Be Prepared for Prince William to “Shake Things Up” When He is King, Former Royal Butler Says

He is already making waves as Prince of Wales.

Prince William
(Image credit: Getty)

May it be in the far distant future, but one day, Prince William will become King—and when it happens, as in many ways it already is because of his example, William is set to “shake things up,” OK reports.

Prince William in NYC

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Especially within the last 18 months, William (and Princess Catherine) have started to adopt was previously called “the Cambridge Way” (back when the couple were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and now is “the Wales Way” (since they became Prince and Princess of Wales in September 2022). Perhaps the most out front example of this is the way in which they raise their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis; one of them is always there for the school run, always there when the three return home, and the kids come before all else (case in point: Catherine skipping William’s third annual Earthshot Prize Awards next month in favor of George’s exams, being there to support him obviously top of mind for her). William still hasn’t had an investiture as Prince of Wales, and he might never choose to do so. Recently William and Catherine’s decision to hire a CEO could usurp the entire working core of the Firm—yet another example of their proclivity to do things their way, and to modernize the monarchy in the process.

Before it is their time to become King and Queen, former royal butler Paul Burrell said he thinks King Charles and Queen Camilla “are going to rely on William and Kate more and more as time goes by,” he said, speaking on behalf of Slingo. “I think they will be introduced to more public engagements, representing the King and Queen on more overseas tours.” Burrell said Charles is constructing “a bridge between his mother’s monarchy and his” (Queen Elizabeth is the longest-reigning British monarch, having served over 70 years on the throne); Burrell also said Charles is simultaneously “building a bridge to William and Kate’s monarchy” as well.

Prince William and Kate Middleton attend an event

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“Over the years, we will see them become more high profile and [do] more when the King and Queen don’t want to,” Burrell said. “It’s a natural progression, it’s a learning curve for William and Kate to get a hold of the reins of the monarchy before they become King and Queen. They are apprentices in the Firm who need to learn how to handle this when it comes their way.”

Charles, at 73, was the oldest monarch to ever accede to the British throne. According to OK, “If he were to live as long as his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, his reign would barely approach the 24-year mark, which means he would not celebrate any jubilees or milestones. This would also mean that the Prince and Princess of Wales would be in their sixties by the time they become King and Queen.” (They are both currently 41.) 

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (R) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (L) attend the Most Noble Order of the Garter Ceremony at St George's Chapel, in Windsor Castle, in Windsor, west of London on June 13, 2022. - The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain, established by King Edward III nearly 700 years ago.

(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson / Getty)

Unlike Charles (and vis a vis, Camilla), Williama and Catherine have no major scandals attached to them, “which analysts state will allow them to build a positive reputation while waiting for the throne,” OK reports. Much of the couple’s appeal comes down to the personality, aura, and charm of Catherine, Burrell said.

“Kate is in such an incredible position because it all rests on her really,” Burrell said. “The future rests on Kate, and that’s an enormous responsibility, because if she decided that she didn’t want to be a part of her marriage anymore, then I think the royal family would collapse.”

Kate Middleton at a royal engagement

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Burrell also predicted that, when it is his turn to reign, the future King William V would “shake things up” and do everything he could to get to the “bottom of the heart of [the] monarchy” as a “radical thinker.”

“The King’s monarchy is very civil service top heavy,” Burrell said. “It’s very administrative. I think William will slash that and cut it all back.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.