Even though Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children are still very young, it looks like the Prince and Princess of Wales are already thinking about the royal roles they will eventually play—and how they’ll avoid the infamous “heir and the spare” dynamic that has plagued previous generations of royals.
Harry And William’s ‘Heir And Spare’ Dynamic
Royal children are often referred to as “the heir and the spare,” a phrase that refers to the dynamic formed when the eldest sibling is destined for the throne, while the younger sibling has no predetermined role within the monarchy. This unique set of circumstances can cause the younger sibling to feel a lack of purpose, which takes an obvious toll on their mental health and can lead them to act out of turn, which has historically been the case.
With Prince William as the heir apparent to the throne, Harry has seemingly struggled with being “the spare,” and even named his upcoming memoir Spare in reference to the phenomenon. According to one royal expert, William and Middleton are already thinking about how to “break the cycle” of this dynamic with their own children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
How William And Middleton Will Keep Their Youngest Kids From Getting ‘Completely Lost’
As the eldest child, George is set to follow in his father’s footsteps and eventually become king. Charlotte and Louis are still in the line of succession, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever have to rule the United Kingdom. Their path is less defined than George’s, but the Prince and Princess of Wales are already thinking about how to guide their youngest kids through the issue of being “spares.”
Royal commentator Kinsey Schofield explained to Express that William and Middleton are working on breaking the cycle by allowing their children to pursue interests outside of their royal duties, thus carving out their own identities.
“There’s this heir and spare dynamic that we have been talking about for the last few years, in which the spare typically is so completely lost and they fall into trouble,” Schofield began. She went on to name other “spares” like Princess Margaret and Prince Andrew, and point out their struggles to figure out their place in the royal family.
How The Prince And Princess Of Wales Will ‘Break The Cycle’
“I don’t think that it’s going to happen to Prince William’s children,” she continued. “I believe that this is where they’re going to break the cycle. I think that they’re going to stop with the spare talk and I think the ‘necessity’ for a spare ends now.”
Schofield shared that she thinks Charlotte and Louis “will be encouraged to find their purpose and pursue those things, and it will not really be about waiting to see if something happens to the heir.”
Harry has been open about his own struggles being the “spare,” but it seems like he has figured out his own path. William and Middleton are hoping to help their youngest children find their purposes early in life so that they can avoid the mental turmoil that could otherwise arise from their unique positions.