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Is Charles Jealous of the Middletons' Time With George?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

There has been enough of a hoopla about Prince Charles and the rumored angst over his grand-parental rights that it seems an opportune moment to quickly discuss the spectrum of press reports and the need to separate fact from fiction. Stories come in three general categories: Obviously false, obviously true, and the largest of all, the "Use Your Judgement". 



Obviously false. Some headlines are immediately and easily dismissed. "Kate & William File for Divorce Just 3 Months After Wedding!" When you see that, literally as you follow the glowing pair on their tour across Canada, it isn't hard to know someone is selling papers, but not reporting even the most unlikely of gossip. Similarly, sensational headlines about terminal illnesses, explosive family fights, tears, screaming, yelling, ground breaking news that should be on every front page (e.g. the Queen has announced she will abdicate the throne!), etc, etc are all ludicrously unlikely to be true.

Oh, man.
via Celebrity Dirty Laundry 

These headlines are always accompanied by awkward photos of the royals looking in distress or upset, often simply a bad angle from an average public engagement where 100 others showed them smiling and laughing. Don't waste brain cells or precious moments of your short life even picking these up. My mom sometimes snaps these and texts me the covers, so...they are good for an occasional laugh.

True story. This baby is real.


On the other end of the spectrum are the clearly true. Clarence House has pressed released that TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit New York City in December of 2014. There is the official statement, all the press are happily getting to it and reporting on the upcoming trip, and so forth. This is obviously true. You can run with it.

Kate drunk in public? What do you think? 


Then, there is the murky in between and a certain amount of judgement, discretion, experience and sometimes gut instinct need to work here to separate fact from fiction, which can be easy or tricky depending on the story and the source.

No, it wasn't...


Some papers tend to report stories that may be true. Other papers you can count on to always have the actual scoop, usually before it hits other outlets. Remember that, even when you wonder "how could they possibly know" they just might!

It totally was!

Remember how a certain paper always had those inside stories about William and Kate when they were dating? They were incredible in the details, and so some questioned the authenticity. A few years went by and it emerged phone-tapping was the source! So, the stories were real...and people were going to jail because for it. Oops.

A guess, but a good one.

I don't know if that kind of (illegal) activity continues, you have some gutsy journalists out there if it does, but certainly there are all number of sources that papers and reporters could be working to get their tips legally. The royals, and Kate in particular, are big business and all manner of people could be feeding this and that to the press. On the other hand, it pays to approach certain stories, particularly those that aren't picked up by multiple outlets, with a critical eye.

We just got George. 


Many stories have a starting point that is true, but in the pursuit of a fully-fleshed story, these reports are often elaborated or motivations and outcomes are extrapolated.  So, what about this Prince Charles dust up? This doesn't sound entirely hollow to me, at the same time I don't think it is anywhere as dramatic as the papers have suggested. Charles could very well feel that George spends more time with the Middletons than with William's family, and he may occasionally express that to his wife, his mother, trusted aides, or in front of staff. 

I am going to throw my sister under the bus here, and present to you an example. Sometimes my sister sends application essays to me to proofread or edit. She just applied to med school and she is now applying for research projects and the like, so there are a lot of essays. Sometimes, I might be low on patience, low on sleep...irritated. I am busy and have my own projects. I don't want to edit another application. I might complain to my mom that I don't have time for this. When will this process end? Will I be editing medical essays for the next ten years? This does not signify the end of my relationship with my sister, or that this slight frustration bubbles over to poison our family life. IF, I were a royal, though, this would be the headline, "Sisters at War: Princess Jane Thinks Sister Should Quit Pursuit of Grad Degree!" or "Princess Jane & Sister No Longer Speaking: Tired of Editing Essays." Or "Barr Sisters No Longer Talking As Family Ties Break Down: Siblings Taking Sides!" In this case, the kernel of truth, that I get frayed at the edges and hate editing med school applications, has escalated far beyond the actual facts.

Charles could have expressed the fundamental point: George spends more time with the Middletons, because it is true! George does seem to spend more time with the Middletons. Who watches George when his parents leave town on holiday? On tour? Mike and Carole. Which family has a special, intimate yearly get-away with sun and sand where they can privately enjoy their grandson? The Middletons. When Kate wants company and a weekend away, with whom does she go and stay? Her parents. Does George spend a significant amount of time with his mother's family? Yes! Might this sometimes make Charles sigh and say to Camilla, "Gosh, Wills and darling Kate should bring Georgie Cutie-Pie around for supper next Sunday, because we haven't seen him in several weeks." and as a rueful reflection, "Mike and Carole certainly get the lion's share of the grandparents' time." Very possibly. Does Charles see the many reasons why this is the case? I think he does. 

