Like most of the world, I have, over the past decade, watched in awe, as Prince William and Kate Middleton have single-handedly rejuvenated the image of the British monarchy. While the attractive young couple are much more relatable (and pleasing to the eye) than previous royals, I always assumed that their approach to childcare would resemble something similar to Downtown Abbey, or even Netflix’s Original, The Crown. The kids would be raised by nannies and brought in for an hour in the evening to interact with their parents before being taken off to bed. Everyone is happy. Job done. The bloodline continues.
However, in an interview with Talk Vietnam, during his recent trip to Vietnam to attend the third International Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, Prince William admitted in a somewhat ambiguous statement that “there’s wonderful highs and there’s wonderful lows”. Indeed, it would seem that Kate and William are more hands on parents to George, three, and Charlotte, one, than past royals. William elaborated, “…I’ve struggled at times, the alteration from being a single, independent man to going into marriage and then having children is life-changing,”. This refreshingly honest comment on parenting is so universal in its relatability, that it is almost out of place coming from a prince. Perhaps it hints at a change in attitude of the British monarchy of the twenty-first century. A shift to take on more normal roles, once designated the job of a nanny.
William praised his wife for her support in raising their young family, “She is an amazing mother and a fantastic wife.” Kate too, has acknowledged the difficulties of parenthood. In January, on her first royal engagement of the year to the Anna Freud Centre’s Early Year’s Parenting Unit in London, the Duchess commented, “Parenting is tough”. Thus, while there is no escaping the fact that the couple remain the image of perfection and the epitome of a modern day love story, it is comforting to see that even royalty is not beyond the everyday struggles of parenthood.
What are Kate and Williams hopes for their children? To “grow up with more simple aspirations.” He continued “I think there’s a lot of huge aspirations and people living with an enormous amount of stuff that they don’t necessarily need. The materialism of the world I find quite tricky sometimes.” While it may be unrealistic to adapt the lifestyle of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, there is something to be said of their views on raising children, particularly in the age of social media. The bottom-line: If a Prince finds parenting tough, regular parents deserve a medal.