Prince William is now one step closer to taking the throne of the United Kingdom, a role he has been preparing for his entire life.
As the heir, William was subjected to years of training in order to ensure the survival of the British monarchy. However, one fact cannot be overlooked: His two teachers, King Charles III and the late Queen Elizabeth II are from different eras. William’s training could be woefully outdated by the time he ascends to the throne.
The world outside Buckingham Palace has changed dramatically since his grandmother’s coronation in 1953. Civil-rights movements and reforms in gender equality and LGBTQ rights, to name a few, have caused massive sociological and cultural shifts in society. During the late Queen Elizabeth’s reign, 17 countries removed their monarchies and became republics.
Charles, now 74, becomes the oldest monarch in British history. Royal experts like Marlene Koenig believe Charles understands “his time is limited” in the role and sees himself as a caretaker for William.
Nonetheless, public support for the monarchy is at an all-time low. A National Centre for Social Research study published days after the Queen’s death found that 55% of British people polled believe it is “important for Britain to continue to have a monarchy.” According to the study, that figure is the lowest on record since it began in 1983.
As a result, William bears the burden of ensuring that the monarchy not only survives but thrives in the 21st century. Experts say he’ll need to keep up with changing times to pull it off.
William has been trained to lead an outdated monarchy
Princess Diana did everything she could to keep William from realizing he would one day be King. Andrew Morton wrote in his 2011 book, “William and Catherine: Their Lives, Their Wedding,” that he had “genuinely no idea” of his destiny until he started school.
But William’s future was always a concern. People reported that as a teenager, William became fully aware of his future through regular mentorship with the Queen. As he grew older, the gravity of his situation became clear.
William went on to complete a two-year intensive training course in the art of being king after graduating from the University of St. Andrews in 2005 and spending a few years at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, according to The Daily Mail in 2008.
The Queen and Charles devised the program to teach William about the British government through constitutional law lessons and navigating high-profile meetings, including one with former Prime Minister John Major, according to the publication.
Outside of training, William worked hard in his twenties to live up to the traditional expectations of a monarch. In 2011, he married Kate Middleton, and the couple has three children, ensuring a future heir (and spares).
Throughout, William showed an increasing willingness to take on more royal duties, sometimes at the expense of his own personal ambition. According to Harper’s Bazaar, William stepped down from his position as an ambulance pilot to focus on his duties.
Now, Charles’ coronation brings William one step closer to the throne, and he’s recently taken on even more royal responsibilities.
Following Queen Elizabeth’s death, William inherited a $1 billion property estate from Charles and was named Prince of Wales, a title traditionally given to the heir apparent to the throne, Kristen Meinzer, a royal watcher, told Insider.
She also stated that William’s growing responsibilities had been compounded by factors such as Prince Harry and Prince Andrew’s recent removal from royal duties.