The House of Windsor has recently been blessed with a new addition to its already sizeable brood! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have completed their foremost regal duty and produced an heir. The world’s oldest monarchy now has the pleasant assurance of having three royals, all from different generations, waiting for their turn to carry the mantle of Monarchy forwards. Prince George Alexander Louis was born on the 22nd July 2013 under a whirlwind of media attention and analysis. It offers a grave foreboding of his future life: stuck in an unrelenting and unalterable existence like an unwillingly trapped marine creature in a very visible fishbowl. Yet, St Andrews’ most famous alumni bore the media pressure well and rejoiced in the birth of their beautiful baby boy. Public happiness for the young couple was bountiful and overflowing with joy. Discussions of the birth permeated all fields of interaction, ranging from newspaper columns, social media and conversation. Looking at the wider picture, it goes without saying that Britain’s House of Windsor is surfing on an ascending wave of popularity. Indeed, the future looks bright as our dignified and inimitable octogenarian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, looks set to become Britain’s longest reigning monarch in September 2015. With her first great-grandson now securely in position as third in line to the throne, the Queen can sleep soundly at night in the gratifying knowledge that her dynasty will survive well into the future.[pullquote]The young Prince George will have to face up to the challenges and trials of being a titled royal person in the 21st century.[/pullquote] It will be a life heavily curtailed by the trappings of duty. Nevertheless, an inescapable facet of having royal blood flowing through one’s veins is that privilege and affluence will partly make up for the inevitable loss of certain freedoms. Most media presenters, upon learning of the royal birth, sought to stress that the child would lead a ‘normal’ life, the same as millions of children throughout the United Kingdom. The universal attempt to convey this message through various mediums of communication indicates that it was part of a concerted effort by the Palace. This fallacy, however, cannot be taken seriously. When asked for their address, very few children could respond with ‘Kensington Palace’. When filling in an online application and asked to choose a title, not many people search for ‘His Royal Highness Prince…’ in lieu of the more ordinary ‘Mr’. The infant Prince George will undoubtedly attend an elite preparatory school before becoming a schoolboy at the grand and opulent Eton College. The fact that only 7% of UK citizens receive a private education, with fewer still attending a boarding school, and even fewer still attending a school which costs £30,000 per annum, exemplifies that this extent of wealth and privilege prevents any legitimate use of the word ‘ordinary’.
Nevertheless, there are several indications that the upbringing of Prince George will be somewhat different from the childhoods of past and present royals. William and Kate have vehemently asserted that the baby will not have a nanny. This will be a royal first. It shows that William and Kate will experience the testing ups and downs of being modern parents. It is not too difficult to imagine insomnia and exhaustion engulfing the corridors of the royal couple’s Kensington Palace flat as they battle an unwelcome build-up of nappies and an eternal echo of screaming. It will undoubtedly be the case that many calls will be dialled to Clarence House and Kate’s old Berkshire home to request immediate assistance. Yet, there is an admirable quality to this hands-on approach adopted by William and Kate. It shows a keenness to play a full and proper part in the upbringing of their child and will likely dig the roots of deep seated affection. The loving bond that connects William and Kate seems incredibly strong. They wisely prorogued the announcement of marriage until they were resolutely sure they both equally wanted to take the momentous step of becoming engaged. This signals a deep understanding of the lifelong significance that such a marital commitment would entail. Their warm, relaxed and compatible demeanours in public suggest that all is well behind closed doors.
Prince William will undoubtedly adhere to the spirit of Princess Diana in embracing the childhood of Prince George and enriching it in a deep ocean of affection. After her separation from Prince Charles in 1992, the then liberated Diana sought to ‘normalise’ the childhoods of Princes William and Harry. She led them on countless adventures, took them to theme parks, visited McDonalds, and allowed them to accompany her on her visits to charities not usually patronised by royalty. They began to encounter life through a different perspective; she provided an eye-opening lens into reality. William and Kate will hopefully follow in this tradition and Prince George will hopefully end up maturing into a gentleman who knows more about ‘his people’ than any of his regal predecessors.
The next and final article on Prince George of Cambridge addresses the importance of the selection of his name and will be published online here this Thursday, 29 August.
Photo Credit: Michael Cotterill