06/03/2011

William and Kate face baptism by fire in Canada, says royal biographer

Andrew-dress Andrew Morton speaks about the Royal Family and his new book against the backdrop of Princess Diana's wedding gowns in Toronto. (STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR)

William and Kate’s trip to Canada is a “baptism by fire,” according to royal biographer and celebrity watcher Andrew Morton.

“I am very surprised that they are not going to Toronto,” said Morton in an interview with the Star. “Montreal and Quebec in general are the least interested in the royals. Kate is getting the baptism of fire or rather a baptism of ire,” he added.

Morton, best known for his biography Diana: Her True Story, puts the decision for the couple to head to Quebec down to manoeuvering by the Canadian government, rather than the preferences of Clarence House.

Hertiage Canada minister James Moore said the schedule was done in consultation with the couple. But if things go wrong, Morton said the royal family’s public relations strategy could be called into question.

“If the couple's first joint visit is marred by protests, there are bound to be questions about why Catherine was thrown into the republican lion's den in the first place,” Morton writes on his website The Morton Report.

Amir Khadir, an ultra-left parliamentarian in Quebec, likened the royals to parasites and circus freaks on Tuesday. The Separatist group, The Réseau de Résistance du Québecois, also said it was planning a peaceful rally in Quebec City against the monarchy to mark the couple’s visit.

Despite possible protests in Quebec, Morton is sure the reception of William and Kate in the rest of the country, following their fairytale wedding, will only help to rejuvenate the royal family’s public image, especially compared to the rather muted response Charles and Camilla received when they visited the country in 2009.

“There is real enthusiasm and positive feeling towards the crown following the wedding.

“The wedding itself was not just two people taking their vows, but also renewal of the historical compact between the nations and the monarchy,” Morton told the Star, predicting that this renewal will lead to more royal trips to Canada and next time a visit in Toronto.

“Basically, it is a never-ending road show,” said Morton.

Morton, whose latest book William & Catherine: Their Lives; Their Wedding hit shelves in May, believes the April 29th nuptials helped erase some of the hostility towards the royals that grew following the tragic death of Diana.

“People have bought into the wedding, people invested part of themselves in it,” said Morton. “I have spoken to a lot of women who put on their finest dresses and watched the wedding with their daughters…it brought out their sympathy towards the royals.”

But he finds it odd that a family who has insisted on privacy should be posing in Vanity Fair -- William and Kate will grace July's cover of the magazine -- and including California as part of William and Kate’s first tour.

“It is interesting, Prince William wants to be normal and he is agreeing to be on the cover of Vanity Fair and it is Clarence House that is issuing these pictures,” said Morton. “Clarence House wants to promote the young couple in a glamorous magazine. Like a film star these two have a tour to promote,” he adds. “It just pulls away the fig leaf of normality.”

William and Kate will be heading to California for three days after their tour of Canada ends July 8.

So, now that they are fully in the public eye, will William and Kate be able to hold the public’s gaze like Charles and Diana did?

“Give them a chance, they haven’t started yet,” said Morton. “People will be going back to (Charles and Diana's) first visit to Canada and Australia to compare and contrast the pictures,” he adds. “Wait and see. Catherine is a modern-day icon and she and Prince William are doing very well so far.”

Comments

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Why does the writer assume that the reader would have any idea about what "Clarence House" is or why it matters?

Morton is as misinformed as the Canadian government is disingenuous. The Government knows full well that this Royal Couple will be very well received in Quebec not because they are British Royals but simply because they have become beautiful young celebrities who are bound to attract a crowd where ever they may go including Quebec. The Canadian government, unlike Morton, knows this but the disingenuous part is exploiting the couples' celebrity status to give the - false - impression that the Monarchy itself is on the rise in Quebec.

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