As evidenced by his Coronation earlier this month, King Charles is keen to steer the royal family in a different direction than maybe it has gone in the past—for example, his ceremony was shorter (about half the time of his mother Queen Elizabeth’s three-hour ceremony), smaller (he hosted 2,300 guests at Westminster Abbey, as opposed to her 8,000), and sooner (his took about eight months to plan—half the time it took to plan hers). But that’s not the only aspect in which the King wants to chart a different future. Namely, when it comes to his grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—the three children of the Prince and Princess of Wales—he wants them to avoid the mistakes he made, give them as normal of a childhood as possible, and allow them to marry who they want to marry, The Mirror reports.
“I think King Charles is very keen that his grandchildren don’t make the mistakes that I think he feels he made, particularly when it came to matters of the heart,” said royal historian Chandrika Kaul, a professor of modern history at the University of St. Andrews (coincidentally, where William and Kate met and fell in love).
Appearing on Channel 5’s documentary The Fab Five: The King’s Grandchildren, Kaul continued “What I think he wants to do is try and help these young grandchildren grow up in as normal a way as possible and create more fully rounded human beings who are unafraid of their emotions and who are able to have the confidence to marry whom they want.”
The King famously fell in love with the then Camilla Shand in the early 1970s, but, after it became clear that the royal establishment would never approve a marriage between the two, she married Andrew Parker-Bowles, and he ultimately married Diana Spencer. Charles and Camilla could never forget one another, though, and carried on an affair throughout most of Charles’ 15-year marriage to Diana, which ultimately ended in a separation in 1992 and a divorce in 1996. Charles and Camilla eventually married in 2005.
Ultimately, Kaul says, he wants his grandchildren “to have a happy, successful, and fulfilled personal life”—which the King now seems to have, but that eluded him for so long.
The three Wales children are able to be themselves—Louis, of course, being the prime example of this—but Charlotte, too, has emerged as a leader amongst the trio, says Her late Majesty’s former press secretary Ailsa Anderson: “It appears to me that Princess Charlotte has no qualms at all about being in the spotlight on public events,” she says. Simon Vigar, royal correspondent for 5News, agreed, saying “I remember George being quite bossy, but I think the dynamic’s changed. Recently during public events, we’ve seen Charlotte taking charge and ordering George around.”
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Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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