In recent months, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have faced a lot of criticism for their shirking their royal duties, especially when it was revealed that The Queen, who today turned 90, undertook more engagements last year than the couple and Prince Harry combined. In fact, the Duke has been dubbed ‘Work-shy William’ on account of his decision to focus on his own small family.
However, he made an attempt to clear his name in an interview with BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell. “I take duty very seriously,” the Prince said. “I take my responsibilities very seriously. But it’s about finding your own way at the right time and if you’re not careful duty can sort of weigh you down an awful lot at a very early age and I think you’ve got to develop into the duty role.”
He did acknowledge the fact that both his grandmother and father supported his decision to devote a part of his time to his family and to his air ambulance job. As long as they are both still very much active and interested in royal duties, the second-in-line to the throne has the “time and space to explore another means of doing a worthwhile job.” But he also assured listeners that while now his priority is bringing up his children to be “good people, with the idea of service and duty to others,” he will take on any royal duties that The Queen commands him to.
“When The Queen decides that she’s going to hand down more responsibilities, I’ll be the first person to accept them,” he said.
The interview was conducted on Wednesday, ahead of The Queen’s 90th birthday, and William was asked questions about his grandmother, and about the type of monarch that he would like to be.
The Prince confessed that while he has thought about the kind of King he would like to be, it isn’t a priority. “I have no idea when that’s going to be, and I certainly don’t lie awake waiting or hoping for it, because it sadly means that my family have moved on, and I don’t want that,” he said.
“The royal family has to modernise and develop as it goes along, and it has to stay relevant,” he added. “And that is the challenge for me. How do I make the royal family relevant in the next 20 years?”
“The Queen’s duty and her service, her tolerance, her commitment to others – I think that’s all been incredibly important to me and it’s been a real guiding example of just what a good monarch could be.”
In a separate interview with Sky News’ Rhiannon Mills, the Duke spoke about how The Queen helped him get through the loss of his mother, the Princess of Wales. “She’s been a very strong female influence and having lost my mother at a young age, it’s been particularly important to me that I’ve had somebody like the Queen to look up to and who’s been there and who has understood some of the more complex issues when you lose a loved one…”
“So she’s been incredibly supportive and I’ve really appreciated her guidance.”
Of course, no interview could be complete without a work or two about the Duke and Duchess’ children, and Mr Witchell did indeed ask about Prince George and whether the toddler has begun to understand that his family is different from others.
“There’ll be a time and a place to bring George up, and understand how he fits in in the world,” the Duke concluded. “But right now it’s just a case of keeping a secure, stable environment around him, and showing him as much love as I can as a father.”