Royal wedding: What next for William after the wedding?

Prince William in RAF uniform Prince William will be focusing on his career in the RAF

"William to be the next king", is a seductively attractive headline.

It offers freshness, youth and the prospect of a soon-to-be-married prince as a head of state in waiting.

Several opinion polls have suggested the son should replace the father at the front of the queue.

But royal succession isn't a beauty contest, or an episode of The X Factor. British citizens and subjects are observers of the process, not voters.

Constantine of Greece knows all about royal destiny. His time came, briefly, in the 1960s, before he was deposed in a military coup and his birthplace voted to become a republic.

Living in exile in London for decades, he has watched Prince William, his godson, grow up.

When the prince, who's an RAF search and rescue pilot, became engaged, the former king of Greece told the BBC he'd warned William in a letter that, "it was dangerous to fly a helicopter when you're in love.

"I said, 'Be careful, concentrate on that helicopter now and think of Catherine later on!'"

The ex-monarch is a stickler for the status quo. He doesn't believe William, who he describes as "a hell of a nice guy", should leapfrog Prince Charles.

Constantine said: "It works from father to son or mother to son and that's how it goes. They have to wait their turn… that's how it should be, because we are not politicians. We don't strive for that chair. The chair is there if it's needed."

'Madness to be king'

There are voices of dissent. One of the more surprising supporters of an abandonment of royal business-as-usual is former newspaper editor Sir Max Hastings.

An article he wrote about the Prince of Wales in the Daily Mail last year was headlined "Why I believe it would be madness for him to be king".

In an interview with the BBC, Sir Max suggested that the longer the Queen reigned, the more attractive a king William might become.

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After his marriage... Prince William won't be skulking around waiting for a vacant throne to occupy”

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"If time passes and Prince William is more and more at the centre of the stage, one question I think is bound to be asked," he said.

"Would it be in everybody's interests - including those of the Prince of Wales - for a new, young, next-generation Prince William to succeed to the throne? I think an enormous amount will depend on what seems to be the will of the British people."

The will of William is clear. He doesn't want to rock the Windsor boat.

He has a healthy grandmother, his father shows no sign of giving up on his long wait for what his ex-wife called "the top job", and he was born into an institution which is still scarred by the trauma of Edward's abdication.


After his marriage to Kate Middleton, Prince William won't be skulking around waiting for a vacant throne to occupy.

Ex-King Constantine of Greece said his godson was straightforward, hardworking and a "hell of a nice guy"

His focus will be on married life and his job on Anglesey with the RAF. He'll make more trips overseas representing an octogenarian monarch and he'll continue to work for his chosen charities.

These include Centrepoint, which helps young homeless people. At first glance it's an unlikely pairing - a prince in a palace aiding people who have no roof over their head.

Those who have seen William in action insist it's a mutually beneficial relationship.

Anthony Lawton was Centrepoint's chief executive when the son of Diana, Princess of Wales became its patron.

Diana introduced William and Harry to the plight of the homeless. Mr Lawton says getting the prince involved was his "biggest achievement" when he ran the charity.

Prince William with Centrepoint worker William slept rough in London as part of his involvement with homeless charity Centrepoint

He says William got stuck in from the outset - learning to cook his first lasagne - and he could relate to the young people he met because of their shared knowledge of popular culture.

The former chief executive insists the future king's interest is more than skin-deep, adding: "He does it because he really cares about it".

Another thing he cares about passionately is how his wife-to-be will cope as a senior member of a family like no other.

In the build-up to his wedding, there's one statistic which may just have given the prince pause for thought.

The government estimates the global television audience for the celebration will be two billion.

That's two billion people with possibly more than a passing interest in his peculiar existence.

Two billion people who may not be satisfied with a "now you see them, now you don't" approach to royal life in the coming months and years.

But that's precisely how Prince William wants to play it. He's sidling, not striding to embrace his destiny.

Caution - borne out of Diana's troubled life as a princess - is embedded in his DNA.

After the wedding there will be demands, possibly vocal ones, for William and Kate to be more and more on display.

These will be demands which William will be determined not to satisfy.

Peter Hunt Article written by Peter Hunt Peter Hunt Diplomatic and royal correspondent

Prince Charles as king: What type of monarch will he be?

When Prince Charles takes over as king, will he continue to make "heartfelt interventions" in national life?

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  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    The Queen should abdicate now and hand over to William. We need some younger blood at the forefront of the UK constitution! - A good cross section of ages is important in any establishment - and I am a pensioner!

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    118 secret banker has no idea what he is talking about. In a constitutional monarchy the sovereign cannot express his views as it is likely to be dissimilar with the policy of the elected government. The fact that Prince Charles is incapable of suppressing his opinions gives serious cause for concern. This is especially the case should he be allowed to ascend to the throne.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    My point is that a monarchy is preferable to a presidency and would reiterate the points made at 114 and 106 to back this up.

