One of the few major, international headlines from the Jubbly was Prince Louis’s tantrum at Sunday’s Jubbly parade. The videos and clips went viral instantly, and the specific clip of Louis putting his hand over his mother’s mouth has gotten millions of views. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge know that the conversation around Louis’s behavior (and Kate’s lack of early years expertise in handling Louis) has been everywhere this week. Which is why Kensington Palace keeps trying to do damage control. Dare I say it, they’re complaining and explaining. Enter Jan Moir, the Daily Mail columnist who has endlessly nasty things to say about the Sussexes almost always. Moir’s Jubbly takeaway is that… um, William and Kate need to stop putting their kids front and center. Yikes. When even Jan Moir is saying that…
It’s time to put some of the royals into cold storage: No, not the dusty old dukes bent double under their racks of dubious medals, nor the disgraced Yorks, nor indeed the Hollywood runaways. I’m talking about Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis; the next generation of front-line Windsors.
The Cambridge kids are too young for this: Watching them on Jubilee duty recently has made me think: aren’t they too young for all this? Are the little royals simply too little for the responsibility of public expectation and interest now heaped upon their tot-sized shoulders? Not even the Queen herself was asked to do so much, so young. And barely anything was seen or heard of fledgling Charles, practically until his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969, when he was 20 years old.
An uncomfortable spectacle: It is to the detriment of both adults and children that kids are always the centre of attention. It’s just not healthy! It is clear to see why the Cambridges in particular — and the monarchy in general — could certainly use the positive bounce in the polls supplied by a stream of feel-good images of their super-cute kiddies.Yet for me, the participation of junior Cambridges in royal events both major and minor has become an increasingly uncomfortable spectacle.
Louis’s tantrum: It was not just four-year-old Prince Louis’s sugar-fuelled antics on Saturday night, although that didn’t help. Many found it charming and amusing, but others — like me — didn’t find it sweet or funny at all. He was just a tired, bored little boy who needed his bed. And a part of the problem is that, in the past, his tantrums would have been confined to a few yellowing images in newspapers or a seldom-seen clip aired in a news item or documentary. Now, anyone can summon up the footage with the click of a button on a smartphone. And you can guarantee that it is going to follow Prince Louis around for ever; a crimson shadow of embarrassment throughout his teenage years and beyond. Is it fair to inflict such a fate on an under-five?
George is uncomfortable too: Prince George, who turns nine next month, often seems uncomfortable with the attention — and sometimes even looks troubled. And when one considers the meticulously orchestrated future that awaits him, no wonder. Children are like little sponges, they absorb the feelings and anxieties in the atmosphere around them; somewhere in the royal ether must lurk the awareness that the monarchy is now destined to dilute and weaken with every passing generation. Once the Queen has gone, the glamour and eminence will surely begin to fritter away, like glitter down a golden drain.
This passage is shocking: So no surprise that the three children were front and centre of the Jubilee celebrations; this trio of midget emissaries, always immaculately dressed in heritage outfits as if they were mini-adults at an upscale garden party circa 1952. Ankle socks, smocking, sports jackets, sailor outfits, sensible leather shoes with mother-of-pearl buttons — who under the age of 60 even dresses like this any more? Only them.
Well well: No wonder that William and Kate seemingly oscillate with anxiety when they are around the children in public; no doubt terrified of the eruption of some tiny rage or volcanic sulk that no amount of love or careful parenting can insure against. How they must envy the carefully curated privacy of the Sussexes, whose children Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, are kept out of the public spotlight save for the odd sighting of an arty toe or back of a head or a tasteful Christmas or birthday card portrait — an option simply not available to the Cambridges.
A hard watch: In the age of the internet and myriad social platforms, I can’t help but feel it is too indelible, too much, too young. Has the time come to retire the royal children from high-profile royal duties until they are old enough to know better? Or maybe they should just soak up the privileges and suffer in silence, like the rest of the star-crossed crew? Either way, it is a hard watch.
I wouldn’t have thought Moir could go this hard. Usually when I read Moir’s pieces, they’re steeped in casual racism, lies and bullsh-t. But she’s actually taking it to William and Kate with some subtlety here. She sounds horrified by William and Kate shoving their kids out so much. She’s right – George seems very uncomfortable in general, and Louis should never be expected to sit through that dull parade at his age. All three kids are simply way too young for all of the sh-t they’re doing publicly. What’s fascinating though is that Moir couches her criticism in sugary sympathy for William and Kate. As in, they can’t help being so boring, of course they feel the need to bring out their children, and of course they’re specifically overexposing their kids to the public for their own PR.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid and Instar.