheries. Proof that fishing sustainably can benefit us all. Roughly 3/4 of Guyana is forested, its forests are highly diverse with 1,263 known species of wildlife and 6,409 species of plants. Many countries continue to try and deforest there for the global demand for timber. We all now know the damage plastics are causing to our oceans. Micro plastics are also ending up in our food source, creating not just environmental problems for our planet but medical problems for ourselves too. When a fenced area passes its carrying capacity for elephants, they start to encroach into farmland causing havoc for communities. Here @AfricanParksNetwork relocated 500 Elephants to another park within Malawi to reduce the pressure on human wildlife conflict and create more dispersed tourism. Every one of us can make a difference, not just today but everyday #earthday
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The Sussexes’ split has put pressure on the Cambridges. Recently, Kate’s private secretary wrote to a Lord Lieutenant who had requested a visit, explaining the duchess is increasingly “selective” when planning engagements, according to The Telegraph.
The reason? She wants to be as hands-on as possible with her children.
The perception that William would himself rather be at home than shaking random hands and is facing his destiny with “reluctance” was put directly to him in a 2016 BBC interview.
“I’m concentrating very much on my role as a father. I take my duties and my responsibility to my family very seriously. If I can’t give my time to my children as well, then I worry about their future,” he said.
While insisting he would be “the first person to accept” more work from the Queen, “I certainly don’t lie awake [waiting to be king] or hoping for it because it sadly means my family have moved on.
“And I don’t want that.”
As a 14-year-old, William told his mother Diana he “really didn’t want to be king,” a TV special on the royals alleged, with British journalist Jeremy Paxman saying the Princess of Wales told him that over a 1996 lunch.
Of the millions of photos ever taken of the duke, he’s rarely looked completely relaxed or happy. When he speaks – unless it’s about his family – he’s businesslike, verging on terse.
Two years ago, he and Kate told BBC Radio 1 they love ordering Indian takeaway, watching Game of Thrones, use their phones “far too much” and want to go to British music festival Glastonbury.
Like real people!
It was fabulous, but not as good as the grainy 2017 video of William grooving – the only word that can capture it – at French ski resort Verbier on a boys’ weekend. His ‘raising the roof’ moves are the closest the world has ever seen of him being himself.
Look out for the original gangster in the blue shirt.
He was panned as ‘daggy dad’, but he was awesome.
This is the real William. Natural. Feeling it. The man he is behind closed doors. The one he should channel more in public.