This lightly skewed balance is not unheard of in the majority of families, in fact it is quite usual for one set of grandparents to have a little edge over the other. This could be because of location or disposition. Maybe you live in your husband's hometown, but your parents are 300 miles away. Naturally, the grandparents in town have more facetime. Furthermore, while Carole and Mike are semi-retired and enjoying a relaxed family home life, Prince Charles lives a structured and scheduled lifestyle. He is heir to the throne, a full-time royal. He is making public appearances, researching and working on various initiatives and projects, and supporting the Queen as he prepares to someday take her place. Charles must implicitly understand that his position and the role he chooses to maintain means he cannot do and have everything. He just wouldn't have the time to be as present as the Middletons are able to be. I suspect he is at peace with that.

Furthermore, as graciously as the Wales boys welcomed Camilla when she married Charles, and as happily as they all seem to get on, Camilla is not their mother, while Mike and Carole are Kate's parents, and so both related to George by blood. It is hard to say how this situation would be different were Diana still alive. Even if she were, though, it would not change the obligations and time commitments that Charles must fulfill.

Lastly, in my limited experience, there is always a certain amount of tension, even among the most compatible of in-laws, when it comes to the grandchildren. I think it must be hard to share. But, all families go through this, all families work it out. C'est la vie. Unfortunately for the Middletons and Charles, they aren't any normal family and what is a passing friction for the plebs, is blown up into a catastrophe when royals are involved.

Kate has always been reputed to have a very, very warm relationship with her father-in-law. From the earliest reports that Prince William was stepping out with Kate Middleton, we heard that Charles liked her very much. Kate fits very well into the upperclass country lifestyle that Charles loves so much. They have similar passions for art and architecture, and from the many photos of them laughing together, we must assume a similar sense of humor.

While it is not billed as her first solo appearance, because it was not a technical public engagement, Kate's first time hosting an event alone as a royal was when Charles asked her to fill in for him at Clarence House for an In Kind Direct dinner he could not make.



The Middletons, the Cambridges, the Waleses...they are all people, just like other people. Like all families and human relationships there can be bumps, bruises, tensions, irritations. There is also, I am sure, love, loyalty, devotion, conviviality, and joy. It doesn't have to be either picture perfect or deep animosity. They get to have their foibles, their low moments when patience runs dry. We have to keep perspective and appreciate human nature.

That's my take on the situation. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go and get work done on other projects, before I am asked to edit some essay for a fellowship somewhere.

Until tomorrow... ;)

Truth. Or as some Californians would say...word. 


24 comments:

  1. I disagree. Charles and Camilla are publicly castigating the Middletons. I'm sure William is livid.

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  2. This is one of many reasons why I love your blog. No Drama! The Middletons get included in so many events with the royal family that it can only mean that they have all decided to be happy and enjoy their children's happiness.

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  3. It's unfortunate that these rumors get started. It is clear that he adores his DIL & grandson. The Middletons have more time to spend with them; PC has a busy schedule. Sigh.

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many people believe the things they read in this mags & yes, the lack of journalistic integrity is shocking. Walter Cronkite is spinning in his grave.

    As for the comment above that "Charles and Camilla are publicly castigating the Middletons" I'd be curious to know the source of that. There is no evidence of that being true as far as I know.

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  4. I really think the British tabloids just make this stuff up. Look at the run up to Kate giving birth to George. The yellow press ran every conceivable story from Carole being in the delivery room to Kate giving birth in Berkshire. It was all based on a "friend of the couple" or a "source close to the Middletons" yet it was all rubbish.

    Why is it any different now?

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  5. I really think the British tabloids just make this stuff up. Look at the run up to Kate giving birth to George. The yellow press ran every conceivable story from Carole being in the delivery room to Kate giving birth in Berkshire. It was all based on a "friend of the couple" or a "source close to the Middletons" yet it was all rubbish.

    Why is it any different now?

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  6. Thank you Jane, yet again you breathe some sanity into the press headlines. Of course they are going to put the most extreme, salacious spin on anything they might legitimately glean (or illegitimately invent) to sell more papers...or get more clicks.

