The Prince and Princess of Wales’s day-trip to Birmingham last Thursday was pretty successful – they got moderately good press, there were no huge gaffes and Kate’s wig didn’t look like it was making a break for it. The problem with their Birmingham visit was that it was their first day of work in a month, minus “going to church” on Easter Sunday. This is a regular thing for William and Kate, their disappearing act this time of year. In 2019, Kate disappeared for two full months around the Easter holiday. In other years, Kate has disappeared for as long as six weeks in March-April. And don’t get me started on her extensive summer holidays – in 2021, she had absolutely nothing on her schedule for over two months. All of which brings me to Daniela Elser’s latest column, “Kate Middleton’s 29-day disappearance is a big problem for King Charles.” Elser is a Australian royalist who regularly writes despicable sh-t about the Sussexes, and this criticism of Kate is couched in “Kate needs to work more, for the good of the monarchy!” It’s still criticism though – criticism of Kate’s utter laziness.
The perks of being a princess: The multiple, grand homes including a four-storey, 20-room residence on the most expensive street in the world, Kensington Palace Gardens; access to a trove of priceless jewellery you can wear down to Tesco and getting to have a go on the royal helicopter every other Tuesday. However there is one fringe benefit that the Princess of Wales gets to enjoy that largely goes unnoticed. The holidays.
Kate’s holidays: While she may not be living the super-luxe life on a yacht, Kate’s time off equates to that of someone with a never-ending stack of sick notes. And that would be fine if Kate was just another blow-dried Audi-driving mum who filled her days with yoga, soy lattes and wistfully wondering why she bothered to go to university. But, obviously she’s not. Along with being the owner of the world’s only thermal bikini (perfect for a dip in a Scottish loch), she also happens to be the next Queen of the United Kingdom with an out-size role in helping shore up the monarchy. And unfortunately, you can’t squeeze in saving venerable medieval institutions between pilates reformer classes.
A 29-day absence from work: Imagine getting the biggest job of your life so far, a job with possibly crushing pressure, and having assumed the mantle of one of the most truly iconic women of the late 20th century, and then proceeding to take four weeks off work. And yet, that is exactly what Kate has just done. Even now, she is on track to take off about four months this year, which is nearly 11 weeks, or just shy of three months more than most Brits get.
The “spending time with kids” excuse only works for so long: “Anything William and Kate can do as parents to avoid this fate for their son and to help their two younger children dodge the usual destiny of spares – lots of moping, plenty of misery and occupying a strange liminal space between the crown and civvy street – then good work you two. However, the problem is that Kate especially now takes time off her day job so regularly she probably routinely forgets her work computer’s password.
The problem for King Charles: There are 16 weeks of hols in the Lambrook year, the private school that all three wee Waleses started attending after the family moved to a home on the Windsor estate last year. If the Princess of Wales keeps up the pattern we have seen, of taking lengthy chunks of leave so she can gambol about muddy fields or teach her children the correct way to discipline a footman, then this has the making of a very real problem for her father-in-law and ultimate boss King Charles. Perhaps the most fundamental thing the royal family has to do is to be seen.
The importance of being seen doing work: “They can’t beetle off to take indulgent time off to loll about on gilt settees in their trackies and to play hide and seek in the Windsor Castle attics. Making this job that much harder is that the royal family has a rapidly dwindling staff of frontline HRHs. In the past four years, the number of working members of the royal family has dropped from 16 to only 11, thanks to death, disgrace and the desire to live down the road from Oprah. The total number of engagements undertaken by HRHs who officially represent the crown has fallen by almost 40 per cent in the last decade.
Time for Peg & Buttons to step up: It’s time for William and Kate, if they want to really play their part in keeping the whole Palace crown business afloat, to resign themselves to the juggle: to somehow striking some sort of rough balance between their careers and their family, you know, like billions of people around the world do every day. Fundamentally, they have to be seen – and to be seen doing the hard yards the public expect of them in return for a life of incredible privilege. Kate might have one of the world’s most exalted titles but it’s a job she cannot do from home or part-time. Pull your finger out Your Highness, pop on a pair of sensible pumps and get out there and open something.
I mean… lol, she’s not wrong. The thing is, nothing is going to change. Past is prologue, and Kate has always been extremely lazy and she plans to continue doing nothing much. Even when she’s “trying” to actually work at something, it’s just insubstantial busywork, like re-launching the same old “raising awareness of the importance of early years” campaign she’s already launched several times. Part of it is that Kate’s husband and father-in-law treat her like she’s the village idiot, too stupid to do anything without being heavily stage-managed. The other problem is that William is just as lazy as Kate (and just as stupid), so their marriage is a race to the bottom in every way.
Photos courtesy of Cover Images.