'Work-shy' prince to take on extra royal duties in answer to critics
Prince William has suggested he might quit his day job as an air ambulance pilot as early as next March to take on more royal duties, as he tackled recent accusations that he is work-shy.
In one of his most candid interviews, the prince said he was fully aware of criticism of his relatively light workload, but wants “to bring my children up as good people” and needs to have time to be a father.
Insisting that he does not “lie awake” waiting or hoping for the day he becomes king, he also said that “duty can weigh you down an awful lot at a very early age” and spoke of how Prince George is being brought up as part of a “normal” family without any real discussion of his future.
The prince signed an initial two-year contract to fly for East Anglian Air Ambulance when he began the job in March 2015, and told the BBC in an interview to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday: “I’ve a contract and when that contract runs out that will probably be the time that I finish.”
The prince grants few one-to-one interviews, and the fact that he agreed to be questioned at length over his lifestyle suggests he has been stung by the repeated criticism.
He said: “I take my responsibilities very seriously. But it’s about finding your own way at the right time and if you’re not careful, duty can sort of weigh you down an awful lot at a very early age, and I think you’ve got to develop into the duty role.”
Asked if he was a “reluctant royal”, William said: “To be honest, I’m going to get plenty of criticism over my lifetime and it’s something that I don’t completely ignore, but it’s not something I take completely to heart.”
He said the Queen and the Prince of Wales were “150 per cent supportive” of everything he does and that “my grandmother is still extremely active at the helm of the Royal family, as the monarch”.
“There’s the flexibility right now, while I’m still relatively young, and they’re still very, very active. There’s an order of succession and I’m at the bottom at the moment so there is the time and space and future to take on more and develop more.”
He said that as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh slow down, he will “absolutely willingly” take up the slack, “and as that time comes I’ll be the first person to put my hand up and take it on”.
He was also asked whether Prince George had any inkling he would one day be king.
“As far as we’re concerned, within our family unit we are a normal family. I love my children the same way any father does and I hope George loves me the same way any son does his father.”
He was speaking during a BBC interview in which he paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth on the eve of her 90th birthday.