'Prince William and Kate Middleton turn backs on Australia' read the headline of a leading Aussie publication over the weekend, amid growing feeling that the Prince and Princess of Wales have abandoned Down Under during the Royal Family’s upcoming two-year tour of the Commonwealth.
Not only does the rising negative sentiment towards the royals abroad underline the importance of stepping up and showing out, but also demonstrates how important William and Kate are to the future of the monarchy.
However, sources close to the Prince and Princess of Wales have revealed that despite the mounting pressure from King Charles to take up a more active role in promoting the firm around the world, the couple have decided that their children must come first.
“William and Kate have been put in a very difficult position of choosing between the right path for their family or the future of the monarchy,” a source said.
“Both are very important to them, but they have decided to put their children first while they are so young.”
William and Kate have three children: Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5. George, the second in line to the throne, is currently studying at the Lambrook private school and is expected to continue his education at Eton when he turns 13.
“Kate is adamant that she doesn’t want to uproot the children during the school year. She feels it important that they are grounded and have their parents with them,” the source said.
Buckingham Palace recently confirmed that Kate will remain at home when Prince William attends the 2023 Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony in Singapore on 7 November.
Sources say that Kate will remain in Windsor to look after the couple’s three children. The Princess of Wales was also notably absent from the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit in New York on 19 September.
“Kate’s childhood was rather chaotic with several moves to the Middle East and around England and so was William’s when he toured with his parents or was sent away to boarding school,” the source said. “Both of them don’t want that for their children until they are old enough to cope with it.”
The Wales’ move to put their children before anything else marks a change from the royal precedent of the past when duty came first.
The late Queen famously left Charles with her parents King George VI and the Queen Mother while she undertook a tour of Malta in 1949.
Princess Diana changed the fabric of overseas tours in 1983 when she refused to leave Prince William behind while she embarked on a tour of Australia and New Zealand with the then Prince of Wales.
“William and Kate have decided to take it one step further by at least one of them staying home with the children. It’s as simple as that,” the source said.
The move has left senior members of the Royal Family to prepare for a two-year tour of the Commonwealth to secure the Firm’s overseas territories somewhat alone. Among the visits, one is expected to Australia which would tie into King Charles' appearance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa.
However, sources have revealed that tensions are brewing behind the scenes over William and Kate's lack of participation, who are now perceived as ‘senior royals’ themselves.
“There’s a growing feeling that William and Kate aren’t pulling their weight,” the source said. “They are the future of the monarchy and are themselves senior members of the Royal Family.”
“There are ongoing discussions about the best way to handle the tour and to what extent William and Kate will be included.”
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