Kate takes unintended dig at late Queen’s parenting technique

Kate Middleton writes in scrapbook in early years video

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Kate, the Princess of Wales opened the doors for a rather “awkward” conversation for the Royal Family as she highlighted the importance of good parenting for the development of children. The Princess of Wales announced the launch of a major public campaign to raise awareness about how influential the first five years of a child’s life are for their mental and physical well-being as adults. But royal commentator Jack Royston noted the Royal Family, including the late Queen, had a somewhat questionable record of how to best parent children.

He noted the ongoing diatribe between the institution and Prince Harry, as well as past comments by King Charles III about his own mother and father, exposed the complicated relationship royal parents have with their offspring.

Royston said: “The Princess of Wales wants to shine a spotlight on the importance of the first five years of a child’s life, in which their brain develops faster than at any other time.

“However, the discussion may be awkward to anyone familiar with the history of royal parenting and particularly those who have read not only Harry’s memoir but also a 1994 biography by journalist Jonathan Dimbleby, based on interviews with King Charles III.”

Writing in Newsweek, he added: “There is nothing to say Kate should not have made her comments, which no doubt many experts in the field would agree with.

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“However, they do appear to lend legitimacy to arguments that earned Harry some fairly strongly worded criticism in the UK press.”

In the statement announcing the launch of the new awareness campaign, the Princess of Wales said: “The way we develop, through our experiences, relationships, and surroundings during our early childhood, fundamentally shapes our whole lives.

“It affects everything from our ability to form relationships and thrive at work, to our mental and physical well-being as adults and the way we parent our own children.

“These are the most preventative years. By focusing our collective time, energy, and resources to build a supportive, nurturing world around the youngest members of our society and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to the health and happiness of generations to come.”

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In his biography of the now-King, Jonathan Dimbleby noted young Charles was mostly tended to by nannies and argued he began to see his governess as a surrogate mother.

His Majesty was only three when the late Queen ascended the throne and he would spend a considerable time away from his parents throughout his childhood, including a six-month period she and Prince Philip spent abroad on a tour of the Commonwealth.

Dimbleby wrote: “For Prince Charles, who had already discovered that only in the nursery could he always be assured of a cuddle, Mabel Anderson became ‘a haven of security, the great haven’ to whom he invariably turned first for comfort and support.

“With parents who were often away, and were not, in any case, given to displays of affection even in private, Mabel Anderson came to assume a vital role in the Prince’s life.

“The adoration of the young child for his nurse (who was almost the same age as the Queen) led friends and courtiers to conclude that Mabel Anderson had become in effect ‘a surrogate mother,’ while to his father it was clear that she was much the most important influence on him.”

Prince Harry dedicated sections of his book Spare to assessing his relationship with his father and the King’s parenting skills, noting Charles “was never made for single parenting.”


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He conceded His Majesty tried his best to be supportive at times when the Duke of Sussex struggled, especially after the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

Prince William also admitted in the past to Charles leaving him “frustrated” with his commitment to duty but that he had become a “brilliant” grandfather.

Speaking in a documentary marking His Majesty’s 70th birthday in 2019, the Prince of Wales said: “He has amazing personal discipline.

“So, he has – and it’s frustrated me in the past a lot – he has a routine. The only way to fit all this stuff in is things have to be compartmentalised.

“The man never stops. I mean when we were kids there was bags and bags and bags of work that the office just sent to him. We could barely even get to his desk to say goodnight to him.”

He added: “it’s a perfect time to consolidate a little bit because as most families would do, you are worried about having them around and making sure their health’s okay.

“And he’s the fittest man I know but equally I want him to be fit until he’s 95.

“So, having more time with him at home would be lovely, and being able to you know, play with the grandchildren. Because when he’s there, he’s brilliant. But we need him there as much as possible.”

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