Duchess Kate could one day become interim regent. Royal expert Julia Melchior explains more about this in an interview.
In her film “Royal Couples – The New Generation” (May 26, 8:15 p.m., Arte), royal expert Julia Melchior focuses on three royal couples who need to modernize their monarchies. Prince William (39) and Duchess Kate (40), King Felipe (54) and Queen Letizia of Spain (49) and Crown Princess Victoria (44) and Prince Daniel of Sweden (48). In addition to goosebump scenes that show the royals in their heart topics – such as Prince William at the environmental award ceremony “Earthshot Prize” or Crown Princess Victoria at the Gay Gala 2013 – the film also addresses an aspect that has rarely been highlighted: Duchess Kate has to prepare for it , possibly one day being interim regent. Julia Melchior explains why, among other things, in an interview with spot on news.
In your new film “Royal Couples – The New Generation” William and Kate, Felipe and Letizia as well as Victoria and Daniel are the focus. What criteria did you use to select the three couples?
Julia Melchior: In the course of the Queen’s jubilee, of course, a lot is looked back into history. But for the future viability of the British royal family, it is now above all down to William and Kate. They have to make the royal family fit for future generations. That’s a big task. The monarchy is no longer a sure-fire success in Great Britain either, only 30 percent of 18- to 24-year-old Britons are in favor of it. This also has to do with the recent scandals.
In this context, I thought it was important to also look at Felipe and Letizia in the film because they face similarly difficult challenges. They’re a good reference because they’re a step ahead of William and Kate because they’re already on the throne. Felipe and Letizia work hard to restore credibility and prestige to the heads of state.
Victoria and Daniel from Sweden, on the other hand, are an exciting couple because the roles are reversed. She has the top job and he is the person in the background. This also reflects a modern concept of life for many people in their generation.
All three couples have found completely new themes for themselves, which the film shows with touching scenes. What was the most surprising for you?
Melchior: Crown Princess Victoria’s appearance at the Gay Gala is outstanding because she has achieved so much with it. And her commitment to the gay community is sustainable. Last year she showed that again with her opening speech at Stockholm Pride.
But I also didn’t expect Felipe’s speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the world’s largest telecommunications trade fair. I had adjusted to the topic of digitization and then a few days after the start of the Ukraine war he gave a speech on solidarity, cohesion and peace that really went through my bones.
In addition to how the royals dealt with the Ukraine war, environmental protection and the gay and lesbian movement, your film tells another exciting aspect: Duchess Kate has to prepare, among other things, for possibly being interim regent one day. Why is that?
Melchior: If anything were to happen to Prince William as king and he was incapacitated, Kate would have to step in until her son, Prince George, 8, came of age. This type of representation is reserved for the so-called state councilors, which always include the monarch’s spouse. Prince Philip was also a member of the State Council until his death in April 2021. The Queen as regent or one day William as regent can delegate official business and sovereign rights to these state councillors.
Prince Charles and Prince William are currently the de facto Councilors of State – Prince Harry and Prince Andrew would be, too, but they no longer hold official appointments for the royal family. With the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the subsequent accession of Prince Charles, the Council of State will be reformed again. And after Camilla, Kate will eventually join that royal circle of representatives.
In other monarchies it is regulated similarly. If something were to happen to the King of Spain, Queen Letizia would take over his duties on an interim basis until the heir to the throne, Princess Leonor, came of age. Máxima would also have become interim regent in the Netherlands, but the heir to the throne, Princess Amalia, is now of legal age.
Would Duchess Kate find this task easy?
Melchior: Duchess Kate has made a lot of progress in the ten years since the wedding in 2011. It always seems like she was made for the big show. However, it is known that she initially found it difficult to give public speeches. In recent years she has become more and more active. She has really learned her job and gained more self-confidence as a result. This role just takes time. And now you can see her coming out of cover. She accepts offices and sometimes speaks plainly. I believe that she will be a great queen.
Will Duchess Kate become a Queen Consort like Duchess Camilla?
Melchior: Certainly she will also be a Queen Consort, King’s Consort. This is traditionally the title for a monarch’s wife, i.e. the royal First Lady. However, it is customary to speak of the queen and not of the king’s wife.
Recently rumors circulated about a marriage crisis between Victoria and Daniel. That doesn’t happen in your film. Did you find out anything about it during your research?
Melchior: Yes, I have. I also thought about taking it into the film. But when the rumors turned out to be unfounded, we left the film as it is now. Simply because the rumors are not relevant to this film. But I am currently working on another film about the role of women in the Swedish royal family, which will be broadcast on ZDF in early August. And that’s where I’ll take up the topic, because in this context the question of how to deal with such rumors is quite important.
How did the rumor come about in the first place?
Melchior: The rumor spread via social media. It was scattered in a targeted manner and you also know where it came from. As the rumors spread, Victoria and Daniel decided to respond and issue a denial. Usually, the Royals do not respond to rumors and speculation, so as not to add fuel to the fire.
But in this case it was different, for the sake of her children. Because Princess Estelle and her schoolmates can already read and are confronted with it. They intervened to protect their children. For a short time, this caused quite a stir, but now nobody is talking about it anymore.