When Prince Charles turned 40 in 1988, his proximity to the Crown, to some, was closer. Direct heir of Queen Elizabeth II, who was 62 years old at the time, many believed that she would abdicate her position for her son, if not in 3 years, at least in 8, when she turned 70 years old. However, 34 years later, Charles is still in the same position as heir and for the first time in his life, in 2022, he replaced his mother at the opening of the British Parliament, the first absence of the monarch in 69 years. This time, though, with the Queen just 4 years away from her centenary and with mobility issues, it looks like his day as King is getting closer. It took him more than seven decades of training and waiting.
Behind Charles is his firstborn, William, who in June,21 2022 reaches the 40-year milestone, surpassing the years of his mother, Princess Diana, who died at just 37 years old, and just over half of his father. Trained directly by his grandmother and grandfather, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who died in 2021, for many years Prince William enjoyed unparalleled public popularity and acceptance, in part inherited from the admiration of his mother, who called him her “best friend and adviser”, even though he was barely 15 at the time. However, this whole image of shy, sweet, and prepared is coming to an end in his confrontation with his brother, Prince Harry, who inherited Diana’s charisma and impulsiveness, putting William in a delicate position at a crucial moment, even being booed at public, as he was this year. (Harry was also booed at the Platinum Jubilee, although the volume wass considerably lower)
When William was born, on June 21, 1982, the world was completely in love with Diana and still believed in the farce of the perfect marriage to Charles, not suspecting the behind-the-scenes dramas already underway. The images of him on his mother’s lap in the following years, laughing, went around the world and a whole generation of girls grew up with him symbolizing the dream of the ideal prince. His well-known shyness, coupled with resentment at the intrusion of the press, made him something of a mystery. While Harry was always comfortable with jokes, since he was a child William behaved in public like “the future King”, so few spontaneous moments were actually seen.
By now, at least in recent years, it has become clear that behind the walls of the palaces William is not the figure many imagined. With a strong personality, he has a “strong temper”, he fought a lot with his father, stepmother, and her children, he became angry with Harry and Meghan Markle, and possibly would have cheated on Kate Middleton around 2018, in a case that is still hushed up, only commented on social networks. With the fight with his brother, William’s image was forever changed as if he was actually more of a mirror of his father and everything that hurt Diana than she could ever dream of for her dear son.
Gossip aside, William reaches 40 in a very different way than Charles did or Harry will. Father of three, he is still married to Kate, with whom he has actually been for 21 years (10 of dating and 11 of marriage), with a union that seems to be the very least, aligned. As Charles is 73 years old, William’s “wait” will arguably be shorter, even if life among the Windsors is quite long. However, he and Charles inherit an outdated kingdom, with values that do not fit the current ones and face a gentle challenge to reinvent themselves.
William’s public life was already gaining steam in recent years, but it will certainly be faster in 2022. It won’t be easy and the first challenge will be to define your persona, which in binary times doesn’t have you on the most popular of corners…