Prince William and Princess Catherine Don’t Want Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to Feel “Sidelined” by Prince George

By raising them as equals—and not “the heir and the spares”—it will, in turn, take pressure off of George when he is on the throne someday.

Prince George, Kate Middleton, Prince Louis, Prince William, Princess Charlotte
(Image credit: Getty)

The royal family is built on centuries of tried-and-true tradition, but one tradition that the Prince and Princess of Wales want to kibosh? The pervasive “heir and spare” dynamic, so integrated into their lives that Prince Harry named his memoir Spare to reflect the role he was written to play. If William and Catherine have a say, that dynamic ends in this generation of royals, and Catherine, The Daily Mail reports, is encouraging a healthy relationship between Prince George (the heir to the throne and her eldest child) and his younger siblings Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, believing it will help take some pressure off of him when he is King.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis at the Coronation Big Help Out

(Image credit: Getty)

Catherine herself is the eldest of three—she has a younger sister, Pippa, and a younger brother, James—and the three Middleton kids seem to have a healthy sibling dynamic. Catherine wants the same for her trio, desperate for there not to be a Spare volume two someday written by Charlotte or Louis. Of the sibling relationship between the Wales three—specifically George and Charlotte—royal expert Christopher Andersen said it is “much healthier than it would normally be in the royal family.”

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at Trooping the Colour riding in the carriage procession

(Image credit: Getty)

Of the kids, Andersen said “Prince George has all the pressure. He has these two siblings who can help him—who can ease some of the pressure and share some of the burden.” William and Catherine, Andersen said, don’t at all want Charlotte and Louis to feel “sidelined,” and are extremely conscious of how Harry was “very hurt” being brought up in William’s shadow “and are conscious that Charlotte and Louis don’t feel the same,” The Daily Mail reports.

“They [Charlotte and Louis] don’t want to feel invisible in his shadow,” Andersen said.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

(Image credit: Getty/The Prince and Princess of Wales/Matt Porteous)

While William and Catherine are concerned about the history of the “spare” repeating itself—think not just Harry, but as far back as Princess Margaret, Her late Majesty’s younger sister—Harry is, as well, telling The Telegraph earlier this year that he is concerned for the “spares” that come behind him (for those who don’t know, the “spare” is the younger sibling of the heir to the throne, with the name suggesting that, God forbid something should happen to the heir, the majority of the purpose of the spare’s birth is to be a fill in for their older sibling). He told The Telegraph that he hopes his efforts in speaking of his own pain will help stop history from repeating itself in the next generation: “Though William and I have talked about it once or twice, and he has made it very clear to me that his kids are not my responsibility, I still feel a responsibility,” Harry said. “Out of those three children, at least one will end up like me, the spare. And that hurts. That worries me.”

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

(Image credit: Getty)

Harry also spoke of his own children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, saying he wouldn’t allow Archie to go through the same “traumatic” experience as he and William did.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

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.