Prince William and Kate Middleton might appear to be anything but your average family through their royal lineage. However, the supposed modern couple made a U-turn when it came to keeping up to date with the times, leading many to question their parenting.
Relating To Royals
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children may occupy the third, fourth and with one on the way, fifth positions in line to the throne, but Kate and William have maintained they want their children brought up with rules and morals. Many began wondering if the royal family had been welcoming or disapproving of the disregard to traditional royal protocol…
Dysfunctional Family History
The Duke and Duchess’ decision to teach their children morals and values was not the position the royal family had taken in history. In fact, Queen Victoria was quite the contrast to the present royals as there were many recorded stories of neglecting her children and having a fraught family. Despite having nine children, she wasn’t very maternal and was heard stating “An ugly baby is a very nasty object.” Queen Victoria was determined to uphold her royal duties ahead of motherhood.
Adapting With Time
However, with modern times, the royals were forced to adapt and forgo traditional royal norms in favor of something the public would admire and respect. Although Prince Charles’ childhood displayed somewhat of a distant relationship with his parents, it was nothing like the strained relationships his ancestors had. Moreover, there were further developments between Prince Charles’ relationships with his two son’s, William and Harry, but the recognition for this adoration and respect went to another person.
It was well documented that Princess Diana was the person solely responsible for reforming modern royals and instilling values and love into her children. When Diana married Charles, it was evident from the outset that she was anything but a classic Princess who conformed to rules and regulations set by the higher powers within the royal family. Diana’s first big decision was to raise her boys herself, insisting on being a present figure in their day-to-day lives.
A Mother’s Love
Prince William and Harry both admired and appreciated Diana’s way of raising them. Harry stated “My mother cherished the moments of privacy and being a mother, rather than the Princess of Wales.” Diana would often take the boys to the supermarket and to the movies in secret, giving them a real chance at normality instead of staying within the confines and strict rules of the palace. Prince Harry further admitted, “She smothered us with love.”
The New Royals
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s courtship dated back to college with the two becoming inseparable ever since. Following a brief break, the two realized they were destined to be together and were married in a somewhat of a royal spectacle back in 2011. Prince William took a note out of his mother’s book and went against royal protocol by marrying a commoner, rather than someone from a royal or aristocratic background. The adaptation of royal traditions and values wasn’t to stop there.
A Royal Baby
Almost immediately following the royal wedding, everyone was on baby watch, anxiously awaiting the announcement which promised to add another royal to the throne lineage. When the royal baby announcement finally came in 2012, many were speculating on the type of parents Kate and William were going to be and whether they would take Diana’s approach to parenting. Prince George was born on July 22nd 2013 at the St Mary’s Hospital in London, and the world couldn’t wait to get a glimpse of him.
Baby Number Two
Kate and William took to parenting immediately and acted as doting parents to their little Prince. The two wasted no time in adding to their family and Princess Charlotte was born two years later. With their family expanding to four, many noticed that the majority of modern royals stopped at two children and postulated whether the Duke and Duchess would follow suit. When they revealed in September 2017 that they were expecting their third child, everyone realized they were making up their own rules.
Middleton Family Life
William may have grown up in a royal family where traditions and expectations were entirely different to that of an average family, but through his mother and Kate, he was shown normality. William spent a lot of time at the Middleton home where he was reported to love and admire the rapport between Kate and her siblings, Pippa and James, as well as the love and support evidently shown from her parents, Michael and Carole. William longed for that in his own family.
An Open Book
Despite Kate and William wanting to maintain a private space for their family, away from the public eye, the royal couple often gave insights into their new roles as parents. From her pregnancies, Kate admitted that she was suffering from an extreme, rare form of morning sickness called Hyperemesis gravidum, hoping to give other expecting mothers empathy and appearing approachable and normal. This was not the only glimpse the loving royal couple gave into their home life.
In 2016, Prince William spoke candidly to a talk show in Vietnam during a royal tour. He admitted about his transition into parenthood, “I’ve struggled at times.” He continued in explaining that “The alteration from being a single, independent man to going into marriage and then having children is life-changing.” In addition, William also had to juggle between being a father, a Prince and British Royal Air Force Pilot, which he later gave up to focus on his family and royal obligations.
Learning From Mistakes
Prince William, in particular, was said to be overly cautious with how he brings up his children and their expectations within the public eye due to unfortunate circumstances in his own life. When Princess Diana tragically died in the infamous car crash in 1997, William and Harry were both expected to adopt a strong and resilient attitude towards their mother’s death, despite their young age. William admitted that the media was a catalyst in changing his attitude for protecting his own family.
Ups And Downs
While William expressed his concerns about being a parent, he was not alone. Kate also spoke out at a mental health event in March 2017, explaining that on occasion she had felt a “lack of confidence” in parenting her children. The Duchess did state that “becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience,” but later admitted that “However, at times it has also been a huge challenge. Even for me, who has support at home that most mothers do not.”
A Real Perspective
Kate and William’s desire to give a real perspective to other new parents going through similar emotions has been welcomed by so many. In the past, the royals have developed a ‘stiff upper lip’ approach where they hide challenges, weakness and emotions. It is refreshing to hear the new crop of royals divulge details of the trials and tribulations within their private lives and makes them seem closer to the public, despite their royal status.
