How Prince William plans to rule as king

Sources say Duke and Duchess of Cambridge want to ‘rip up the rule book’

Kate Middleton and Prince William pose
William and Kate reportedly intend to do things ‘the Cambridge way’ in future
(Image credit: Samir Hussein - Pool/WireImage)

Prince William has defended the right of any country to become a republic after returning from a turbulent eight-day tour of the Caribbean with Kate Middleton.

Following what The Mirror described as “a series of PR disasters” during the “tone-deaf” trip to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, the Duke of Cambridge insisted that he was not interested in “telling people what to do”. The tour had “brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future”, and the path ahead for the Commonwealth countries was “for the people to decide upon”, he said in a series of posts on the Cambridges’ official Twitter account.

Sources said the duke had done “a lot of thinking” about what kind of king he wanted to be, according to The Telegraph. Although he recognised that the Royal Family’s “long-held mantra of ‘never complain, never explain’ had proved effective for decades”, the paper reported, William was “also keen to have his own voice”.

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‘The Cambridge way’

The question of how much power a constitutional monarch should exercise appears to have been on William’s mind for some time. In 2016, he told the BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell that the issue “occupies a lot of my thinking space”.

It was essential that the Royal Family “stay relevant”, a challenge that he would face as king, said William, who is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles. While the Queen had set an “extraordinary example” during her reign, William said, he would pursue his own “vision” for the role of head of state.

The Caribbean tour has now strengthened his resolve, according to reports. William is said to have held emergency talks with senior aides as criticism mounted.

A source told The Sun that the Cambridges were “bruised” by allegations that their visit “harked back to the colonial age”.

“In future they will rip up the rule-book and do things ‘the Cambridge way’,” the source said. “They’re trying to work out what that will look like.

“It is not a criticism of how it was done in the past. But times are changing.”

An insider told the Daily Mail that William believed that “if the monarchy has something to say then it should say it”. He was said to “respect” the approach favoured by monarch grandmother and father, Prince Charles, but believed the Royals needed to be “agile” to survive and thrive.

‘People’s King’

US Weekly reported last month that William had “high ambitions to be known as the People’s King”. A source claimed that along with his father, William had made “the big decision [of] making and creating a slimmed-down monarchy” that was more relatable to the public.

“The way William and Charles see it, less people means less drama,” the insider said.

And “proving he has his own methods”, said The Sun, “William plans to have around 70 fewer aides when he succeeds Charles as Prince of Wales”.

“He will instead nearly halve the estimated 137 staff his dad relies on to create a more cost-effective and less formal team,” the paper continued.

The Cambridges “will also employ a small staff working on ‘comfortable and credible’ good causes – five or six in total”. Fewer staff will mean “shorter, solo trips” too, along the lines of the duchess’s recent trip to Denmark.

“William and Kate will modernise how they work,” said The Sun’s source. “It’s a breath of fresh air.”

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Julia O'Driscoll is the engagement editor. She covers UK and world news, as well as writing lifestyle and travel features. She regularly appears on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast, and hosted The Week's short-form documentary podcast, “The Overview”. Julia was previously the content and social media editor at sustainability consultancy Eco-Age, where she interviewed prominent voices in sustainable fashion and climate movements. She has a master's in liberal arts from Bristol University, and spent a year studying at Charles University in Prague.