Let’s be honest: Prince William and Kate Middleton aren’t exactly considered the most relatable royals. Not by a long shot. It’s only really been in the last year or so that they’ve made a concerted effort to appeal to younger generations (read: finally launching a YouTube channel – complete with bloopers).
As a result, they’re opening up more about previously hush-hush topics (at least, to the royal family), including postpartum depression and grief over the death of a loved one. This week, a response they sent to a royal watcher went viral. And, while it was clearly a prepared statement, it’s something that in previous years likely wouldn’t have been made public.
Gert’s Royal Replies, a blogger who shares the responses she receives to all the letters she’s written to the royals over the years, shared a note she recently got from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
In response to Gert’s condolences following the death of Prince Philip in April, the letter read, “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge thank you for your kind words following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh. Their Royal Highnesses have been incredibly moved by the many thoughtful messages they have received in recent weeks. They will all miss their much loved grandfather and great-grandfather, but your message has provided great comfort at this difficult time.”
The reply was sent in an envelope bearing the royal mail stamp and Kensington Palace logo. The card inside featured William and Kate’s individual monograms accompanied by a photo of Prince Philip in military dress.
The Condolence reply from the Cambridges following the death of Prince Philip.
— Gert’s Royal Replies (@GertsReplies) August 18, 2021
As it’s shaped up so far, 2021 has been rough for the royal family’s reputation. William, in particular, has faced a chorus of criticism in recent months, ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive Oprah interview in March. Then in April, all eyes were on William and Harry during Philip’s funeral. (Will they fight? Will they speak? Are they still on the outs?) Since then, William has been peppered with questions from reporters about whether the royal family is racist (Will says no, but we very much disagree) while also being accused of hypocrisy after defending Black soccer players during the UEFA Euro Cup final. (Where was all that passion for his sister-in-law, Meghan?)
We already know the Cambridges have the older generation of Brits in their back pocket. A quick peek at one of the many UK-based polls focused on royal family members almost always reveals that William is right behind his grandma, Queen Elizabeth, in a popularity contest. But millennials and Gen Z? Numerous polls in Britain have suggested they want to ditch the monarchy entirely.
As Marie Claire UK pointed out in a piece on Will and Kate’s relatability, one of their lockdown tricks has been to loosen up when it comes to Zoom video appearances. They’ve gradually dropped the “formal protocol approach” in favour of appearing like the average commoner – complete with playful teasing and three-year-old Prince Louis’ penchant for video bombing certain virtual meetings.
Whether or not this pays off in the long run remains to be seen. But William and Kate will have their work cut out for them. After all, it’s no easy task to dismantle centuries of systemic institutional racism and colonialism while simultaneously trying to be just like the rest of us.
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