    I forgot to mention earlier that other great presidency - Russia. What a Godless, monarchless, hopeless nation that is.

    I'm off to a barbeque now. Try not to be too grumpy on the 29th. I hope the red flags aren't too swamped by the happy crowds in The Mall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    Charles will make a great monarch. He has plenty of life experience and is not afraid to express his views. No point in picking on him because he is not a 'psoter boy' , or because of a failed marriage to someone he was pushed into marrying. Roll on King Charles 3rd ! Leave Wills and Kate to get on with a normal life until their time comes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    Charles made one major error in life. He should have moved faster when he was young and Camilla decided to marry another man. She of course was at fault since she married when she really loved him.
    From this error came the marriage with Diana whom he did not love. If he had she would still be alive.
    Charles is actually a really good man. Let us stop trying to leap over him. He should be king.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    Regarding previous comments, is Wills going to continue his passive RAF role? Breaking off for official engagements abroad ( jollies out at taxpayers expense ), to replace HM, because she cannot continue at 80+ ? Looks Wills will end up like Uncle Andrew. Except at least Andy was on front line in the Falklands. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN & hope royalty ends when HM goes, hope in many years to come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    "What next for William after the wedding?"

    And moreover, who cares?

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    We have a hereditary monarchy, not a pick and mix one. If we un-make one King in waiting, that would be a precedent to un-make any others coming along in future! One of the strengths of the monarchy is that we don't vote for them so they represent ALL of us and don't have to go in for 'people pleasing' in terms of vote catching.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    I agree, Charles should never be King due his divorce .

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    Couple of kids. 4-5 years, divorce, yawn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    I hope when they consider changing the lineage rules that they also change the rule so that a male marrying a Queen would become King not Prince! - this is clearly gender biased - but you don't hear the demand for equality just Cameron trying to be modern and attract the female voter!
    Oh but that's not what equality seems to be about these days - Women want to lose disadvantage not equality

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    #105... sort of. Henry was an egomaniac. Religiously he was basically Catholic. He just didn't want a Pope ranking above him. The Church Henry created in his lifetime was quite unlike the modern Church of England. Henry's church had communion, bread being body of Christ, confession, celibate priests... just no Pope. The modern CofE is vanilla-protestant. Quite different.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    I have never really thought about myself as a royalist but I apprieciate who they are and the revenue they bring to this country.......I feel if left to the politicians we really would be worse off than we already are, they cannot be trusted and yes maybe the royals need to modernise and get in touch with us the populous and to be fair I have more trust in William than Charles to be a good King.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    100. Goodallrounder

    A) Agreed we don't need another one for president. Simply combine the two and spare the extra effort whilst retaining a sense of democracy.

    B) Compare the people out celebrating to the ones avoiding any celebrations would be a better comparison.

    C) I am sick to death of having the insidious Royal Wedding discussed on every news channel. What's your point?

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    I live ( previously worked in Thailand for 15 years - now retired ), and planned to visit in April. Delayed this because of THE WEDDING - NO INTEREST. Love the Queen & all she symbolises about UK. I am about same age as Charlie, & expect she will outlive us both ( hope she is 100+ though! ). As for the rest, all hangers on. Maybe by the time Wills is King, we are all part of EU Presidency ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    #102 Would 'President Cameron' or 'President Thatcher' be less skin crawling?

    Thats why an none political head of state appeals to me too. An elected one is going to alienate at least half the UK population. A Scottish one would be disliked by too many English (see Brown) and vice-versa. The Commonwealth (which does some good) would have no unifying figure... why change what works O.K?

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    #65 Unlike any recent monarchs or their children - Charles dares to say what he thinks which opens discussions on the same. If he is stifled that will be the end and it will go back to hand waving. (In re to his divorce-Henry VIII established the church of England so he could get a divorce-in todays Catholic church-doubts mentioned b4 wedding gets you an annulment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    #98. What do YOU think all the Royal Palaces would become without Royalty to live in them? They'd be sold to Al Fayad or Roman Ambramovitch, turned into Hotels or taken over by Govt departments. Being listed they probably wouldn't be knocked down but they certainly wouldn't be preserved as they are either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    #98. Our entire armed forces are based around the notion of Britain being a monarchy. If we abolished the monarchy its no longer going to 'the Royal whatever' or 'The Queens Own...' whatever so a piece of history WILL be lost forever. Trooping the colour serves no purpose without the monarch as the colour is a 'gift' from the monarch to the regt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    I am a republican, who was totally in favour of abolishing the monarchy. I must say the last few years have changed my mind somewhat as the thought of "President Blair" or "President Brown" makes my skin crawl! The only good thing would be the ability to chuck em out at the ballot box. So I now think retain the monarchy, in it's apolitical ceremonial role, as long as they adapt with the times


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