You Will Never Hear This Word Said Inside the Wales Family Home

To say it’s a loaded word would be an understatement.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at Trooping the Colour riding in the carriage procession
(Image credit: Getty)

When Prince William and Prince Harry were being brought up, it was a different time. Thankfully, time teaches us lessons, and one lesson that has decidedly stuck? The erasure of the “heir and spare” dynamic that plagued brothers William and Harry, to the point that the latter named his autobiography, Spare, after the moniker given to him because he was born after William, the heir to the throne.

“Spare” is a word you will never hear inside the walls of the Wales family home, where William and Catherine are raising Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis as equals. Both William and Catherine are deeply involved in the raising of their brood, and, The Daily Express reports, demand that the five-letter word not be uttered in their home. They’ve done such a good job of protecting their trio, one royal expert said, that George, Charlotte, and Louis don’t even know what that word means in the royal vernacular. 

The Wales family on the kids' first day of school at Lambrook

(Image credit: Getty)

“William and Catherine are determined to break the heir and the spare cycle,” Kinsey Schofield said. “I don’t believe the word ‘spare’ has ever been uttered inside their home to describe one or more of their babies. It’s just not on their radar. They wanted to have a large, loving family.”

The Wales family of five at Easter Sunday service

(Image credit: Getty)

In the aforementioned Spare, Harry spoke of his father, then Prince Charles, who told Princess Diana after Harry’s birth “Wonderful! Now you’ve given me an heir and a spare—my work is done.” Harry said the “spare” label followed him throughout his entire life. “They would say it without a spirit of judgment, but straight out,” Harry wrote. “I was the shadow, the supporting actor, the plan B. I was brought into this world in case something happened to Willy.”

Princess Diana, Prince William, and Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Likely because of Harry’s trauma around the damaging nickname, William and Catherine are intent to make sure that Charlotte and Louis never feel the same. They are raising all three to take on royal duties, not just George, Schofield said: “William and Catherine are teaching their children about royal responsibilities through doing them,” she said. “You will notice how poised and prepared the children seem to be during large royal engagements. You can tell that Princess Charlotte takes great pride in her family and responsibilities. [It reminds] me of the Princess Royal [Princess Anne].”

Royal expert Richard Palmer, speaking on the “Royal Round Up” podcast, said George, Charlotte, and Louis are being raised to be more protected than William and Harry once were. “I think the key thing is that he [William] doesn’t want to see his children exposed in the same way to media coverage,” Palmer said, per The Daily Express. “If you think back to pictures of Harry pulling funny faces at the photographers, I just think they [George, Charlotte, and Louis] are more protected than William and Harry were at that age. I think many people will say that’s a good thing, and understandable.” 

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

(Image credit: Getty)

It's all in a bid to give the kids as normal of a childhood as possible. “I think you could argue that by excluding the public from lots of information about how they’re doing at school, who their friends are, and what their favorite subjects are, that does give them the space to live as normal of a childhood as possible,” Palmer said, per The Daily Express.

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.