Why Prince William has had to overcome a so-called 'allergy' to connect with royal fans

He had to move with the times

Prince William, Prince of Wales poses for selfies with members of the public as he visits Pret A Manger on September 07, 2023 in Bournemouth, England
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince William may be an elder millennial, but that doesn't mean he's completely on board with all of his generation's preferences.

Back in 2018, William joked to a royal fan: "I'm allergic to selfies," but since then he has indulged many well-wishers in posing with them. Knowing him, he was probably more self-conscious about his appearance than "allergic" to the concept of selfies more generally, anyway. Still, it very much looks like the Prince of Wales has got over this particular hang-up.

"You do see selfies happening more often these days," royal photographer Samir Hussein told OK!. "I think it's because the royals are more relaxed and want to give people what they want. It would seem rude to walk away, so they're happy to take them now and again."

Another reason William may have got more comfortable with selfies in recent years is that the royals now depend heavily on social media to connect with younger generations of royal fans, and selfies are really just part of the territory.

"Kate and William have used social media to tell their story, share their work and talk directly to their fans," commented brand and culture expert Nick Ede. "Becoming social media stars lets them promote the causes they care about, use their platforms for good and shine a light on people and issues they're connected with."

Royal expert Duncan Larcombe agreed, saying: "The Prince and Princess are the first royals to really understand the impact social media can have, and how you can create a massive following through it. It's where Kate's own photographic skills come in handy, because she has an understanding of what the public wants to see. It also shows a much more modern and relevant side to the family."

Social media is also a way for the royals to keep the public informed about what's going on in their lives, including bad news like Princess Kate's recent surgery. These platforms help them establish more of a dialogue with all of us than was previously possible for royals.

Iris Goldsztajn
Iris Goldsztajn is a celebrity and royal news writer for Marie Claire. As a London-based freelance journalist, she writes about wellness, relationships, pop culture, beauty and more for the likes of InStyle, Women's Health, Bustle, Stylist and Red. Aside from her quasi-personal investment in celebs' comings and goings, Iris is especially interested in debunking diet culture and destigmatising mental health struggles. Previously, she was the associate editor for Her Campus, where she oversaw the style and beauty news sections, as well as producing gift guides, personal essays and celebrity interviews. There, she worked remotely from Los Angeles, after returning from a three-month stint as an editorial intern for Cosmopolitan.com in New York. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she interned at goop and C California Style and served as Her Campus' national style and LGBTQ+ editor. Iris was born and raised in France by a French father and an English mother. Her Spotify Wrapped is riddled with country music and One Direction, and she can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.