January 4

Another media concoction: shadow king


It should be surprising just how gullible the world’s media can be (this column “Dream on comrades” 16 December). The editors of the London Daily Mail and its Sunday stable mate must know that the idea of the Crown not passing to the heir is preposterous. If they don’t they are in the wrong job. This change would involve submitting a proposal to change the law relating to the succession to the governments of sixteen realms. Even if it were approved, legislation would have to be considered by sixteen parliaments, to say nothing of any complexities which may arise in federations.

This did not stop them manufacturing a story that Prince William was to become the “shadow King” in preparation for the Crown to pass to him. This story then went around the world, getting into evening TV bulletins where it was treated as if it were a serious possibility.

…Telegraph briefed on the facts….

Prince William has now made it very clear that he will not become "shadow king" and is instead determined to spend the next few years developing his military career, writes the London based Daily Telegraph’s Chief Reporter, Andrew Alderson in “Prince William: I will not become 'shadow king'” (2/1)

Mr. Alderson’s interpretation is that the 27-year-old Prince has ruled out doing anything that would undermine the role of his father, the Prince of Wales, as heir to the throne.

Major Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the former SAS officer who now acts as Prince William's private secretary, went on the record to outline the immediate plans for the Queen's grandson and to quash misguided speculation. It was wise of Major Lowther–Pinkerton to brief a serious newspaper, and to do it after the intitial furore over the Mail article. This has resulted in a “stand- -alone” story which has been given added credibility through the inclusion of  a named source for at least part of the story.


The spokesman for St James's Palace told The Sunday Telegraph: "Prince William will not be a 'shadow king' – the possibility is not even being considered. Over the next few years, Prince William will be concentrating primarily on a military career while also slightly increasing his [charity] patronages and the other interests that he pursues."

The Telegraph says that Prince William is constantly aware of the sensitivities of being seen to encroach on his father's role as heir to the throne. An unnamed “senior source” is quoted as saying:

"Prince William sees more closely than anyone the huge amount of hard work that the Prince of Wales puts in to trying to make a difference in this country. The Prince of Wales is a hugely passionate man and Prince William wants the spotlight to fall on his father as much as possible. Prince William does not want to be put in a position before his time – before he is ready."

…Prince's future plans….

The Telegraph reports that Royal aides have given the newspaper an exclusive insight into the Prince's future plans. They say that Prince William's focus for 2010 is largely military flying. He will be based at RAF Valley in Anglesey while he embarks on the hardest and most challenging part of his course: further training to become a fully-operational search and rescue pilot.

 "It's going to be tough, very intensive," the Telegraph reports “a senior royal aide” asserting. "For the first time, he is going to be testing his skills not on a generic helicopter but on the type of helicopter [a Sea King] that he is passionate about and wants to fly.

"The pressure will be on him and, although he has always risen to the pressure, Prince William knows that he has got to keep his head down in order to realise what is, frankly, his dream of becoming a fully-qualified search and rescue pilot. He is incredibly motivated to achieve this."


[ Prince William spends a night on the streets ]


The Telegraph says that Prince William has been awarded his "provisional wings" after completing a year-long advanced helicopter pilot's course, but he now needs at least eight months of  further training before he fully qualifies.

The newspaper reports one Royal official saying : "Part of Prince William's motivation is to be able to earn his rank and position. He wants to be able to look other members of the Armed Forces in eye and say: 'I am a genuine full-time serving officer in the RAF. I want to be used like any other officer and not be favoured or mollycoddled.'"

A “senior aide “ told the newspaper "If he stays in the Armed Forces, Prince William will want a meaningful role. If appropriate, he would want to deploy in a front-line role."

….New Zealand and Australia…

On The Queen’s invitation, Prince William will embark on January 17 on a long awaited five-day visit to New Zealand and Australia. "It is an instance of Her Majesty seeing an opportunity for her grandson to learn the ropes."  

According to the Telegraph Royal sources say that Prince William will, slowly, develop his role within the Royal family and consolidate his charitable commitments. His on-duty, off-duty work patterns for the RAF this year will free up time for a few additional royal duties.

The newspaper says that as president of the Football Association, Prince William wants to lobby hard for Britain to host the 2018 soccer World Cup. The Prince plans to attend the World Cup in South Africa in June to promote the FA's cause.

Prince William is patron of 13 charities and he is particularly committed this year to promoting the cause of Tusk, the wildlife conservation charity, which is celebrating its 20th birthday.   . Last month Prince William spent a night on London's streets in freezing temperatures to raise awareness of a charity's work with homeless young people.


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