In the last month, however, their royal luster has dimmed in
the British press as they face accusations of laziness and
enjoying the high life while shirking official duties.
"In the blinking of an eye, Prince William has gone from
goodie-two-shoes who can do no wrong, to lazy layabout, not
pulling his weight, spending too much time with his children and
choosing to live in his hideaway in Norfolk," royal biographer
Penny Junor wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
Ever since the couple's engagement in 2010 and sumptuous wedding
the year after, they have been global celebrities, with Kate
considered a fashion icon and William feted for his military
service, devotion to family and latterly his work as an air
ambulance helicopter pilot.
But William and his younger brother Harry have made little
secret of their disdain for newspapers, fueled by the death of
their mother Princess Diana, who was killed in a 1997 crash as
her car fled chasing paparazzi on motorbikes.
In the background there have been grumblings about the royal
family's desire to control what appears in the media, and last
month the usually gushing British press turned on 'Wills and
Kate', as the couple are often called.
It began when the second-in-line to the throne delivered a
speech to British diplomats talking about the importance of
Britain working with other nations, comments taken by some as
tacit support for Britain staying in the European Union ahead of
a June referendum.
Under Britain's unwritten constitution, the royal family are
supposed to stay out of political matters, and with some papers
holding a fairly eurosceptic editorial line, William's comments
led to criticism - and personal attacks.
"Meddling Wills is throne idle", wrote Rupert Murdoch's
top-selling Sun tabloid which detailed how the queen, 89, and
her 94-year-old husband Prince Philip had carried out hundreds
more royal engagements than him in 2015.
[to top of second column]
The Sun is typically a strong supporter of the monarchy and other
usually pro-royal papers also followed suit.
So when William's office Kensington Palace on Monday released
pictures of the prince, Kate and children George and Charlotte
playing in the snow on a four-day secret skiing holiday, instead of
the usual happy headlines, the photos received an icier response.
"Busy? I'm snowed under," the Sun splashed on its front page, while
the Daily Mail headlined its story "Part-time Wills slopes off with
Kate and kids".
Junor said William was far from lazy, while fellow royal biographer
Robert Lacey said he suspected the prince would have had the queen's
approval for prioritizing his young family, as her own family had to
take a back seat when she ascended the throne aged just 25.
Lacey said he doubted the criticism would last.
"Young royals are very popular and old royals are very popular, but
when you're in the middle ,approaching middle age and losing your
hair, you have to work and be seen to work," Lacey told Reuters.
"I have no doubt that this is a temporary situation. William will
step up to the plate."
(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Hugh Lawson)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.