work-shy Prince William

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arriving at the British Academy Film Awards in London on Feb. 12, 2017. Picture by Rota / i-Images UK

It wasn’t Groundhog Day, but an air of déjà vu hit with the news that Prince William skipped Commonwealth Day events on March 13, 2017 for a ski trip with friends to Verbier, Switzerland. Work-shy Prince William is back.

Work-shy Prince William, part 2

Just a year ago, the future king was under attack for not undertaking his first royal engagement of 2016 until 47 days into the year. Labels like “work-shy petulant prince” and the “most reluctant—and truculent—of royals” were being thrown at the future king. His work-avoidance reputation took another hit at the end of the year when it was revealed that the Queen, 90, did more engagements than William, Kate and Harry combined.

Eager to shake off a royal dilettante reputation, William knocked off two engagements on Jan. 3. And in late January, William and Kate announced they were moving to London in the fall, presumably to take on more royal duties. All seemed to be going well. Then came Commonwealth Day. For Queen Elizabeth II, it’s one of her most important standing engagements of the year. But instead of focusing on her annual message—“Working together, we build peace by defending the dignity of every individual and community”—the media was full of William’s antics on the ski slopes and off, including high-fives with beautiful blonds and knocking back Jagermeister shots with old buddies.

The Sun and Daily Mail went to town:

Why the work-shy Prince William label matters

The question wasn’t whether he attended or not—not every member of the royal family attend the service at Westminster Abbey every year—but optics. While his grandparents, father and brother were in the abbey, and while his wife was home with their two young children, William was downing shots at a luxury ski resort. Heck, even Prince Andrew knew enough to come back from his own Swiss ski break in time for the event.


It also reinforces the perception that William likes the perks, but not the work of being a royal. Last autumn in Vancouver, he made headlines for revealing he hadn’t read the briefing notes on a charity he visited. In a family that has virtually ingrained duty and responsibility into its DNA, that’s a problem.

Now, it again draws attention to his perceived lack of effort a few days before William Kate get ready for a visit to Paris.