When it comes to how they’re raising their kids Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, the Prince and Princess of Wales seem keen to take a hard look at William’s childhood as a young royal and take what worked—and leave the rest behind. Especially when it comes to how George—who, like his father William, is an heir to the throne—was told about his destiny as a future king, The Mirror reports that William’s own trauma influenced how he handled telling George what was in store for him in the future.
William didn’t fully understand what was ahead of him when he was a child, and he’s intent on making sure George is well aware. His future, The Mirror reports, was never fully explained to him, and this led to it being difficult for William when it dawned on him, royal expert Monique Jessen said. Jessen said the realization of his destiny was both “troubling” and “traumatic” when William pieced it together.
When George was only three years old (he is now 10, having celebrated the milestone birthday this past weekend), William said in an interview with the BBC that he would at one point explain George’s future to him, but his priority at the time was, simply, to love him as much as possible: “There’ll be a time and a place to bring George up and understand how he fits in, in the world,” William said in 2016. “But right now, it’s just a case of keeping a secure, stable environment around him and showing as much love as I can as a father.”
Jessen, speaking on the “Royally Obsessed” podcast, said that by now George is aware of the plans for him in the future to become king: “I think [George] is now [aware of his destiny],” she said. “I think that’s a conversation which definitely has happened.”
Jessen, a royal correspondent at People, continued “I think it definitely has by now, because we’ve seen him do quite a few engagements on his own,” she said. “He had certain things that he did with the late Queen and Philip, and I think it’s a fine line. They want to prepare him, and they also don’t want to terrify him. Also, I think William found it quite traumatic when he just wasn’t told when he was growing up and everyone expected him to know, and that realization and that dawning was quite troubling for him. He’s definitely going to want to do things very differently for George.”
As Marie Claire reported on recently, that includes a future for George that might not include compulsory military service, as was the case for William, King Charles, and Queen Elizabeth before him—one of the many changes that await George that were not on the table for those heirs that came before him.
Broadcaster Jeremy Paxman, in his 2019 documentary Paxman on the Queen’s Children, recalled William’s mother Princess Diana talking to him about her eldest son’s future, and how he was unsure about taking on the top job. “We talked about our children, and she said William often told her that he didn’t really want to be king,” Paxman said. “And then Harry would say, ‘If you don’t want the job, I’ll have it.’”
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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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