In an age where social media and exhibitionism reigns supreme, Prince Harry (or Harry, or whatever he now goes by) was always going to outshine his brother. To start with, he was never going to be head of state, he could find a route as a spare royal which required less long-term management and so developed an image accordingly – mic drops with Obama, a trademarked beard and at least until recently, no children to need to spend time with, and a baked in reputation as HRH Enfant Terrible. His stock went up when he met Meghan Markle and the memories of 29th April 2011 were usurped by this brand new carnival of Hollywood glamour and nobility.
In some ways, ‘twas ever thus; Prince Rainier III decided that Monaco was a bit too much of a hidey-hole for gangsters and European wrong’uns and so he married Grace Kelly (whose father had to pay a 2 million dollar dowry for the ‘privilege’) to bring American opulence to his square mile enclave.
It worked for Rainier, but alas, the dream has come crashing down for the Sussexes, leaving the Cambridges with a doubled workload, but an opportunity to revive their image as the couple du jour.
It is tough for William, who through his Gap Year was feted like a handsome Disney Prince, with a full head of hair, angular facial features and his mother’s signature pout. Though the hair may be fading, he still is on the cusp of being as good a dresser as his father. William favours a more structured shoulder than his father’s soft-shouldered Anderson & Sheppard suits. His signature is navy single-breasted, which for my tastes could be a bit wider on the lapel (makes his head look bigger than it is) and perhaps a bit longer too. The rest is fairly preppy, navy pullovers and chinos from J Crew, thought Ralph Lauren would have done a better job of it. An impressive feature is his choice of sunglasses. He has been spotted wearing eyewear from the highly exclusive Italian brand L.G.R., initials of the extremely elegant eponym Luca Gnecchi Ruscone. Not many people know about this brand except the in-the-know fashion types, so for William to be wearing them shows surprising sartorial nous. Prince William’s is a sovereigned, measured, uncontroversial style. There is however, one small detail he really needs to fix.
The Baftas were perhaps the first occasion in the post-Sussex era where the Duke and Duchess could shine. She was, as ever, immaculate in every conceivable way. Prince William? Well he had to ruin it with his Boris Johnson impression. Invoking memories of the closing ceremony at the 2008 Olympics, when Boris waved the flag about, William did that awfully slovenly thing where he doesn’t do up his jacket.
This is the sort of oversight that might turn me into a muscular republican. As my last piece on NATO footwear showed, the devil is in the detail. We know why Boris does it, but to say much more will have Jameela Jamil calling me out for body shaming. Suffice to say that William is svelte and elegant, and this small detail completely ruins it.
He did it last year too so this isn’t a one off, it is however that piece in the puzzle that makes the torrid last few months for the Royal family dissipate. So the sooner the better.