Prince William and Kate’s tour of bushfire Australia marks a loss of Harry
Oh Harry, it should have been you flying to Australia.
Now you’ve got yourself in a right pickle – having resigned your royal role in a huff, you have made yourself redundant and left yourself in limbo, unable to help as much as before.
It has been announced Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge will be coming to Australia to tour bushfire-affected regions. That is great news – William previously visited flood-damaged towns in 2011 and the couple went to the bushfire-ravaged Blue Mountains in 2014.
Having a senior royal visit following a disaster does offer some solace to people and helps keep the focus on the issue. It also shows they care.
Which is where Prince Harry comes in, or rather doesn’t. This visit outlines the problems he faces mapping out his new role. If he was still a working royal, I think Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, would have been sent. They had a successful tour in 2018 and Australia held such affection for the renegade prince and his new wife.
They would have done a great job visiting communities and offering their support. It is what Harry was good at – despite his protestations he never really wanted that job after all.
And yet … they can’t. Having jacked in their jobs, they’re now in this strange limbo where despite wanting to be free to help more, they are actually helping less.
Where has Harry been in the bushfires? He posted on Instagram on Australia Day wishing everyone well, which was nice, but not super-effective.
Now he’s simply a celebrity, he has to work out how he’s going to help in these situations. He could donate cash like other high-profile people, he could throw his support behind a cause or start a fundraiser, he could volunteer on the ground (think Sean Penn and John Travolta in Hurricane Katrina). But he can’t really rock up now, or he’d be treading on the well-shod toes of his big brother.
So instead, he hasn’t really done anything. Apart from speak at a JP Morgan Chase summit, which is not such a good look.
I am not bashing the pair for wanting out. But I can’t help thinking they are floundering trying to discover exactly how they are going to best use their time and influence. And I reckon he will secretly lament he can’t do as much as he wanted.
The thing is, Harry was needed, he was wanted, he was loved. Especially by Australia.
When the couple last toured, they came across as so genuine and caring, I wrote at the time they were “a royal couple, the likes of which we have not seen before,” and they “have the power to make people and more importantly corporations care about things they haven’t previously.”
Maybe they still do – rumour is they want to style themselves as the Obamas or Clooneys, champions of charitable causes around the globe.
So Harry, if you still have that power, when are you going to ignite it?
Originally published as Prince Harry should be touring Australia, not William