Chapter no 136


AN AFGHANISTAN WAR SERVICE at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and then a reception at the Guildhall hosted by the City of London Corporation,

and then the launch of Walking With The Wounded’s Walk Of Britain, and then a visit to England’s rugby team, and then watching them practice for a match against France, and then following them to Twickenham and cheering them on, and then a memorial for the Olympian Richard Meade, the most successful equestrian in British history, and then a trip with Pa to Turkey to attend ceremonies marking the hundredth anniversary of Gallipoli, and then a meeting with descendants of the men who fought in that epic battle, and then back to London to hand out medals to runners at the London Marathon.

That was the start of my 2015. Just the highlights.

The papers were awash with stories about Willy being lazy, and the press had taken to calling him “Work-shy Wills,” which was obscene, grossly unfair, because he was busy having children and raising a family. (Kate was pregnant again.) Also, he was still beholden to Pa, who controlled the purse strings. He did as much as Pa wanted him to do, and sometimes that wasn’t much, because Pa and Camilla didn’t want Willy and Kate getting loads of publicity. Pa and Camilla didn’t like Willy and Kate drawing attention away from them or their causes. They’d openly scolded Willy about it many times.

Case in point: Pa’s press officer berated Willy’s team when Kate was scheduled to visit a tennis club on the same day Pa was doing an engagement. Told that it was too late to cancel the visit, Pa’s press officer warned: Just make sure the Duchess doesn’t hold a tennis racquet in any of the photos!

Such a winning, fetching photo would undoubtedly wipe Pa and Camilla off the front pages. And that, in the end, couldn’t be tolerated.

Willy told me that both he and Kate felt trapped, and unfairly persecuted, by the press and by Pa and Camilla, so I felt some need to carry the banner for all three of us in 2015. But selfishly, I also didn’t want the press coming for me. To be called lazy? I shuddered. I never wanted to see that word attached to my name. The press had called me stupid for most of my life, and naughty, and racist, but if they dared to call me lazy…I couldn’t guarantee I wouldn’t go down to Fleet Street and start pulling people out from behind their desks.

I didn’t understand until months later that there were even more reasons why the press was gunning for Willy. First, he’d got them all worked up by ceasing to play their game, denying them unfettered access to his family. He’d refused several times to trot Kate out like a prized racehorse, and that was considered a bridge too far.

Then he’d had the temerity to go out and give a vaguely anti-Brexit speech, which really galled them. Brexit was their bread and butter. How

dare he suggest it was bullshit.

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