How much work does Prince William actually do?

'Lazy' Duke of Cambridge accused of not taking royal duties seriously after missing Commonwealth Day service

Prince William and Kate at the Baftas in London
(Image credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prince William has come under fire this week after it emerged he missed the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey to go skiing in Switzerland.

While the Queen and Prince Philip alongside Prince Charles and Prince Harry, led the service in honour of the nations of the Commonwealth, the Duke of Cambridge was pictured partying at nightclubs in the luxury Verbier resort, much to the anger of the tabloids.

The "decision to miss such a key event in the royal calendar will inevitably revive criticism that [the] prince is 'workshy'", said the Daily Mail, while The Sun ran a story headlined: "The Scandal of Workshy Wills," which focused on the Prince having performed "just 13 Royal duties" this year compared to the "poorly Queen's 24".

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Emily Andrews, the paper's royal correspondent, added: "I'm sure they're very innocuous and very innocent, but those pictures don't suggest a 34-year-old father of two, very responsible heir to the heir to the throne - they suggest more of a young man, letting his hair down, on a boozy holiday with his Hooray Henry pals."

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Following the criticism, a Kensington Palace spokesman said William had never intended to attend the Commonwealth Service.

"The Duke and Duchess have attended the event for the last two years and look forward to doing so often in the future," he said.

Are the papers right to criticise?

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told the BBC the headlines were "absolute rubbish" and "grossly unfair", but is he right?

According to the broadcaster, William has attended royal engagements on 12 days in 2017, "including a trip to south Wales, a gala dinner and an investiture at Buckingham Palace".

But these records "do not specify the hours of each event, nor does it take into account behind-the-scenes activity or preparation for royal events".

Last year, the Prince worked on royal engagements for a total of 80 days - the same number as his 90-year-old grandmother the Queen.

His aunt Princess Anne did the most, with 179 days of engagements, while William's father, the Prince of Wales, came second with 139.

William has worked as a helicopter pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance Service since 2015, clocking up 20 hours per week. He donates his salary to charity.

He will reportedly become a full-time royal when his contract ends this summer and take on more duties.

In addition, William is also patron or president to 23 organisations requiring royal visits and volunteering.

He is on royal service today, travelling to Paris with his wife Kate Middleton for a two-day official visit at the request of the UK Foreign Office. The couple will also visit Germany and Poland in July.

This will be William's first official visit to the French capital since his mother Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car crash in the city in 1997.

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