As they tour my country—Canada—with media obsequiously covering their every move, the following has occurred to me: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are the best things the British monarchy, an institution that my generation has no time nor use for, has seen in more than 50 years.
Why? It boils down to PR, the Zeitgeist, and, more than anything else, Kate.
For years, the monarchy’s main problem has been “connection.” It’s a somewhat nebulous term usually reserved for politicians.
Why have the royals had trouble connecting with the public?
Queen Elizabeth and her son, Prince Charles, are of an era when formality ruled. This killed their ability to connect. Though William has no doubt been sheltered his entire existence in a formal cocoon, he is from a generation in which formality has basically gone out the window. Couple this with the concomitant explosion of tabloid media, and you have a recipe for humanization.
Both macro factors have helped him engage in activities that appear normal: He took a gap year, hit the London club scene, chased girls while in college, and, as a boy, experienced a tremendous loss.
Will, alone, would not be enough—especially because, as he ages, he might begin to look and behave like his father.
Enter Kate Middleton.