As someone who reads a lot of British media for my job, I feel like I’m qualified to say that the vibe has been decidedly weird ever since Kensington Palace’s announcement about the Princess of Wales’s abdominal surgery. The announcement came on Wednesday, the day after her surgery (or so KP claims), and from the looks of things, William made his first visit to Kate’s hospital bedside on Thursday. The palace didn’t include any information about “Kate is expected to make a full recovery,” nor did they feel the need to do any kind of meaningful disclosure about what ails the wife of the heir to the throne, the future queen consort and mother of a future king. There’s an unsettled vibe among the royal reporters, and as I wrote on Thursday, it would not surprise me at all if this was another open secret within the rota, much like “Kate was one of the royal racists named by Meghan.” I bring this up because Rebecca English at the Mail wrote an overwrought piece about Kate, but more about William. Some highlights:

The king’s prostate: Who would have thought seeing the King smiling broadly as he drove himself and his wife to church on Sunday that he was concerned enough about his health to seek imminent medical advice. Or that on the very day he was told to scale back royal duties and prepare for surgery for an enlarged prostate next week, His Majesty would break with protocol and allow his diagnoses to be made known in the hope that it might encourage other men to get themselves checked out. I’m told he is ‘genuinely’ in a good place, taking a pragmatic approach to his diagnosis and keeping up with his paperwork before his surgery next week.

William’s one event this year: Last week I was with her husband, Prince William, as he surprised motor neurone disease campaigners and former rugby league professionals Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield with their CBEs. He travelled up to Leeds to hand them their honours personally as Rob who – along with his friend, Kevin – has courageously used his diagnosis with the incurable, life-shortening condition, to raise millions of pounds to support fellow sufferers and fund research…At the end of the engagement, I stepped tearfully out of the room to allow William some private time with the families. When he exited a few minutes later he had obviously noticed my distress and, I think, was aware why. He looked at me, smiled kindly and nodded his head. ‘You OK, Rebecca?’ There was no hint that anything untoward was going on behind the scenes in his own life.

The disgraceful online chatter: Which makes the reaction by some to his decision to clear his diary to be at his wife’s bedside and support their three young children disgraceful in the extreme. Social media has been awash with trolls – even those with the letters Dr before their name – decrying his actions. One (I shall not name the individual, as I fear they will only enjoy the publicity) highlighted an article on MailOnline and wrote: ‘Should we clap for him? The PR spin to desperately make Prince William look like a dedicated husband and father juggling childcare and caring when he has an army of people supporting him and zero financial concerns about cancelling work to stay at home is so tone deaf.’ Beyond spiteful.

Quoting Republic’s social media too: Republic, the anti-monarchist pressure group that has spent the past year trying to convince the public it is a credible political force, has also seized on the issue with glee, posting: ‘They could all be off sick with the measles for six months and still fit in more engagements than last year’, and ‘Man visits wife in hospital. Huge if true’.

No pity parties for Peg: William would be the last to encourage a pity party, but it’s worth pointing out that wealth doesn’t mean that your wife or children need you less. The heir to the throne has long made it clear that his three young children are his No 1 priority in life. Of course he is lucky to be able to afford to take time off work, but it would take a particularly bitter individual to begrudge him that.

Daddy’s love: Fortunately he has a close support network around him, particularly Catherine’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, who are extremely hands-on grandparents, as well as their nanny Maria. But nothing makes up for a daddy’s love and while he never likes to disappoint the many charities and organisations he supports, he wants to be there for George, Charlotte and Louis, as well as his wife.

English remembers William’s incandescent rage at a French tabloid publishing Kate’s nude photos: What upset him most, he said, was that when he proposed to Catherine he promised her parents he would take care of her. He, more than anyone, knew the personal sacrifices she was making to be with the man she loved. And in allowing this all to happen, he felt he had let them down. It’s why I know he will bend heaven and earth to be at her side now and do the best for their little family. However long it takes.

[From The Daily Mail]

English is not the only royal reporter amplifying the “social media trolls,” nor is she the only one using “random negative tweets about the Waleses” as some kind of evidence that everyone is being hyper-critical of poor, poor William. I think that’s what’s really weird about it – the overemphasis on how hard this is on William, how poor William will have to do the school runs and go to the hospital. All of which draws attention to the fact that William seemingly only visited Kate on Thursday, two days after her surgery? And just last week, KP was making all of these plans for trips to Italy and trips to visit the military and all of that. We’re once again left with more questions than answers, but I will say this: it’s unsettling how William is at the center of the narrative, and the conversation is about how hard this is on him, and there’s actually very little being said about just what the hell is going on with Kate. Why is William being centered here and why does it feel like certain wheels have been set in motion?

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Cover Images.

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