Inevitably, as soon as Prince William slipped his late mother’s ring on fiancee Kate Middleton’s finger and the public got its first proper gander at this young, vibrant couple, the cry went up: let him be our next king.
Now, after two opinion polls showed most people believed he would make a better monarch than his father, William, it appears, has felt the need to knock on the head any such mutterings.
He has let it be known that there is “no question” Charles will be the next king, and apparently also made clear that he has no desire to climb the ladder of kingship prematurely.
For good measure, a royal insider adds: “[Prince William] knows his place in the Royal family and he considers himself to be very low down the food chain.” And what did anyone expect William to say? “Throw the oul’ boy in the moat” or “Tell him and his fancy woman to sling their hooks”.
Damningly, though, by yet again saying the right thing, behaving like a loyal son, putting the interests of the nation first by attempting to squash speculation, William’s behaviour only illustrates all the more how tempting a prospect his early accession would be. There’s a few other concerns, of course. Is William totally sure that he wants to spend the next 30-odd years stepping about as heir in the shadow of his father?
And given the obvious enduring unpopularity of Charles and Camilla — he’s still futtering about, getting people’s backs up by trying to work out how he can ensure she becomes Queen — can he be sure there will be a throne to accede to when the time finally comes?