Prince William shows a 'different side' as he becomes thoroughly modern royal

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·5-min read

Watch: Prince Philip coached Prince William for his future role as King

Prince William may have always known he would grow up to be king, but the duke has spent the last 10 years gradually increasing his public profile and building up a royal portfolio. 

He is celebrating his 10th wedding anniversary with wife Kate in a new royal era - one that will be marked by the absence of Prince Philip, his grandfather, and by the huge physical and emotional distance between him and his younger brother, Prince Harry.

In the midst of the turmoil, William is stepping up to show the kind of king he might be, and attempting to modernise the Royal Family.

With changing officials and personnel around him, William has been adapting to fit the modern world, and his strategic comments on social media have been just one example.

In April, he waded into a row about the European Super League, siding with fans as he stated concerns about the plans for a separate league involved six British teams.

In a post on Twitter, he wrote: "Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community – from the top level to the grassroots – and the values of competition and fairness at its core.

"I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love." 

He signed off the tweet 'W', showing it was a personal comment from him, and not a general post on his behalf.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gesture during a visit to meet young people supported by the Cheesy Waffles Project, a charity for children, young people and adults with additional needs across County Durham, at the Belmont Community Centre, in Durham, north east England on April 27, 2021. (Photo by Andy Commins / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDY COMMINS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate meeting young people supported by the Cheesy Waffles Project, a charity for children, young people and adults with additional needs across County Durham, before their anniversary. (Andy Commins/AFP)
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 21:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, wearing black as a mark of respect following the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing, visits 282 East Ham Squadron, Air Training Corps in East London on April 21, 2021 in London, England. During the visit, the Squadron paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years. In 2015, The Duke passed the military patronage to The Duchess of Cambridge who became Honorary Air Commandant. (Photo by Ian Vogler-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William in black during the mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh at an engagement in East London in April 2021. (Ian Vogler-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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William, 38, is careful about how frequently he weighs in with personal opinions. But as a keen Aston Villa fan, he is likely to have followed the plans with interest and wanted to show support for fans of all teams.

Of the comment, PR expert Anthony Burr said: "William is positioning himself in a way that we haven’t seen before, especially after the gulf that has grown between him and his brother. 

"Ever since Meghan and Harry’s explosive Oprah interview, we have seen a different side to William. It seems to be very strategic.

"Getting involved in the European Super League argument was a good move. He is, after all, President of the FA, so it was well-advised to make a comment and a powerful one at that. Another power-play was the Earthshot letter, co-signed by a host of global celebrities and superstars – this is a project close to his heart."

He added: "These ‘W’ statements are also a clever move. We have the personable, affable touch with humanises him, whilst also subtly detaching him from 'The Firm' as an institution. 

"This is potentially the start of a new brand he is designing for himself, a more modern royal. And that is a good thing."

While Prince Philip's funeral was a deeply sad moment for the Royal Family, it also presented both William and Kate with opportunity, to begin to heal the rift between brothers, and to give an impression of leadership within the royal family.

The result was a bounce in their popularity. A poll for YouGov after the funeral found that both William and Kate were seen more positively by the British public.

Read more: The perfect match: William and Kate's 10th wedding anniversary gallery

Nick Ede, popular culture and brand expert, told Yahoo UK: "I feel that Prince William is taking a lead in a really strong and impressive way - he is clearly building his own personal brand, which will resonate well with many people.

"He is showing his opinions and using social media and the media in general to do so.

"He is using these platforms to command attention and make pointed comments about things that he is clearly passionate about, namely, the environment and football.

"This has seen him appeal to a lot of people, who can see he keeps the people of the UK and beyond in his heart and forefront in his mind, with a view that one day he will be King. I think that this use of his brand and social media – and the media in general – is a very clever way of getting people to see the Royal Family, and him especially, as allies and supporters, here to create positive change for good.

"The more he does this, the more his popularity will rise and he will appeal to even more people worldwide and especially in the UK."

ALTERNATIVE CROP VERSION - Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Peter Phillips and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex walk during the funeral procession of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on April 17, 2021. - Philip, who was married to Queen Elizabeth II for 73 years, died on April 9 aged 99 just weeks after a month-long stay in hospital for treatment to a heart condition and an infection. - ALTERNATIVE CROP VERSION (Photo by Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE CROP VERSION (Photo by VICTORIA JONES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Harry during the funeral procession of Prince Philip to St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on 17 April. (Victoria Jones/AFP)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the Covid-19 vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey on March 23, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
William and Kate at their wedding venue, Westminster Abbey, 10 years on as they visited a vaccination centre. (Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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Much has been said about the Royal Family's intent to 'slim down' the monarchy, with Charles said to be spearheading a smaller group of royals who could be seen as better 'value for money'.

It may never have been Charles's intent that his second son Harry wouldn't be part of that, but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made it clear they see their future in California and not the UK.

Burr said: "Despite the recent turmoil of the last few months surrounding the negative publicity with his brother and the passing of his grandfather, we more often than not see William as a smiling, ebullient character. His wife is his perfect partner and their carefully crafted publicity shots of their young family are definitely striking a positive chord with the public.

"The growing army of British republicans wishing for the Royal Family to be disbanded have got a problem whilst William and Kate continue to poll well. They are the great hope for The Royal Family."

Watch: William and Kate's fairytale wedding