Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

Princess Charlotte faces struggles as she grows up – despite best efforts of Kate and Will

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Ms Junor warned that while Kate and William will do all they can to give Charlotte and her brothers George, 7, and Louis, 2, as normal a childhood as possible and try to treat all three the same, the realities of royal life means George’s path as a future king will always bee different.

Being the ‘spare’ has always been a difficult role to play

Penny Junor

Five-year-old Charlotte is fourth in line to the throne behind Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.

A rule change before her birth allowed her to retain her position when her younger brother, Prince Louis, arrived, as he would have previously had priority for the throne.

But while George’s life is already mapped out, that is not the case for his younger sister and brothers.

Writing in the Daily Mirror, Ms Junor said: “Being the ‘spare’ has always been a difficult role to play.

“The heir has his or her future mapped out and is the focus of attention from the parents, the press and the public.

“The spares are royal and yet they are not very important, particularly as time passes and they fall further down the line of succession.

“Having been third, Harry is now sixth in line. Yet he is still subject to media scrutiny, still restricted in how he lives his life, still unable to disappear into anonymity.

“Princess Margaret struggled with it. Prince Andrew has struggled with it; and unless things are radically different in the years to come, the reality is that Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis may struggle too.”

Ms Junor said Harry had well-documented struggles with his role in his teens and early 20s but Prince William always seemed comfortable with his life.

She said: “There was no escaping the fact that William was the heir and Harry, as his mother would jokingly declare, the spare. And Harry was only too aware of that.

“He grew up feeling second best. William was the good looking Prince, the clever one, the important one; meanwhile Harry felt himself to be none of those things.

“He was the one who had the knack for getting into trouble while William carefully steered clear of it.

“But William knew his destiny from a tender age and understood that a future king could not afford to get caught behaving badly like his contemporaries.

“He had a maturity beyond his years and he was careful where Harry was not.”

Prince George was born in July 2013, Princess Charlotte in May 2015 and Prince Louise in April 2018.

And while all three will grow up within a traditional household, William and Kate are also doing some things differently.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have protected their children’s privacy and the young royals only make rare appearances.

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But while the children are not often seen, Kate will regularly share her experiences as a mother.

This year in particular she resonated with parents as she shared her struggles of homeschooling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Parenting expert Mohammed Patel said: “Kate and William’s role in the pandemic was an example of their down to earth approach, as it seemed even the royal family couldn’t escape what was the chaos of home schooling.

“They have openly admitted that parenting has its ‘ups and downs’ but work hard to support each other through every milestone, no matter how big or small.”

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