Let’s face it, we were all jealous of Wills and Kate on their royal tour

We’re booing from the cheap seats because – whisper it – we want the sun, the fun, the frocks, the free childcare. We want what they have

Angela Epstein
Tuesday 29 March 2022 14:18
Comments
<p>On countless previous occasions, we’ve indulged Kate and William’s advantaged lifestyle </p>

On countless previous occasions, we’ve indulged Kate and William’s advantaged lifestyle

Perhaps it was  the forecast of “spring snow” which proved to be the proverbial last straw. After all, given the horrors of the war in Ukraine and the fact that UK households are facing the biggest energy bill shock since the 1950s, a forecast of bitter temperatures at the start of British Summer Time has to be the worst kind of joke.

If we’re being honest, it is surely this catalogue of misery which offers the real reason why the royal tour to the Caribbean tanked in such a spectacular manner. Were the tour planners tone-deaf? Were the optics wrong? Are we running short of sensory descriptions to sum up these royal PR disasters? Well, yes, yes and yes.

But let’s set these concerns aside for a moment.

Face it, most of us were feeling too anxious, beleaguered, cold and yes, resentful, to stomach the sight of a privileged couple enjoying themselves in the Caribbean sunshine. We were simply not in the mood to be a captive audience to such a jolly.

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a secret diving trip to admire Belize’s barrier reef? Or wake up and smell the cocoa beans? We want to be on a long haul couples break where the sun shines, and the grey days of an economically arctic British spring are literally thousands of miles away. Oh, and we girls want to rock a pair of khaki cargo pants the way only the duchess can.

It must be resentment because otherwise, why the opprobrium now? On countless previous occasions, we’ve indulged Kate and William’s advantaged lifestyle because they are also an act of indulgence for us. How often have we gorged on glossy pictures of the Cambridges as their trio of pink-cheeked cherubs thump around in the great outdoors? Or pored over images of Kate at her spangly best in yet another organza floor-sweeper?

Also look no further than the heritage. When Diana embarked on her foreign tours – famously eclipsing her husband every time – we couldn’t get enough of her sun-kissed glamour. The privilege was always there, but we took it for the team because it gave us pleasure.

Why did we accept it then? This was, of course, the world of the pre-pandemic. Never in our lifetime had we known that the simple fact of visiting family or going for a wash and blow would be taken from us. The wounds are still here. Lost loved ones. Relationships that failed because of the pressures of the pandemic. We’re still in the process of getting our own lives back and have no time for the seeming perfection of others.

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And that’s another key point. Diana, for all her razzamatazz, was always a flawed glamour queen. We never really “got” the Prince and Princess of Wales as a seamlessly joined royal pairing. We knew there was vulnerability there and we loved her all the more for it. Kate and William – thankfully for them – seem rock solid, sensible, untouchable. It’s a wonderful signpost for the future of the monarchy. And we manage our admiration and their privilege when they’re shlepping around the UK in plummeting temperatures or we see Princess Charlotte having a tantrum on the school run. But when it’s packaged like the ultimate holiday brochure, we start to lose our connection. The royal tour is just a reach too far.

Of course, the Queen remains untouchable. As the only monarch most of us have ever known, she is our strength and stay. We forgive her anything because she is a beacon of tradition, the beach on which we moor our love of stability.

Otherwise, these are different times. When those by the grace of birth or marriage can go touring the sun-blushed Caribbean, it no longer chimes with the zeitgeist. We’re booing from the cheap seats because – whisper it – we want the sun, the fun, the frocks, the free childcare. We want what they have.

So why don’t we just hold up our hands and say so?

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