Kate Middleton and Prince William are celebrating 10 years of marriage - but have we reached the end of the British love affair with the royals following a decade of scandals, misbehaviour and lies?
While 17.6 million people across the country tuned in to watch all the pomp and pageantry of that royal wedding 10 years ago, fast forward a decade and many of us are beginning to lose patience with the firm.
As a tax-paying commoner, I for one continue to be shocked by the “what about it” attitude of royals when faced with outrageous allegations. Prince Andrew unapologetically frequented the island of a convicted sex offender and fails to break a sweat when he’s accused of being a pervert - his only punishment being that he no longer needs to work for his keep.
More recently, the firm acknowledged the concerns of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in their incendiary Oprah interview, but only so far as to launch a ‘private’ investigation into claims of racism and bullying. We’ve heard very little since...
One has to wonder whether the same lackadaisical attitude would be taken if William accused a member of his family of such disrespect. Maybe it’s because Harry’s wife is a bi-racial American divorcee and former actress with a less than straight-laced background, unlike Kate, who enjoyed an upper-middle-class upbringing in Newbury, before attending a prestigious university and devoting her life to future-King and country.
In fact, the future monarch and his wife Kate have managed to stay largely out of the limelight and have remained tight-lipped about the drama going on around them. But not even their butter-wouldn’t-melt appearance is enough to salvage the reputation of the royals amid so much recent scandal.
The BBC’s coverage of the death of Prince Philip may be an insight into our increasing royal fatigue, with 110,000 complaints made about the day-long tributes to the longest reigning consort. It seems the British public are finally getting a little fed up with giving disproportionate air-time to a family who offer no explanations for their misbehaviour.
Not even Prince Philip’s funeral service was sacred, taking place following a week of media speculation over Harry’s appearance, Meghan’s absence and reported royal rifts about Harry and Andrew not wearing their military uniform. In the end, the Queen gave them all a dressing down.
And it’s not just the public who are growing tired of the family’s misadventures, but the royals themselves. Zara Tindall, daughter of Princess Anne, has chosen not to give her children any titles, in keeping with her mother’s approach to raising her children outside the limelight of ‘the firm’.
The family has also reduced the number of working royals and in the past decade, has cut back significantly on the amount of money they take from the government. While William and Harry’s families should have continued to work and live according to royal protocol, even Harry has made it clear that the cons outweigh the pros, having ditched his royal duties in 2020.
However, far from dying down, the royal drama is just about to be turned up a notch in the coming months.
This summer, Markle will give birth to her daughter, who she and Harry are expected to raise in California with their son, Archie. Attention is likely to turn to William and Kate’s congratulations of the birth, which could build or break bridges between the two princes.
In July, Andrew’s close confidant Ghislaine Maxwell will be tried for enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children, and perjury. While Andrew has denied any wrongdoing, he might finally break a sweat when she gives her evidence. US prosecutors said in 2020 they had requested to talk to the Duke as a witness and claimed he had not cooperated with their inquiries.
If he is brought in to what is expected to be a media-circus of court proceedings, will William and Kate really be able to continue advocating for children’s protection and mental health services without commenting on the allegations levied against their uncle?
The couple are just about clinging on to the public’s goodwill, their reputations relatively unscathed by the past decade of royal turmoil, but as further scandal continues to unfurl around them, their next ten years of marriage may not be a carriage ride in the park And when William does finally take the throne, there will be nowhere to hide.
It’s time William and Kate took a leaf out of Harry and Meghan’s book and spoke out about the indiscretions of their family members. Perhaps that’s the only way to get us back on-side.