William & Kate's Royal Reputation Is At Stake Over Their Work Ethic, According To An Expert

For once, it's William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales, who are hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Giving Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, a well-earned break, they're battling accusations of shirking their royal duties.

Even before Harry went rogue, ditching the firm and hot hoofing it to sunny California, his brother and sister-in-law were the golden couple. William and Kate were lauded for their work ethic and appeared to do no wrong in the eyes of adoring Brits. A 2023 YouGov survey lists Kate and William's approval ratings at 71% and 69%, respectively, making them second and third in popularity to Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September 2022.

Lagging behind Kate and William is Anne, Princess Royal, King Charles III's younger sister. Anne is hardly a tabloid staple, unlike her glamorous nephew and his wife; still, she's endeared herself to the people with her unwavering dedication to civic life. According to the official court circular, Anne is the hardest-working of all the royals, attending 457 public engagements in 2023, averaging 12-14 weekly. In contrast, William's annual tally is 172, and Kate's is 123. To many outsiders, William and Kate's work demands don't seem that tough. Flying around the world in private jets, waving from balconies, opening buildings, and shaking hands for a few hours hardly works up a sweat. So, maybe it's little surprise that the future king and queen are coming under fire for their seemingly lackadaisical lifestyle.

Royal risks

After years of adoration, the tide appears to be turning for William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales, as the couple catches heat over their less-than-stellar work ethic. The 2023 court circular shows William and Kate performed significantly fewer engagements than the Firm's other primary members. Regarding workload, King Charles III came second to his sister Anne, Princess Royal, with 425 engagements, followed by Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh with 297, Queen Camilla with 233, and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh with 215.

The numbers leave William and Kate, at 172 and 123, respectively, firmly in the shade. Something that hasn't gone unnoticed by royal watchers and the public alike. In an interview with GB News, royal commentator Gareth Russell slammed the couple for being lazy. He warned that the absentee "star players" are placing the entire family's future well-being in jeopardy.

"The danger for them is that even though this is almost certainly motivated by prioritizing their home life, it has enabled their critics to paint them as lazy," Russell said. "That reputation can take quite a bit of time to shirk off at the moment." He said William is given a lot of leeway because of the enduring popularity of his late mom, Diana, Princess of Wales. Still, as time progresses, he's viewed increasingly as his father's son rather than his mom's. And as "The Crown" fans know only too well, Charles has never stood a chance against Diana in the popularity stakes.

Declining numbers

Long gone are the days of old when the British royal family had carte blanche to enjoy their publicly-funded lavish lives without interference from pesky outsiders. Nowadays, the Firm is forced to be transparent, for the most part. Hard-working Brits want their money's worth, adding to the reasons William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales, need to pull their royal socks up.

In addition to the Palace's Court Circular's list of engagements, a breakdown of the sovereign grant, which covers salaries, is published annually — and the results make for eye-opening reading. The grant for 2022-2023 was £83 million. Among the many beneficiaries are The Lord Parker of Minsmere, who earned £160,000-£165,000 for his duties as Lord Chamberlain of the Household, and The Rt Hon. Sir Edward Young, who bagged £230,000-£235,000 for being Charles' private secretary. It's a far cry from the average British full-time worker's £34,963 a year, per Statista.

According to The Guardian, despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, taxpayers will be shelling out a massive increase in funds to the royal family over the next year. The sovereign grant is set to rise from £86 million to £125 million by 2025. All this happens when the Firm's popularity numbers are at an all-time low. A survey by the National Center for Global Research, or NatCen (via The Guardian) shows only 3 in 10 Brits believe the monarchy is "very important," with 45% of respondents believing it should be abolished, is not at all necessary, or not very important.