In many ways, they were like any other family photo that could be shared – a happy father relaxing with his children just as happy.But the images that marked Prince William’s 38th birthday – which, coincidentally, fell on Father’s Day this year – carried broader symbolism.
“These photos portray William’s role as the next generation father of the front and center of the royal family,” said Toronto author and historian Carolyn Harris.
It was an additional cement of the image emerging around him as No. 2 in the line of succession, after his father, Prince Charles. And in that, there is also another reminder of how William’s life differs from that of his younger brother, Prince Harry, with whom he was so close as they grew up.
This sibling relationship has been the subject of widespread speculation, especially after Harry’s wedding in 2018. This is speculation that should only increase when a new book arrives this fall.
Battle of the brothers by Robert Lacey, a royal biographer who serves as a historical consultant for the Netflix series The crown, is expected in October. On his website, Lacey said he was “amazed” by the new details and new information he had found while researching “this story of family conflict.”
According to the book’s synopsis, the past 18 months have seen a “devastating break” in the “once unbreakable bond” between William and Harry, and “seeds of damage were sown as their parents’ marriages collapsed.”
Certainly, William and Harry started close.
“There was no one else who could truly understand what they had experienced … after losing their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, at a young age and … also growing up in the spotlight,” said Harris.
Of course, there were signs that their lives would eventually diverge. Harry, for example, served in the British military in Afghanistan and had a more active military career, while William had less active experience as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.
Later, when Harry and his wife, Meghan, parted from the charity efforts they shared with William and his wife, Kate, it seemed like they could move further.
Media speculation has suggested that there may also have been friction over William warning Harry of the pace at which his relationship has developed with Meghan.
Whatever happened between the brothers, it would hardly be the first time that a relationship between royal siblings would take a turn.
“Often the experience of the heirs to the throne tends to diverge from that of the younger royal children,” said Harris.
Go back three generations, and there is the relationship between the future Edward the eighth and his younger brother, the future George the sixth. They were close when they were young, but found themselves further apart, especially after Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 and his younger brother ended up with the crown.
“There is a lot of tension between the two brothers in this particular case, which has been exacerbated by the abdication crisis,” said Harris.
Come back to the present day, and other forces may also be at work in scrutinizing the relationship between William and Harry.
“There is a feeling that the royal family is going through a period of transition due to the very long reign [of the Queen] and at some point there will be a change, “said Harris.
And with the transition comes additional external interest, she suggests.
“There is some consideration of the royal family in terms of what will happen in the future,” she said, “and there is certainly an interest in Charles and William and what they are, not only in terms of their public duties, but in terms of fatherhood and their relationships with other family members. ”
A royal return
Our CBC colleague Renée Filippone reported recently from London on what awaits the royal family after isolated months:
He was back at work for some members of the royal family after spending the last three months trying to stay relevant online.
Prince Charles first walked in the door with a remote visit to a Gloucestershire hospital. There, he revealed to health workers that his sense of smell and taste were still not back, after fighting the coronavirus in the spring.
Other members of the royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have made public appearances – Prince William in a bakery joking about the number of candies he ate and Kate visiting a garden center.
For months, the royal family traded handshakes for hashtags to communicate with their audiences during the pandemic. A social media expert says the pandemic strategy has been successful.
“The royal family is always trying to reinvent itself,” said Diana Young, a London-based marketing consultant.
By posting videos and participating in video calls, the royal family let people in and that’s exactly what the public needed, said Young, founder of digital marketing agency WeSocialis.
“They want to see real people and realize that they are going through the same thing we are going through. ”
The youngest members of the royal family have been using social media successfully for years, but Prince Charles has only adopted it in recent months. The likes on his Instagram posts have gone from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. A British newspaper called him “King of Instagram”.
“For me, the real point to remember is that the royal family is now able to manage their reputation online,” said Young.
Royalty can choose to keep certain things virtual because they are easier to control than traditional media, she said.
And this is just a small post-COVID change from what royal biographer Andrew Morton predicts – especially for the 94-year-old queen.
“The brutal truth is that his reign is indeed over,” he said in a recent interview with The telegraph.
Morton believes it may take months or years before he can make royal engagements in person.
“COVID-19 did more damage to the monarchy than Oliver Cromwell. Corona practically put Charles on the throne, “he told the Telegraph.
But not everyone agrees that the queen’s reign is over.
“You don’t necessarily have to start talking about words like Prince Regency and abdication just because the Queen is not able to do some of the opposite work now,” said Camilla Tominey, editor Deputy of the Telegraph.
She said that the Queen was present during the pandemic. The monarch made a rare TV address in April and appeared on a recent Zoom call in honor of caregiver week.
“I think they actually turned a crisis into an opportunity, they showed that they were on time. They have modernized. I think the digital output was good and welcome, ”said Tominey.
$ 56,000 and more
When Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, lived on Vancouver Island, questions were asked about whether – and how much – Canadian taxpayers would spend to cover their security.
Although the total bill remains unknown, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation obtained a partial overview through an access to information request. It revealed that $ 56,384 was spent on overtime, travel, meals, incidentals and accommodation from November 18, 2019 to January 19, 2020, about the first half of Harry and Meghan’s time in Canada.
“It was disturbing that the total was so high given a) the length of their stay and b) which does not include RCMP salaries,” said Aaron Wudrick, Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, in a meeting.
It also validated the group’s initial concerns, said Wudrick, about the royal sojourn in Canada, which began in November and ended in mid-March when Harry and Meghan left for California.
“Aside from the money, the concern we had was that the government even refused to recognize that it was happening.
“They clearly knew that taxpayers’ resources had been spent from the start, but they simply refused to answer the question when they were interviewed.”
Finally they fixed the problem and said the costs would stop when Harry and Meghan retired as senior members of the royal family, which occurred in late March. But at that time, it was pointless – they had left Canada.
At the end of the day, Canadians can draw their own conclusions about spending taxpayers’ money on security.
“People are going to have different opinions on what is good value for money, but at least we need to know what the amount is so that people can make that decision and judgment for themselves,” said Wudrick.
Royals in Canada
When Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, landed in Canada on June 30, 2011, they were honeymooners making their first official trip abroad.
Their nine-day adventure across the country included a friendly spousal rivalry during a dragon boat race in Prince Edward Island, Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill and the encounter people who had been devastated by forest fires earlier this year in Slave Lake, Alberta.
Along the way, they drew loved crowds and offered the world the first true view of the couple at the heart of the monarchy’s hope for the future.
WATCH | Royal observers witness the last day of William and Kate in Canada:
In all, it went well. Even in Quebec, where there was some nervousness about the reception they would receive, the protests were relatively silent.
“The diversity of our society is its greatest strength and gives us so many reasons to celebrate. ”
– Prince Charles, at the birthday of the arrival of hundreds of Caribbean people aboard the Empire Windrush. They had been asked to help rebuild Britain after the Second World War.
Kate promised plant a sunflower in memory of a boy who died in palliative care. [BBC]
A 1808 gold watch made for King George III is expected to pull up to a million pounds in a very lucrative sale of Sotheby’s which also includes a love letter from Horatio Nelson, the commander of the British Navy famous for his victories during the Napoleonic Wars. [The Guardian]
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