Princess Charlotte Will Be Expected to Get a Job, Will Not Be a Full-Time Working Royal, Royal Expert Says

The royal family is keen to not repeat the heir and spare dynamic that plagues Prince William and Prince Harry.

Princess Charlotte
(Image credit: Getty)

The modern day “heir and spare” dynamic—this time between Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as opposed to the much-discussed sibling tension between Prince William and Prince Harry before them—will play out much differently than in the past. According to royal expert Richard Eden of The Daily Mail, Charlotte—as well as, presumably, younger brother Prince Louis as well—will be expected to get a job rather than be a full-time working royal, as Harry was prior to his and wife Meghan Markle’s departure from The Firm in January 2020.

This reflects King Charles’ vision for a slimmed-down monarchy, one William—Charlotte’s father and future king himself—also supports, not wanting history to repeat itself, the outlet reports.

“From what I hear, the Prince and Princess of Wales want Charlotte, aged seven, to grow up with the expectation that she will get a job and not be a full-time royal,” Eden writes. He continued “Personally, I would prefer to see a larger Royal Family, carrying out more official engagements and meeting more members of the public. If Charlotte is to get a job and not be an active member of ‘The Firm,’ she needs to be ready to step into the breach, if needed.”

This is a huge shift from generations past, where Queen Elizabeth’s “spare,” Princess Margaret, was a working royal; all three of Charles’ siblings—Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward—worked for The Firm, with Anne and Edward still very much doing so, while Andrew’s sexual assault lawsuit forced his exit; and Harry, up until three years ago, was expected to spend his life as a working royal, as well. Harry’s disdain for his role as spare is so strong he titled his memoir just that, and spoke candidly about playing second fiddle in the book: “I was brought into the world in case something happened to Willy,” he wrote, claiming that his parents and grandparents even referred to him and William as “the heir and the spare” as a form of “shorthand.” He described his life as a “mission to offer a source of distraction, entertainment, and, in case of need, a spare part,” such as a kidney, blood transfusion, or bone marrow, should William need it.

The book, though controversial, could provide needed lessons for the royal family in terms of the infamous heir and spare dynamic, Eden writes.

“The book inspires some deep thought about how to avoid any repeat of the breakdown in relations between the royal heir and ‘spare,’” he writes.

And, though Harry was the only one to write a book about it, in their own ways Margaret and Charles’ then second-in-command, Andrew, had their own struggles as “spare”—struggles it appears William and Kate are very keen for Charlotte to avoid.

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.