The apparent determination of the Sussexes to focus on the struggles of the past is met with a mixture of amusement and bewilderment by palace aides. In America, the documentary project, forthcoming memoirs and magazine interviews simply perpetuate the idea that they are celebrities rather than statesmen.
Last week, some 3,000 miles from California, the prince and princess looked to the future and presented themselves as “changemakers,” a powerful couple on a mission to create a better future.
In doing so, they hopped effortlessly from job to job; greening local landmarks, fist bumping basketball fans at a Celtics game, meeting climate tech entrepreneurs and posing for selfies on an impromptu walk with hundreds of well-wishers at a youth violence charity. “Their route and past actions suggest that Kate and William are people of conscience and admirable values,” columnist Kevin Cullen wrote in The Boston Globe.
As always, the Princess let her wardrobe choices speak for themselves, opting for sharply tailored suits from largely British designers, including Roland Mouret and Alexander McQueen.
Tamara Abraham, UK Telegraph senior fashion editor, said: “Choosing suits, alongside William in suits, has positioned them as equals. “This was very different from a traditional royal tour – it has so much more purpose in Earthshot and the princess’s wardrobe reflects that. She’s not Diana arm candy. As a couple they sell us an image of a professional power couple, while the Sussexes sell us their love story.”
But seldom have such hurdles been thrown in the royal path.
What was expected to be an uncomplicated business trip focused on pet issues and culminating in the Earthshot award ceremony perhaps drew more attention than it otherwise would have for all the wrong reasons. Before they left the UK, a source close to the Prince and Princess issued a prescient disclaimer: They would not let anything distract them from their journey.
The comment was aimed sharply at the Sussexes, who are no strangers to making headlines, but Kensington Palace could never have predicted that the highly sensitive, three-day visit would clash with not one, but two dramas on the royal stage.
The first, a damaging race feud and the resignation of Lady Susan Hussey, the Prince’s godmother, threatened to cast a long shadow over not just the trip, but the whole organisation.
The second drama might have been foreseeable, like the froideur between Kensington Palace and the Montecito-based branches of the royal family.
Team Wales was convinced that the release of a tightly produced Netflix trailer was deliberately timed to derail their trip to the US.
A tweet from Omid Scobie, the biographer and chief cheerleader of the Sussex family, couldn’t have been more provocative if he tried.
Referring to the fact that the Earthshot award has become so important to William that it has been dubbed his “Super Bowl moment,” he wrote of the one-minute music video, “If tomorrow is Prince William’s Super Bowl, here’s your rest .” shows.”
The Telegraph, London