Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, is the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. As a member of the British royal family, Prince Edward has lived most of his life in the public eye. While many people respect the royal family, Prince Edward seems to attract more dislike and criticism than his siblings. What is it about this particular prince that rubs people the wrong way? Here is an in-depth look at some of the potential reasons why Prince Edward is one of the less popular members of the royal family.
Reasons For Dislike of Prince Edward
His Failed TV Production Company
One of the biggest sources of criticism against Prince Edward stems from his failed television production company, Ardent Productions. After finishing university in the 1980s, Prince Edward decided to pursue a career in theatre and television rather than perform traditional royal duties. In 1993, he founded Ardent Productions with the intention of making historical documentaries and dramas.
However, Ardent Productions was plagued with problems and failed to find an audience for its programs. It produced just a few poorly-received documentaries and one critical flop in the form of a historical drama about Prince Edward’s great-uncle, the abdicated King Edward VIII. Ardent Productions shut down in 2009 after years of low viewership and financial losses.
Many people saw Prince Edward’s foray into television as an indulgent vanity project funded by the royal family’s wealth. The company’s failure reinforced the perception that Prince Edward was not cut out for professional success outside of his royal status. This damaged his reputation in the eyes of the public.
Perceived Air of Superiority
Another grievance that some people have against Prince Edward is his perceived air of superiority and pretentiousness. He has a reputation for being rather condescending and aloof in public appearances, upholding an aura of aristocratic snobbery.
For instance, when Prince Edward was still heavily involved with Ardent Productions in the 1990s, he was said to be very particular and demanding when dealing with underlings and creative staff. He expected royal treatment and disliked being questioned or challenged on artistic decisions. This rubbed many people the wrong way as an expression of elitism and arrogance.
Even today, Prince Edward can still come across as a bit rude, impatient, or disinterested when speaking with members of the press or public. To some observers, his mannerisms convey an air of superiority rather than the humility expected of royals. Rightly or wrongly, this has damaged his public image over the years.
Lavish Lifestyle Despite Questionable Work Ethic
Compared to older royals like Prince Charles and Princess Anne who have extensive charity projects and packed schedules of public engagements, Prince Edward has a relatively light workload. After his business failure with Ardent Productions, he took on only a small role managing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program.
Yet despite his sparse royal duties, Prince Edward still enjoys an extravagant lifestyle financed by taxpayers and the Duchy of Lancaster estate. To some citizens who work hard at regular jobs, it seems unfair for Prince Edward to live in luxury when he does not pull his weight in terms of tangible work output. His cushy lifestyle paired with a questionable work ethic rubs people the wrong way.
Controversy Over His Title
When Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, he was granted the title Earl of Wessex. However, Buckingham Palace also announced that Edward would eventually inherit the title Duke of Edinburgh, held by his father Prince Philip before passing to Edward after Philip’s death in 2021.
This planned inheritance of the title Duke of Edinburgh has sparked some controversy. Many people think the title should go directly to Edward’s older brother Charles or be retired permanently, rather than resurrected for Edward. There are also calls for reducing the number of dukedoms in general. The dispute over Prince Edward’s titles has fueled negativity from critics who see this as another example of royal entitlement.
Do People Have Good Reason to Dislike Prince Edward?
After examining some of the top reasons Prince Edward tends to attract criticism from the public, an objective observer may wonder – is the animosity justified? Or does Prince Edward get an unfairly bad rap? The answer likely depends on individual perspective.
The Case For Disliking Prince Edward
- Failed business ventures wasted taxpayers’ money
- Arrogant, elitist attitude in public engagements
- Lives lavishly but does little substantive work
- Undeserved royal titles reinforce perceptions of entitlement
From this view, the negative public perception of Prince Edward is reasonably grounded in his words and actions over the years. The combination of privileged lifestyle without commensurate merit or humility gives people cause for disapproval.
The Case For Sympathy Toward Prince Edward
- Constant tabloid scrutiny and attacks are emotionally taxing
- Trying and failing to build a professional career is relatable
- Shortcomings stem more from immaturity than malice
- As the youngest royal sibling, fewer responsibilities are natural
With empathy, Prince Edward’s flaws seem more human and understandable. His ambition to forge an independent career, difficult as the eldest son, is admirable. Mistakes stem from inexperience, not ill intent. Cutting him some slack may be warranted.
A Nuanced View May Be Best
In the end, public opinion on royals like Prince Edward is often overly simplistic. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle – Prince Edward has made missteps but also faced harsh criticisms. A balanced perspective recognizes both his achievements and shortcomings. Though not without faults, it may be unproductively harsh to singularly hate Prince Edward as a person. As with most things, moderation and understanding are wise responses.
Prince Edward’s unpopular public image appears to stem from a mixture of professional missteps, perceived personality flaws, and controversial privileges awarded to him as a royal. While Edward has made efforts to contribute value through endeavors like the Duke of Edinburgh Award program, his past arrogance and failed TV production company continue to color perceptions of him.
There are decent arguments on both sides – that the criticism is justified, but also that Edward deserves more empathy. In the end, Edward remains a polarizing figure, but the truth about his character likely lies somewhere in a complex gray area, as with most people. Striking the right balance of critical analysis and compassion is key to understanding why Prince Edward has inspired such a complex love-hate relationship with the British public.
FAQs About Dislike of Prince Edward
What was Prince Edward’s failed TV company called?
Prince Edward’s failed television production company was called Ardent Productions. It operated from 1993 to 2009 and primarily produced historical documentaries and dramas, few of which succeeded financially or critically.
What is Prince Edward’s current royal title?
Prince Edward currently holds the title Earl of Wessex, which was granted to him by the Queen after his marriage in 1999. Buckingham Palace has stated that Prince Edward will eventually inherit the title Duke of Edinburgh, held by his father Prince Philip before passing to Edward.
What type of programs did Ardent Productions create?
Ardent Productions tried to produce historical documentaries and dramatizations, such as a documentary about the history of saxophones and a drama about the abdication of King Edward VIII. But the company struggled to find an audience or create compelling programs.
Why do some people disapprove of Prince Edward inheriting the Duke of Edinburgh title?
Some people think the Duke of Edinburgh title should go directly to Prince Edward’s older brother Charles or be retired permanently, rather than resurrected for Edward. There are also calls to reduce the number of royal dukedoms overall, so granting Edward another feels unwarranted.
What charity work is Prince Edward involved with?
Prince Edward manages and supports the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program, which provides skills development, training, and enrichment activities to young people around the world. However, his workload is still considered lighter than older royals like Charles or Anne who have many patronages and causes.