In recent years, the decision for royals to open up about their feelings and their struggles has increased by ten fold. Kate, William and Harry joined forces in 2017 to discuss mental health with Harry going so far to reveal his own internal struggle. The Prince admitted that he had sought counseling to cope with the death of his mother, years after the event. Harry said that he was not given a chance to grieve as a young boy which severely affected him in later years.
Harry’s admission prompted both Kate and William to help Harry as well as others suffering through forming the Heads Together charity. The organization aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and implement young people to being open to discuss mental health issues. Kate and William strived to adopt this open-minded approach in the privacy of their home and with their children. They did not want their young children suffering in silence, something other royal family members had failed to do.
In April 2017, William told CALMzine, “Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings.” He continued, “Over the past year we have visited a number of schools together where we have been amazed listening to children talk about some quite difficult subjects in a clear and emotionally articulate way, something most adults would struggle with.”
Hope For The Future
William had not finished in speaking of his hopes and commitment to the cause. He further stated that “Seeing this has really given me hope things are changing and there is a generation coming up who find it normal to talk openly about emotions.” Both William and Kate seemed like the accepting and loving parents with values that most people should adopt. However, soon after their insightful comments, new information appeared about their parenting which made some question whether they were doing the right thing.
Kate and William often spoke about themselves and their parenting but only rarely did they speak about their children’s likes and dislikes. In 2017, it was revealed that George and Charlotte were similar to many other children their age, adoring toys and Disney movies. It was said that Charlotte loved Disney princesses and even though many young girls dreamed of being a princess, the two year old could claim that she actually was one. There was one thing, however, that Kate and William denied their children of…
In the article, it was also revealed that Kate and William had banned technology in their home including phones, iPads and computers. The royal couple did not want their children to have any access to the internet or anything that might impact their lives as grounded children. Furthermore, William and Kate both grew up without gadgets and wanted to emphasize the importance of being outside and playing sports, rather than surfing the internet or play mindless, virtual games.
Advanced Prince and Princess
When the revelations came to light, many people questioned the royal couple’s decision to deprive their children of technology but their choice was backed up by scientific research which encouraged other parents to do the same. In the study involving young children playing on iPads, a 29% increased risk of a speech delay was recorded for those who had a 30-minute increase in daily screen time. This, however, was not the only reason for Kate and William’s ban.
The increased use of internet and connectivity had also implemented an increase in online dangers with many hackers taking confidential information from users. Easily accessible content has made the internet an unsafe space for many and those most vulnerable are often children. Prince George and Princess Charlotte are recognized and known worldwide and their safety as royals is imperative. Kate and William are acting as responsible parents who care about their children’s privacy and their decision is heavily justified.
Mass Media Attention
Prince William, in particular, is no stranger to having prying eyes from all directions with the press wanting to know the secrets of his life. The third and fourth in line to the throne are no exception to this and William intends to protect them. In particular, the media attention and involvement surrounding Diana’s death’s was a crucial aspect in William’s decision to live a private life and not disclose information about his relationships or family.
William spoke about how the lack of technology after Diana’s death allowed the young Princes to be alone, something that he is thankful for. He said “Back then, obviously, there were no smartphones or anything like that, so you couldn’t get your news, and thankfully at the time, to be honest, we had the privacy to mourn and collect our thoughts and to have that space away from everybody.” It is no surprise that now, there are no iPads for his children.
The royal family are one of the most illustrious families in the world but they aren’t without their scandals. In history, the Royals were able to keep their secrets within the palace for the most part, but with the modern times, their transparency also had to adapt. In 2014, it was uncovered that British newspaper The News Of The World had hacked Kate Middleton’s, Prince William’s and Prince Harry’s phones more than 200 times, revealing intimate details about their private lives.
Practicing What They Preach
Kate and William have been strong advocates on mental health issues and their decision to ban technology for their children goes hand-in-hand with this. Studies have shown a clear correlation between depression and the use of social media. It has been said that overuse of the internet causes our brains to become overstimulated and therefore depressed or angry when we are unable to connect. In addition, looking at screens for too long can cause sleep disorders, mood swings and addiction.
A Royal Example
For parents, the negative connotations that are linked with the internet and its dangers would make them question whether it would be suitable to give a child access to it. Kate and William have taken a smart approach and have ensured that they try to stay off smartphones and gadgets which may affect their family life or their privacy. As a result, the royal couple do not have their own social media accounts and any information they put out to the press goes via a royal statement.
The Duke and Duchess are not the only famous parents who have prevented their children from getting sucked into gadgets and online connectivity. In 2014, it was reported that the late founder of Apple, Steve Jobs had encouraged his children to stay away from technology as much as they can. While many people were shocked that the creator of one of the biggest tech companies in the world would give that advice, he clearly knew exactly what he was talking about.
Kate and William can be commended for their commitment to balancing their private lives while also giving the public a glimpse into their royal family. As mentioned, Kate and William do not have social media accounts but they will sometimes allow the palace to post their family photos. The young royals understand their commitment to appearing approachable and down to earth and acting as figureheads for Britain, which includes giving some insight into their day to day lives.
A Positive Outcome
The decision to remove technology from the household may seem rather outdated and overprotective from the outset, but when understanding the ins and outs of the decision it is actually a logical one. Not only are George and Charlotte young children but they are also third and fourth in line to the throne, making them increasingly prominent and at risk of hacking. Kate and William may not be with the times, but they are certainly protecting their family in the way they should.