William turns 40: future king with an uncertain future

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Prince William (l), Duke of Cambridge, at the annual ceremony of the Order of the Garter in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. © Ben Stansall/AFP Pool/AP/dpa

One day Prince William will be king. But when that will happen is as unclear as how much will be left of the former empire that Elizabeth II still recognizes as head of state.

London – He doesn’t lie awake at night waiting to become king, Prince William once said in a BBC interview a few years ago. But he should now be wasting one or the other thought on how he wants to lead the royal family in the future. Today he turns 40.

Decades could pass before the British head of state is named William V. His 96-year-old grandmother is still firmly in the saddle, despite increasingly visible health problems. Elizabeth II does not want to abdicate, as she recently made clear once again on her 70th anniversary of the throne.

Speculation that William could skip his father Prince Charles (73) in the line of succession was widespread after the accidental death of William’s mother Princess Diana in 1997. In fact, in a recent poll, 42 percent of Britons still support it, while only 24 percent support King Charles III. want to see.

Second behind the Queen

In the royal popularity list for the British, William is in second place, right behind the Queen and well ahead of his father, who is a distant sixth. With his wife Duchess Kate (40) and their three children George (8), Charlotte (7) and Louis (4), he also has the ideal model family, who will soon be moving to the grounds of Windsor Castle in the immediate vicinity of the Queen. as reported by the Sunday Times. So far, London’s Kensington Palace has been her main residence.

The Queen has never left any doubt that her successor will be named Charles. The Crown Prince is already taking on a large part of their duties, for example this year he represented them for the first time when the government declaration was read out in Parliament and when inspecting the troops at the Trooping the Color birthday parade.

But whether Charles, like his mother, will remain at the helm to the bitter end or one day hand over the throne to his eldest son is uncertain. What if, unlike his parents, Charles does not reach biblical age?

duties and responsibilities

William already has a lot more responsibility than just a few years ago. The reasons for this are both the death of his grandfather Philip last year and the dwindling powers of the Queen and the departure of his brother Harry (37) and his uncle Prince Andrew (62) from the close circle of the Royal Family. He tirelessly visits civil society groups, travels abroad and gives speeches. He has long since got rid of the reputation of being work-shy that clung to him just a few years ago.

William already seems to see one topic as outstanding: at the big party for the Queen’s 70th jubilee, he made a flaming appeal to the audience. “The urgent need to protect and preserve our planet has never been more acute,” said the prince, who recently launched the “Earthshot Prize” for environmental and climate protection projects.

Climate and the environment are issues on which the royals have long since given up any reluctance. Even the Queen had expressly praised Charles and William’s commitment. She was “unutterably proud” that the commitment to the environment that her husband Philip started will be continued by the two, she said in her Christmas speech last year.

Reconciled with the family

Unlike his brother Harry, William seems reconciled with the family and willing to follow in his father’s footsteps, despite the tragic fate of his mother, who felt isolated from the royals. He also seems to have long since forgiven his mother’s former rival, Charles’ wife Camilla. The two sat happily side by side at the Queen’s party and joked.

But his mother’s affairs of the heart are still important to William. These include, for example, the commitment to the homeless. Just under two weeks before his birthday he was spotted on the street in central London selling the homeless magazine Big Issue.

On the other hand, William did not show a good hand when it came to dealing with historical guilt. This is likely to be one of the challenges for his future rule. A joint trip with Kate to the Caribbean this year turned into a PR disaster – for example, when the couple were driven past an honor guard in Jamaica in a vintage jeep in memory of a visit by the Queen and Prince Philips. William wore a dress uniform. The images brought back memories of the days of the British Empire. This was considered unfortunate at a time when many in former colonies were demanding an apology from the royal family for wrongs suffered and a departure from the crown.

Like his father, William expressed regrets about slavery and exploitation, but a “sorry” never escaped his lips. The island state of Barbados declared itself a republic last year, and others are likely to follow suit. Even in Canada and Australia, calls for a break from the monarchy are growing louder. William, it seems, has already reconciled that notion. “We support your decisions for the future with pride and respect,” he said in a speech in the Bahamas. dpa

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