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Birmingham Post Comment: Patience for the Prince.

The euphoria which has greeted Prince William's 18th birthday should be welcomed by all those who believe the Monarchy is still an essential part of our national life.

It proves the House of Windsor, despite a troubled few years, can still attract admiration and interest. Some will even argue it shows that deference did not fade with the passing of the last century.

For the young prince this is a mighty responsibility. There is no doubt judging from the reaction which has marked this occasion he has the potential to revive the popularity of the Royal family.

In many respects the pressures will be familiar to anyone who has reached the age of 18.

He will have to judge when to listen to his father and grandmother and when to advocate his own opinions, he will have to know when to accept convention and when to challenge with innovation and he will have to assess when to put his own interests first and when to act for the interests of the family.

We also have a responsibility. It is important the warmness which has coloured most of the tributes to the future king is not displaced by the creeping hysteria which dogged his mother's life.

We must not forget the prince has had a difficult childhood, if that is not an understatement, which could have easily upset a lesser man.

The danger is his 18th birthday, a date now commonly regarded as the time you come of age, will be cited by those who wish to claim he is in some way public property and is now fair game for the telephoto lens and the insidious gossip magazines.

The challenge for the monarchy in the age of an intrusive and unremitting media has been to balance their public duties with a need for a private existence.

Prince William deserves a certain indulgence over the next few years. He will want to enjoy the same entertainments which are part and parcel of the lifestyle of most men his age.

We should accept, therefore, he may not behave in a saintly manner all of the time. In short, we must act maturely if he perchance acts immaturely.

To do otherwise would be to endanger the future of our monarchy. This is a family which has shown it can be brought low by sensationalism and muck-racking.

Their duty is to respond with dignity, our duty is to value what we are lucky to possess.

This will mean understanding the burdens placed on the prince and being prepared to be lenient if he falls short of our expectations.

As a Villa fan, at least, he deserves nothing else.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 17, 2000
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