Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Prince William's stripes

Congratulations to Prince William for earning a place at Sandhurst Military Academy.

Ok, no one else seems to be saying this, but I can't help but feel that he would have gotten into Sandhurst either way. Sure I was impressed with the way he looked in his fatigues and bib, suitably gritting his teeth for the cameras, but do we honestly believe that he would have been turned away?

Now, I admit that Prince William is in the position where he can't win, where he will always have to prove himself to people skeptical of whether he really earned his stripes, or presidencies of Football Associations. True, we can't fault him for an accident of birth that made him an heir to the throne. From the moment he was born he automatically won a place on stamps, commemorative china, and his name on hospitals and street signs. We should all be so lucky.

Maybe he did genuinely prove himself, but somehow I doubt his years at university prepared him for the Sandhurst physical endurance tests. Maybe some strings were pulled, or threats made, after all, it can't hurt when your grandmother is head of the armed services; it's good to have connections. There would have been nothing to lose by denying Harry a spot but William, as a future King, is different. Would Sandhurst really want to interfere with royal military tradition? Or William's future credibility as head of the armed services?

Prince Harry wants a career as a soldier, it's in his blood and it's expected of him. William has always been seen as the intellectual prince. Of course he seems to have legitimately gotten into St. Andrew's University and earned a degree on his own merits. But unlike the military, there would have been no problem had he not gotten into university. A degree is not a requirement to become King, nor does it guarantee a job. As many liberal arts graduates have discovered, a degree in geography is a qualification to work the night shift at a convenience store. Even if it were a requirement, had he not earned one, the honorary degrees, Doctorates, and Chancellorships conferred upon him will more than make up for it.

Good luck to Prince William as he enters this next phase of his life. However, if the going gets too tough, there's always honorary colonelships awaiting him.

© Marilyn Braun

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