Prince William Will Continue to ‘Speak Out’ After Gaza Statement: Royal Source

A palace source told The Daily Beast that William would likely make further comments on issues of global importance, saying, “When he feels the need to say something, he will.”Published Feb. 20, 2024 8:05PM EST exclusivePhoto Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/GettyInterventions on global issues close to Prince William’s heart, like his dramatic statement calling for an

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A palace source told The Daily Beast that William would likely make further comments on issues of global importance, saying, “When he feels the need to say something, he will.”

Tom Sykes

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A photo illustration of Prince William

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

Interventions on global issues close to Prince William’s heart, like his dramatic statement calling for an end to the war in Gaza Tuesday, are likely to be an ongoing feature of his tenure as Prince of Wales, with sources saying the prince will continue to speak out on issues that he believes matter.

In a clear suggestion that Tuesday’s statement—which called for an “end to fighting,” even though Israel remains implacably opposed to calls for a ceasefire—was a template for future interventions rather than a one-off, a palace source told The Daily Beast that William would likely make further comments on issues of global importance, saying, “When he feels the need to say something, he will.”

Another royal source said that William would have been less likely to make such an unambiguous statement if he were king, but said that his father King Charles had created a model whereby the heir to the throne could “speak out” on issues that mattered to them.

Critics might argue such a comparison is disingenuous, for while Charles is well known for campaigning on domestic issues such as architecture, the environment and alternative medicine, William’s statement represents an unprecedented, and passionate, intervention in one of the most watched, and divisive, world events of the moment. One former palace aide described it to the Times of London as “a hot potato” that Queen Elizabeth “would not have wanted to grasp, whereas William “has got his oven gloves on.”

The Daily Beast has been previously told by friends of the king that even when he was Prince of Wales he would sometimes stop himself while talking about a pet subject such as organic farming, and make a gesture miming his hands being handcuffed in front of him.

William, by contrast, threw those handcuffs off today in what has been seen as an attempt to cast himself as a global statesman. One palace source speaking to the Times of London called it by way of a curtain-raiser, pre-publication, as “punchy,” adding it was “a significant intervention by [HRH] on an important topic that is close to his heart.”

In his statement timed to be released while he was visiting the British Red Cross he said: “I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack on 7 October. Too many have been killed. I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible. There is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. It’s critical that aid gets in and the hostages are released.

“Sometimes it is only when faced with the sheer scale of human suffering that the importance of permanent peace is brought home. Even in the darkest hour, we must not succumb to the counsel of despair. I continue to cling to the hope that a brighter future can be found and I refuse to give up on that.”

Britain's William, Prince of Wales, listens as he visits the British Red Cross at its headquarters in London, Britain, February 2src, 2src24.

Britain’s William, Prince of Wales, listens as he visits the British Red Cross at its headquarters in London, Britain, February 20, 2024.

Kin Cheung/Pool via Reuters

The unequivocal remarks drew a curt response from the Israeli government, with a spokesperson saying: “Israelis of course want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible, and that will be possible once the 134 hostages are released, and once the Hamas terror army threatening to repeat the Oct. 7 atrocities is dismantled. We appreciate the Prince of Wales’ call for Hamas to free the hostages. We also recall with gratitude his statement from Oct. 11 condemning Hamas’ terror attacks and reaffirming Israel’s right of self-defense against them.”

Others were less diplomatic. Nigel Farage, the pro-Brexit, pro-Trump, right-wing politician and media personality who helped found the Reform UK party, said on X: “I’m not sure that our future king should be doing this. He should stick to the Baftas.”

However, William’s carefully worded statement does not take one side, or inflame divisions, as his critics frequently accuse Farage of doing. Next week William is set to join a conversation at a synagogue with young people from communities who are advocating against hatred and antisemitism.

Kensington Palace released a statement on behalf of both William and Kate: “The Prince and Princess were profoundly concerned by events that unfolded in late 2023 and continue to hold all the victims, their family and friends in their hearts and minds. Their Royal Highnesses continue to share in the hope of a better future for all those affected.”

While it is not clear whether William sought his father’s approval before making the remarks, which palace sources said were triggered by images of great “human suffering,” palace sources told The Daily Beast that governmental sign-off was obtained.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister told the Telegraph: “His comments echo those that you have heard previously from the Prime Minister as well. The Prime Minister has said before on a number of occasions that too many civilians have lost their lives…we want to see an end to the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible, so it is consistent with the Government position and we welcome that intervention. It is important that we speak [with] one voice as a nation.”

Smoke rises over Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Israel, February 2src, 2src24.

Smoke rises over Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Israel, February 20, 2024.

Susana Vera/Reuters

Sources also compared William’s statement today to remarks he made while visiting Polish and British troops in Poland last year, speaking of, “their shared determination to defend our shared freedoms” in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The argument seems to be that there is precedent for making remarks about global political situations. However, for the future king to appear to be criticizing Israel’s conduct is a very different proposition to praising troops defending oblique “freedoms.”

William’s remarks will likely be welcomed by critics of Israel’s military operations, which has so far cost an estimated 29,000 Palestinian lives—and who have called for a ceasefire. However, Andrew Percy, an MP and vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, made clear his displeasure at William’s intervention.

He told the Telegraph: “The underlying principle of our constitutional monarchy is that members of the royal family do not engage in contentious political issues of the day on which there are divergent and strongly held beliefs in this country. Members of the Royal family would do well to remember that.”

However, Britain’s Chief Rabbi also welcomed William’s statement, writing on X, that William to date had “shown a deep concern for the well being of all those affected by the conflict in the Middle East and his words of compassion today, which I welcome, are yet further evidence of this. His plan to visit a synagogue to learn more about the troubling global increase in antisemitism will send a powerful message that there must be no place for anti Jewish hatred in our society.”

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