Duke and Duchess of Cambridge planning shake-up of royal visits
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are reportedly planning to make their official tours “less formal” and want to be addressed by their first names.
Prince William and his wife Catherine – who was known as Kate Middleton before their marriage – are keen to “move with the times” and want to push plans for a huge shake-up of protocol following the criticism they faced on their Caribbean tour earlier this year.
An insider told the Sunday Mirror newspaper that the couple want to scrap “stuffy” processes including people having to curtsy or bow when they meet.
The source said: “They want to be more approachable, less formal, less stuffy and break away with a lot of the tradition.
“When the team arrived back in London [from the Caribbean] the couple had a debrief with aides.
“They went over everything and pinpointed specific things that went wrong and how to improve moving forward.
“The general consensus was that the tour seemed out of date, out of touch, too formal and stuffy.
“So now it’s more ‘Wills and Kate’ instead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge… ‘Just call me Wills’ type of thing.
“They want to try to avoid the bows and curtsies in public, be more approachable, less formal, less stuffy, and break away with a lot of the tradition and focus on a modern monarchy.”
The couple’s Caribbean trip was hit by protesters campaigning to have Britain apologise for being involved in the slave trade in the past, while their stop in Jamaica came at a time when the country is considering following some of the other island nations and dropping Queen Elizabeth as head of state.
They were also criticised for pictures showing them shaking hands with well-wishers who were standing behind a metal cage fence, and for echoing a previous visit made by the queen and her late husband, Prince Philip, and standing in an open-topped Land Rover during a Commissioning Parade.
The insider said: “If they could wave a magic wand and go back in time, they would change almost everything about the Caribbean tour.
“William and Kate are now both very aware that to certain parts of the world, and to the younger generations, the monarchy is a symbol of colonialism and a time gone by.
“Now, it seems silly to have celebrated that and push royal traditions during the tour.
“One of the big mistakes they pinpointed was echoing the Queen and Prince Phillip’s military parade, standing up in the open-top Land Rover.
“In retrospect, the team decided that this was one of the main symbols that showed the Royal Family hadn’t changed and moved on with the times. It portrayed a very elitist and out of touch monarchy, and this can no longer be the image it should portray in order to survive.
“It was a shock to them all. A real eye-opener. This is what prompted institutional change within the monarchy. Otherwise, they just wouldn’t survive.”
While there are said to be plans for an “overhaul” of the “rules and traditions” the entire royal family are bound by, the focus is currently on William and Catherine – who have three children – because they are seen as representing “the future of the monarchy”.