August 2, 2013
You probably can’t tell by looking at me, but I am a Royal Watcher. I can’t get enough of all things Windsor, and I’ve got the Charles and Di commemorative wedding plate at home to prove it. Did I get up early to watch Will and Kate get married? You betcha, and I don’t mind saying that I got a little misty seeing the story of the little girl who dreams of growing up to become a princess come true in real life. Based on my monarchal fervor, I monitored the impending birth of the latest heir to the throne with stalker-like intensity. However, once the thrill of the birth of little George Alexander Louis subsided, I couldn’t help but wonder about how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will raise little “Georgie”.
I’m a parent myself, and I think that we can all agree that while it is life’s most rewarding endeavor, raising a child is not without its challenges. I’ve read that Will and Kate want to be “hands on” parents as opposed to the normal custom of allowing their child to be raised by nannies. Although the parents do interact with their offspring under this construct I think it’s only at meals and the holidays. It seems like this “parenting in passing” style could lead to one’s children having what polite society refers to as “issues”, and no one wants to think about their future head of state lying on somebody’s couch whining that, “Mummy didn’t love me”. So the fact that the Cambridge’s will be actively involved in their child’s life is good news, but what does active really mean, and what kind of pressure does that place on those formative individuals that will help mold young George into England’s once and future king?
Dealing with a helicopter parent is difficult from any educator, but what do you tell the heir to the throne and his bride at the parent-teacher conference if little George isn’t working and playing well with others or flunking math? Or, since it’s highly unlikely that William will be coaching the English version of Little League—if he did, would Kate be the team mom? How cool would it be to have the end of the season pool party at a palace—do you bat George clean-up even if he can’t hit his own weight? Of course, these are issues that the average coach or teacher doesn’t have to deal with, but what about the reciprocal problems that the kid’s doting parents will have to deal with? Even if his little highness is the best kid on the team for example, can’t you just hear the other mom’s whispering to each other that, “he only gets to pitch because he’s going to be king someday”. Really, some people can be so petty.
As George gets older, the unique problems that the family will face are only going to continue to mount. Do you let the kid have his own Facebook page or Twitter account? If I’m Prince Charles and Camilla, I don’t want my grandson living out his teenage angst to his one million friends or tweeting from @kinggeorgeVII. And I don’t think anyone in the Royal circle wants to even contemplate letting him post his on videos to You Tube. Will they let him have a part-time job? While the family is worth an estimated $1 billion, is there any better way for the heir to the throne to commune with the commoners than by wearing a paper hat and asking folks if they want chips with their fish. These are considerations that most of us “regular” parents just don’t have.
Although navigating the maturation process of their son will pose unique challenges to Britain’s favorite couple, the young prince and his parents will reap some benefits as part of his birthright. I mean, does anyone think that Will and Kate are going to be lying awake at night wondering if their son is going to be able to get into a “good” college, or whether he’s going to have a job when he graduates? And neither of them is going to have to worry about him growing up, getting married and moving away so that they won’t get to regularly see their own grandchildren. They’ll be able to visit them anytime they want…at Buckingham Palace. So there’s that.
I, for one, look forward to seeing how young George and his proud parents grow as a family over the coming years and I wish them all the best. While they may face some elements that add to the challenges we all face as parents, I feel confident that they are up to the job. As for me, I have already placed my order for the special Union Jack commemorative booties. Rule Britannia, and God Bless the King.