Prince William: The controversial tradition he could break once he’s King

Prince William, future heir to the throne, is already breaking tradition in many ways. But there is another he could break and it might just be too controversial to do...

Prince William might break yet another tradition once he is King and it is already controversial
© P van Katwijk / GETTY IMAGES
Prince William might break yet another tradition once he is King and it is already controversial

What the members of the Royal Family wear is always scrutinised and analysed. While it mostly focuses on the women, the men of The Firm are occasionally victims of the obsession.

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Very recently, Prince William’s uniform during Trooping the Colour made the front page as he paid tribute to both his father, King Charles III and his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. But now, in July 2023, another fashion item is brought forward and this one is historically controversial: the kilt.

While some royal watchersaredesperate for the future King to wear one, others highlight the controversial history between the Scottish tradition and the English Royal Family.

Royal fans desperate for Prince William in a kilt

English monarchs have often been seen wearing the Scottish garment. For instance, it is known that the late Queen Elizabeth was very attached to hers as well as to her residence at Balmoral.

King Charles has also been seen sporting a kilt on numerous occasions. As children Prince William and Harry were also made to wear the garment. However, in recent years, the heir to the throne has not been seen wearing one. Even so that royal watchers have pointed out that the last time he wore a kilt was as a child. What looks like a rejection of the kilt, is bringing a lot of attention to him from people who do want him to wear one and those who don’t.

Online, specifically on Twitter aka X, if you type ‘Prince William kilt’ you will see numerous tweets asking the future king to wear the garment.

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While these tweets are inherently funny and the debate around Prince William and kilts is rooted in history, what appears to be a refusal to wear a kilt while in Scotland is something that should be and is being discussed.

The history between the English monarchy and kilts

In order to understand the obsession about Prince William’s choice not to wear a kilt while visiting Scotland, we have to have a look at the past. The kilt is a ‘distinguished symbol of Scottish identity.

Before being worn by English monarchs, the kilt was banned in 1746 in order to squash the Jacobite rebellion. At the time, the people who dared to defy the English crown’s ruling would face serious consequences such as imprisonment. The ban of the kilt lasted for over 30 years and even though it was no longer illegal, the kilt didn’t make a comeback as it had fallen out of fashion.

However, Edinburgh Live reports that the kilt made a come back thanks to Queen Victoria who ‘venerated anything Scottish with a passion.’ Since then, the kilt has been seen during official royal ceremonies and it is understood that English monarchs and their family have to wear the kilt while in Scotland.

Prince William choosing not to wear one is therefore very polarising. In an opinion piece in The Telegraph, Alan Cochrane, explains:

while there is no way I would ever insist that wearing a kilt should be compulsory, (...) William should accept wearing one whilst “working”, and certainly at Balmoral, or while on official duty north of the Highland line,
it should be regarded as part of his uniform.

Cochrane also calls it William’s ‘duty’ to wear one while he is in Scotland.

The opinion piece which links history to William’s choice really highlights the fact that while some traditions might be easily broken, others are so deeply rooted in history that they should take longer to dismiss.

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Edinburgh Live: When kilts were banned in Scotland and the royal who championed their comeback

The Telegraph: It’s Prince William’s duty to wear a kilt north of the Highland line

Twitter aka X

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