Daddy’s boy: Prince Wil­liam’s special bond with his son

Juliet Rieden looks at the special bond be­tween three-year-old Prince Ge­orge, the lit­tle boy charm­ing the world, and Prince Wil­liam, his be­sot­ted fa­ther.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Ev­ery par­ent wants to pro­tect their child and help them grow and find their way, but de­spite protes­ta­tions oth­er­wise, Prince Wil­liam and Prince Ge­orge are not your av­er­age fa­ther and son. Per­haps a con­stant glimpse of him­self at that age, tinged with an in­sider’s com­pre­hen­sion of ex­actly what lies ahead for his first-born, is at the heart of what ap­pears to be a special and deeply personal bond be­tween the two heirs (second and third in line) to the throne.

Like Prince Wil­liam, Ge­orge has been in the spot­light from con­cep­tion, and like his own par­ents, Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince Charles, Wil­liam is at great pains to pro­tect his son from that some­times blind­ing glare. From the mo­ment he strapped baby Ge­orge into the back seat of the fam­ily car, donned his dis­tance specs and drove his wife and new­born son home, it was clear Wil­liam was go­ing to be a se­ri­ously hands-on fa­ther. While his world may be one of palaces, car­riages and regal pomp, Wil­liam has been de­ter­mined to keep things ‘nor­mal’, claim­ing they are like ev­ery other lov­ing fam­ily.

“Driv­ing your son and your wife away from the hospi­tal was re­ally im­por­tant to me,” he said af­ter­wards. “I don’t like fuss, so it’s much eas­ier to do it your­self.” And while nor­mal­ity – at least the sort of nor­mal that a well-heeled Brit might en­joy – is the bench­mark, Wil­liam’s ex­cite­ment at hav­ing his own fam­ily has been ob­vi­ous and there’s no ques­tion that Ge­orge has stolen his heart. “It is fan­tas­tic hav­ing a lovely lit­tle fam­ily and I am so thrilled,” he has said.

As Ge­orge has grown from toy­grab­bing tod­dler to cu­ri­ous lit­tle boy who – yes – throws the odd tantrum, he has stolen the lime­light ev­ery­where we’ve seen him, be it in Aus­tralia and New Zealand, at his lit­tle sis­ter’s chris­ten­ing, host­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and his wife Michelle at home in Kens­ing­ton Palace, with Gan Gan (aka Her Majesty The Queen) to cel­e­brate her 90th birth­day, or at a mil­i­tary air­show, where he looked like a text­book chip-off-the-old-block in a he­li­copter and ear muffs. Yet the young Prince has taken ev­ery step with his dad ei­ther hold­ing his hand, car­ry­ing him or ten­derly by his side.

Wil­liam is used to play­ing the role of the pro­tec­tor as older brother to Harry, who was just eight when their par­ents sep­a­rated and 12 when their mother died. Now, with his

“As a fa­ther, you re­alise how pre­cious life is and it puts it all in per­spec­tive.”

own fam­ily to watch over, Wil­liam’s parental pheromones have shifted into over­drive.

“I’m a lot more emo­tional than I used to be, weirdly,” he said in a re­cent TV doc­u­men­tary. “I never used to get too wound up or wor­ried about things, but now the small­est lit­tle things, you well up a lit­tle more, you get af­fected by the sort of things that hap­pen around the world or what­ever a lot more, I think, as a fa­ther… you re­alise how pre­cious life is and it puts it all in per­spec­tive. The idea of not be­ing around to see your chil­dren grow up [is hor­ri­ble].”

Wil­liam’s char­ity work has shifted gear also, with is­sues such as bul­ly­ing, youth home­less­ness and men­tal health join­ing his port­fo­lio of work. In a news­pa­per ar­ti­cle cel­e­brat­ing Fa­ther’s Day in the UK in June, Wil­liam seized the op­por­tu­nity to ex­press how se­ri­ously he takes this new phase in his life.

“For me, it is a day not just to cel­e­brate how for­tu­nate I am for my young fam­ily, but to re­flect on just how much I’ve learned about fa­ther­hood and the is­sues fac­ing fathers in all walks of life. In par­tic­u­lar, it is a time to re­flect on my re­spon­si­bil­ity to look after not just the phys­i­cal health of my two chil­dren, but to treat their men­tal needs as just as im­por­tant a pri­or­ity.”

Prince Ge­orge turned three on July 22, and with that a whole new chap­ter has be­gun to un­fold. In an in­ter­view with the BBC, Prince Wil­liam re­vealed that he had not yet told his son that he will be King one day.

It’s a big ele­phant in the room, but it’s easy to un­der­stand why Wil­liam wants to hold off. Sea­soned royal watch­ers tell me it is from the age of three on­wards that royal chil­dren start to glean they are in­deed not like ev­ery­one else, and some years later that re­al­ity bites with the re­al­i­sa­tion their fu­ture lives are al­ready mapped out for them.

On his third birth­day, though, Prince Ge­orge was able to en­joy the lime­light in bliss­ful ig­no­rance. And yes, Prince Wil­liam and Mum, the Duchess of Cam­bridge, were right there by his side.

Left: A re­laxed Prince Ge­orge plays on the swing at the fam­ily’s home in Nor­folk, in one of four pho­to­graphs of­fi­cially re­leased to mark his third birth­day. Top: Fa­ther and son at the Queen’s 90th birth­day pa­rade. Above: Ge­orge en­ter­tains the Oba­mas.

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