OPINION - William must bear the boos and prepare his family to face its history

·4-min read
 (Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)
(Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)

At the weekend Prince William was booed by the crowd at the FA Cup final at Wembley. The jeering started when the Duke of Cambridge, who is the president of the Football Association, was introduced to fans and continued as he moved down to the pitch where he met and shook hands with players.

As expected, Twitter lit up with those who thought the idea of booing the future king was akin to treason. I kid you not, some people have asked for a ban on those fans who booed William, and others have used this as an opportunity to label the incident as a sign that the people of the UK want to get rid of the monarchy.

But the truth, as always, is a lot simpler: those who booed the prince were mostly Liverpool fans and we all know how many in Liverpool feel about the royal family and the Tories, which I assume they think William is. But the reality is that Prince William is not beyond reproach.

In a free country we should be allowed to show how we feel about those in power and, as distasteful as I might have found the booing, it’s a right that I think the prince himself would not want to take away from people.

I like Prince William and I see the key constitutional role he and the monarchy play as something which is going nowhere anytime soon. But, in saying that, it won’t be smooth sailing for him. In a few weeks’ time, when we celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee, William will be taking up his position next to his grandmother as millions cheer his whole family — which, by the time he is king, will not only have to change with the times but also address some of the deepest and darkest parts of its history.

I don’t believe in holding the sins of others against people and I thought it was somewhat unfair how William, on his Caribbean tour, was being held guilty of crimes committed in the past. But these are things he will have to address and as king he will not only be head of a United Kingdom which is more diverse than it has ever been, but also a Commonwealth which has complex views. The African members of the Commonwealth, I have found, do not hold the royal family with the disdain others do and I sense that he will have an easier ride there, if he avoids the pageantry which seems to make him look more out of touch then he really is.

I know many will be rolling their eyes as they read this, but I am the same age as William and I have often looked at him and wondered if I would give up the freedoms I have for the role he holds — and no, I would not. It is not easy knowing that not only will you one day be king, but you will always live your life in a global fishbowl. To put the people of this country before yourself is something which few of us would do, even if that meant living the lavish life of a royal.

In other news...

Tomorrow is independence day in Somaliland and across London the Somaliland flag will be flying as we celebrate 31 years of independence from Somalia.

Somaliland, which sits at the top of the horn of Africa, is a peaceful and beautiful democracy. As joyful as tomorrow will be for millions of Somalilanders across the world, it will be bittersweet for those back home as, like most of east Africa, the country is currently gripped by devastating drought, which is being ignored by the international community.

So, as sign of solidarity, please take a moment to not just Google Somaliland, but also write to your MP to share the realities those living there are facing. Climate change is killing millions and wiping away generations of people.

The UK can lead when it comes to climate change and I am hopeful the new developments strategy will help not just Somaliland but Africa as a whole to develop the tools to combat the issues it is facing.

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