I do laugh when the whole of the UK goes into its sack-cloth and ashes routine as Prince William is vilified for "not working hard enough". Apparently William has only done 100 hours work since the New Year, and so the print media have been giving him a good kicking for being such an idler. Every year, he gets all this money - tax-payers' money, our money! - so that he can live like a proper prince, and as a result he should damn well pull his finger out and turn up to the various hospital openings and tree-plantings that go by the name of "Royal Duties".
Take a look at Wills' auntie Princess Anne, for instance - every year she's turning out to hundreds and hundreds of these wonderful morale-boosting plaque unveilings and multiple glad-handings, and she's really doing her bit for the Royal road-show. It may be boring as hell, not to mention totally and utterly meaningless, but it's what these HRHs are supposed to do with their lives; if they don't like it, they shouldn't have signed up for the job in the first place.
Well let me present another point of view. (I think, by the way, that this must be the first time in nearly 30 years of being a hack that I have ever come to the defence of an HRH.)
And my defence would go something like this: who the hell gives a monkey's cuss whether William turns out to any of these unveilings and openings and witless small-talkings?
I've been to scores of them - I covered the Royals for a while for The Sun - and they are a complete yawn-fest. Perhaps these events might be a thrill for the earnest big-wigs who actually get to shake an HRH's hand, and who get to be asked how their day's going so far - but the vast, vast majority of Her Majesty's Great Unwashed could not care less. It's like looking at a posh freak-show - "Come on Love - let's pop down to that new shopping centre. I think Prince Billy's going to pull a curtain."
Of course if we're really, really lucky, and there are enough kids on display, then we might get to see Her Royal Tastiness, the Duchess of Kate. Well she's certainly the best looking of all the Royals, but that does not mean that her conversation is going to be any less vacuous.
That's what royals do - they do small-talk. They keep things nice and soft and friendly, and they never ever say anything of even the remotest interest. Why is that? Because otherwise they'll land themselves in the muck - as Prince Philip has done over and over again. "Coo - a Royal has said something interesting to me! I better go and tell that lovely Royal Hack from The Sun!"
My point being? My point is that these "royal duties" are a waste of time, and for all the difference it makes, instead of sending Prince William to the next plaque unveiling, the Windsors might as well send a trained monkey. (And what a story that would be - HRH Monkey would be on the front pages for weeks.)
Know why I think the tabloids like to stick it to Prince William for being a lazy git? Because the jammy sod has got something that the rest of us would just love to have.
While we wage-slaves have to slog our guts out in tedious drudgery for just five weeks' holiday a year, Prince William just gets to loaf around at home with his kids, go shooting with his mates, and generally behave like any other multi-millionaire on the planet.
So why the hell should he behaving all this fun, when we've got mortgages to pay? Know what HRH Prince Bastard should be doing - he should be working, just like the rest of us have to do, and since Royal Work means planting trees and making small-talk, then that's what he's bloody well go to do!
But of course we can't just say that - do some work you shiftless slacker! - because that would sound petty. Mean-spirited.
Instead, we dress it up by saying that The Royal Skiver owes it to us to do these footling Royal Duties because we all of us are paying him millions a year so that he can live high on the hog.
And while we're at it, couldn't the grumpy sod manage a smile or two? All we're asking - all we're asking! - is that Prince Billy shows up to, say, one plaque-unveiling a day, with a nice big fat smile on his hangdog face. And if he can bring the wife and kids too, then so much the better - because let's face it, Wills is bald and ugly, and we'd all much rather be looking at pictures of Kate on the next day's front pages.
So I understand why people want to stick it to Prince William. We're green with the envy that he's got a life-style that the rest of us can only dream of.
But it's still one hell of a stretch to say that, because he's on the Royal Dole, he should be turning out for all these stupid Royal Duties. We couldn't care less about Royal Duties - we just want to see him putting in a good eight hours a day of tedious graft like the rest of us.
Personally, I think Wills' best option would be to book himself and the kids into a cage at London zoo for three days a week - it'd be a lot more interesting for the rest of us, and he'd certainly have a deal sight more fun than he does with any of his odious Royal Chores.