Preparing for the role of a lifetime
On the occasion of her 21st birthday, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who was still Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York at the time, made a speech broadcast via radio in which she acknowledged her future as the sovereign of the United Kingdom. “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service,” she said. While this may have provided a feeling of comfort and security to a nation that had, only a decade earlier, lost its monarch to an unprecedented abdication, it couldn’t have been all that surprising to her future subjects. After all, whoever takes the throne takes on an enormous job that includes:
Serving as the focal point for national identity, unity, and pride
Offering a sense of stability and continuity
Recognising successes and excellence among the people
Supporting the ideal of voluntary service
The Queen is now near the end of her reign, and she’ll probably never “give up” the throne. She’s been in charge for so long that by the time His Royal Highness Prince Charles becomes king, it won’t be too far into the future that his son, His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, succeeds him. While Prince William has been preparing his whole life for that eventuality, in recent years we’ve seen a significant step-up in what appears to be his king-in-training regimen. Here are a few notable times we’ve seen him flexing his “monarch muscles.”
Taking centre stage while the Queen isolates at Windsor
Since the coronavirus pandemic has sent Her Majesty into self-isolation at Windsor Castle, it’s been necessary for someone to take over her responsibilities. However, Prince Charles tested positive for COVID-19 early on, so Prince William had to step up. Even though Prince Charles has made a full recovery, Prince William’s calendar has remained busier than usual – filled with appearances as Her Majesty’s representative. Here, for example, he makes an important public appearance (by video conference because of the pandemic) during the BBC’s Children in Need and Comic Relief fundraising event on April 23. Showing support of those on the front lines fighting COVID-19 is precisely the sort of thing one would expect from a monarch, or a monarch-to-be, as it was in this case.
Speaking publicly about weighty issues
On March 18, Prince William became the first member of the royal family to deliver public remarks regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. By then, the Duke of Cambridge already had a lot of practice speaking publicly on behalf of the royal family. On January 27, for example, he addressed the public as Her Majesty’s representative during the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorative Ceremony at Methodist Central Hall in London.