Europe

William and Kate tipped to embrace ‘soft power’ by outshining politics

Prince William and Kate Middleton visit Northern Ireland

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William and Kate are set to embrace the “soft power” of the Royal Family as they head to the US this December for the Earthshot Prize ceremony in Boston. UK and US politicians may clash, however respect and admiration for royals in the country remains strong. Princess Diana captivating American audiences and Queen Elizabeth II meeting all US Presidents during her reign – bar President Johnson – are examples of this power. It is often perceived as of great importance to boosting the UK’s position on the world stage.

Promoting the UK’s identity and cultural values, Her Late Majesty visited more than 100 countries at the behest of the UK Government and hosted hundreds of world leaders and diplomats.

This connection and the sharing of values and culture is particularly strong across the pond, according to royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Fitzwilliams said: “Who can forget Diana dancing with John Travolta or indeed instances with the Queen. Whether it was President Reagan horse riding with her or whether it was the Queen’s various visits to America – it is a tremendously significant connection.”

This connection outside of traditional politics is perhaps most important when governments don’t see eye to eye.

Democrats in the US have been critical of Prime Minister Liz Truss’s policies regarding Brexit and Northern Ireland. President Joe Biden has slammed the policy of scrapping some parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol previously.

However, there remains a respect for British institutions and indeed the country as a whole.

Mr Fitzwilliams added: “[This connection] is also important to the Royal Family, because obviously they are the ultimate soft power that the UK can deploy.

“For example, the Biden administration would not – I think – be considered to be close to the current Government.

“One could draw a parallel between the issue of Brexit and the European Union and, in that connection, soft power has an ever more important role to play.”

The idea of using the monarchy as a diplomatic tool isn’t new, of course. One clever example of the late Queen’s use of her soft power is in 2003 when she drove the then Saudi Arabian Crown Prince who didn’t approve of driving.

Such an action present Britain’s cultural ideals and norms to the world in a way which often transcends politics. The Royal Family members are, after all, not politicians.

President Obama once summed up the US relationship with the monarchy when he remarked: “The American people are quite fond of the Royal Family. They like them much better than their own politicians.”

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Prince William and Kate are heading to the US in December for the 2022 Earthshot Prize ceremony in Boston. It will be there first time back in the States for nearly eight years.

The journey could be especially significant as the Prize focuses on solving environmental challenges in an innovative way.

The US has suffered increasingly strong storms and more frequent and widespread wildfires as a result of climate change.

With this fresh in American minds, it could be the perfect time to put British soft power on display and connect with US royal watchers following the death of Her Late Majesty, who was so respected in the country.

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