Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Prince William: What Does He Do? Part II

Above: Prince William surrounded by women and grabbing a young women's breast... And to think, this guy will most likely be King William V of Britain. Fortunately, royalty truly has no political power anymore, otherwise I'd be scared. Given that, they do have great symbolic value and are sources of pride to their country. Clearly, Princes William and Harry care so much about their family's reputation...

Sigh. I know I have harped on this before (see earlier post), but there's more. Recently, Prince William was publicly criticized by a royal commentator in Britain for "doing nothing". Cited as evidence was the fact that by his age, his father had done 84 royal engagements, and Wills has only done 11 (5 of which were related to football). I've been making this argument for quite some time and apparently several people agree or are waking up. In the few weeks since this happened, it appears the powers that be in the royal family are sending him off on one giant much-needed PR junket. Prince William has done more charity work in the last few weeks than in his lifetime. Going from charity to charity, holding children while cameras snap away, then going for the ultimate heartstrings tug by talking about his mother Diana publicly for the first time. The speech wasn't even written by him and his delivery was so void of feeling one couldn't help but cringe. On top of that, he was then interviewed on TV by a young cancer patient and he has now talked about flying economy on planes to aid the economy and has most recently been quoted about his desire to fight in Afghanistan. The public is eating this all up like mush, forgetting all about the allegations mere weeks ago. I would be too if it weren't all so contrived.

Forgive me if I don't buy it. If Prince William truly cared about any of this, he would have been doing it all along and prior to being criticized and called out in such a public manner for not doing the only responsibility he actually has. As for the economy, William isn't going to do all that much for it by suddenly flying with *gasp* mere mortals. If he cared that much about saving money, he wouldn't be flying off on lavish ski trips to begin with. I'm not even sure you can call them vacations because I'm not really sure that he's ever "worked". It appears William is far too happy to keep shirking his responsibilities and somehow the Queen has tolerated this, much to everyone's detriment. While fighting overseas for his country is a noble cause, Prince William is not blind. Even before entering Sandhurst [military academy], he knew they would not be sending him to war and risking his precious hide, whether he wanted to or not. The monarchy simply wouldn't take that kind of risk. Yes, Prince Andrew did pilot during wartime, however he was most likely never going to inherit the throne. For William the military is just one more way to hide from paparazzi and appear to be doing something when he isn't, something William is massively skilled at.

Note: Prince Harry did go to Afghanistan. Supposedly. Though there are rumors he wasn't really there and it was staged in some random desert, I'll believe this one. However, I don't believe he was there actually doing anything more than a photo op. His cover was "blown" by the media and so he was pulled out of Afghanistan early. If Prince Harry was truly covertly in Afghanistan on a dangerous mission, I fail to see how he was followed by a camera crew the entire time he was there. Obviously some media new of his whereabouts and he was intentionally filmed the whole time with his knowledge. This is not the behavior of someone actually doing their job but rather showboating and getting a rare opportunity to look positive in the press. I'm sure what the camera didn't show you was all the bodyguards standing around. It was also claimed that Harry killed a bunch of Taliban, which is completely unlikely. I do commend Harry for his bravery and I'm not going to deny that he must have taken some risk to be in such a place even for a short time, but given the non-stop camera presence I honestly don't take any of it seriously and with good reason. Also, it seems he would be a huge liability to all the troops around him and I don't know why the military would take that risk other than as a favor to the Queen, which could have turned out to be a deadly affair to all his fellow soldiers out there with him, which certainly wouldn't be fair. I have the utmost respect for military and the men and women risking their lives overseas. If they don't get constant media pampering in the desert, neither should he, if he is serious about it at all which doesn't appear to be the case. To make matters worse, Harry has continued to get himself into trouble. Along with fighting paparazzi, cheating on exams, wearing a Nazi costume, and smoking pot, Harry can now add to his resume new racist insults made while in the military and a shocking video in which he not only shows his level of homophobia but also talks about his pubic hair and insults his grandmother, the Queen. I wouldn't doubt that the Queen was happy to ship him off and hope he came back somewhat straightened but we all know that's wishful thinking. Such talk is always met by people calling Harry a hero for his brief engagement in Afghanistan (nevermind the men and women who have been there on their third and fourth tours for a few years apart from their families) or they say that everyone in the military makes racial slurs or that Harry is just being a typical youth. Being in the military does not mean less is expected of your behavior or standards, if anything discipline is important and enforced, even the military criticized his remarks. And in case you didn't notice, Harry is NOT a regular guy. He certainly has responsibilities and rarely tends to them. Harry should be ashamed of himself with the constant barrage of jokes and insults he's always hurling and the embarrassment it casts as a symbolic representation of his country to the world.

Back to William. Honestly, I want so badly to support these two young men. But they make it so difficult and are frequently praised merely for existing or being somewhat attractive instead of being given chastisement for avoiding their most central duties. It must be nice to have your lifestyle paid for and even so to resist doing your part. It seems that anytime these two are on a charitable endeavor, they make sure a camera crew is right there to capture it all. Being a patron of a charity as they both are is also a clever ruse, I see their names on paper and rarely ever see any opportunity in which they partake in charitable causes.
People want so badly to see Diana in these boys and sadly beyond the physical, it does not appear they have a strong desire to commit themselves to the service of others, a crucial part in being a monarch. As Prince William's looks fade, I have the feeling the public will be less endeared and begin to expect more from him as they should have from day one. Even Prince Charles, as hard a time as the media and public give him, has done a splendid job of engaging in philanthropy and royal duties, despite his private life. There is room for both.

Let me put it this way. If I was Prince William (or Harry) and had an ancient tradition dating back thousands of years hanging on my shoulder and I was the last living link to ensure its survival, I think I'd be taking this all just a wee bit more seriously. It's shocking how cavalier these two are about the duties they were born into. I am appauled when I hear people say that the crown should be passed over Charles and given to William. This is the most rediculous thing I've heard. Prince Charles may not be the most charming and charismatic individual but he has done everything asked of him and more. William has done nothing to deserve his place in the lineage. Sorry, being attractive doesn't make you fit to be a king. I am willing to give William and Harry the benefit of the doubt. If they were to take their responsibilities seriously, I would give them the respect they deserve. Until then, I am not going to be sucking up to them and thinking they are the greatest thing on earth when they haven't done anything to prove themselves as examples to their country or anyone else. If people think they have been great role models, I suggest you take a deeper look. And to William... I am glad he is FINALLY doing his job but saddened that it took public ridicule to get him to step up. Given that these things weren't done or said before, I highly doubt his sincerity. If in a few months William tucks himself under the radar again as I suspect he will, don't be surprised. I'll just have to say: "I told you so."

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