In the last few years it seems that the royals have become nothing more than fodder for celebrity magazines and fashion blogs. The royals are in a high profile position to make a difference in the charities they support, yet many times that effort is overshadowed by the focus on what Kate is wearing. Once the royal visit is over we will know more about Kate's accessories and where to buy them than the purpose of the visit. At times, it seems like a wasted opportunity.
The Cambridge's have taken a lot of flak for their work ethic. Some of this criticism is warranted. As the Queen and Prince Philip get older and Charles and Camilla take on more responsibilities, it stands to reason that all hands should be on deck. Yet many times it doesn't seem to be the case and the free pass the Cambridge's received at their wedding is one that should have expired two years ago. The Cambridge's were becoming known more for what they didn't do.
But the signs are good that this is about to change. William, Kate and Harry have joined forces to end the stigma surrounding mental health. William has been vocal in condemning bullying and homophobia, becoming the first royal to appear on the cover of Attitude, a UK gay magazine.
Harry in particular has emerged as a superstar with the charisma of his mother and dedication to some of her causes, including her work in the fight against AIDS. One of the most memorable moments in Diana's royal life occurred in 1987 when she shook an HIV positive patient's hand without wearing gloves. Doing her part in breaking the stigma that AIDS can be spread by hand to hand contact.
Today Harry had his own memorable moment when he took an HIV test streamed live on social media. In attempting to reduce the stigma of HIV testing, Harry put his own reputation on the line had his test turned out to be positive. I can only imagine the media field day that would have ensued as a result of that. Diana would have been proud of him regardless.
In taking a stand on bullying, homophobia, AIDs and mental health, William, Kate and Harry are charting a new course in how to be royal. Showing the public the potential for what the royals can do instead of what they don't do.
Maybe there is hope for the young royals just yet.
© Marilyn Braun 2016
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