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  7. Miss Jane, you are my idol. Fantastic piece. Thank you for this blog and your brilliant analysis.

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  8. Thank You Jane for your very rational approach to all the rumors - Very well done !!!!

    I also think people who want the monarchy to go away will feed the frenzy as well as those who are not happy with their own lot in life and just want to stir the pot. I also find people who want to cause trouble post/report things as fact when it is really only how that person perceives or wants it to be perceived. In the case of the media - as Jane says - anything to sell papers even if it has No truth. They take a certain fact and distort is to something that has no resemblance to the truth!!

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  9. I agree with your assessment! I think the headlines left off the second half of his "George sees more of the Middletons" comment (probably made in passing), which would be "because I'm so busy with my royal duties". Charles understands duty and has devoted himself to his country. He knows what the human cost is, in terms of family relationships.

    I'm curious what Kate's relationship with Camilla is like. She was wearing the bracelet Camilla gave her with both their ciphers quite often, then suddenly stopped. I wonder if their relationship soured?

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    1. I think the bracelet was "politicized" in the sense that overtime she wore it, the papers talked about Camilla and Kate's relationship to Camilla, and whether there was bad blood because of Diana, and I suspect the press team was like...enough. ALSO, bear in mind she goes through fazes. She has not worn the Diamonds by the Yard bracelet much, either. She doesn't wear bracelets a lot. That's my take. :) ~Jane

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  10. As a daughter, and the mother of a daughter, I can say that a girl is almost always closer to her mother than to her mother-in-law (or father-in-law). It becomes even more pronounced once there are grandchildren. When there is advice, or just conversation, needed about pregnancy, motherhood, being a wife, we look to our moms. I loved my mother-in-law but she wasn't my mom. My daughter and grandkids live in Texas while I'm in California but I have more regular interaction with them than the other grandparents (who are only six hours away) because that's what moms of daughters do. I'm sure that it is especially so for Kate because she comes from a very close family, she lives her life in a fishbowl, and Camilla isn't William's mother, as you said. Does Charles grumble a bit? Maybe. The thing is, in this instance, he's no different than any other family in the world. William works hard and Kate is a new mother who needs the support of her own mother. I don't blame her. I'd run to Bucklebury at every opportunity too. Who else but your mom is going to say "I'll take the baby so you can have a nap." and have your complete trust that everything will be fine?

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    1. Hi Robin,
      Your point is so true. A new mother needs the support of her own mother and has a complete trust only in her that everything will be fine when her husband is out for work. That is so normal in the first years of a child's life.
      The problem is some mothers-in-law don't want to understand that while understanding that would be so easy by just remembering how they, the mothers-in-law, felt when they had become new mothers. Instead, they make problems to a new couple. It's an old story, as old as humanity but is still alive and well. I wonder why is that so.
      You are lucky to have good feelings about your mother-in- law.
      xoxo, D.

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    2. I'm sorry that you have problems with your MIL. That indeed would make life harder. Your comment "has a complete trust only in her" when comparing your Mom to your MIL. I think as DILs we have to remember that our MILs raised a child so well and that child became such a wonderful adult, that we married them! I see so many of my friends have a horrible attitude toward their MILs which makes family life hell.

      For instance, I don't use pacifiers for reasons I believe are important. My MIL raised her kids using them. When she has the baby for visits, I know she sometimes uses them. This doesn't make the baby miss the pacifier or get upset when she doesn't have one. My MIL truly feels the baby is unhappy without it, so when she is watching the baby, she uses the pacifier. My friends are livid. Guess what? It really is no big deal. My MIL is a wonderful person, who loves us and is always there for her family. Now, I would have my limits, such as discipline and serious things like that. But I guess my point is... Bend and appreciate what your MIL has to offer. After all, she has already raised a pretty great person!

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  11. Charles and Camilla's point was not that George spends more time with the Middletons. That is an obvious and very benign statement.

    Their complaint was that William and Kate never bring him to see Charles, the Middletons are making William "middle class" aka low class, and, specifically, Carole has taken over Anmer Hall, even driving out the husband/wife team of housekeeper and gardener. With Camilla's friends giving direct quotes about the Middletons.

    A report like this, attacking the Middletons, William, and Kate, directly attributed to Charles and Camilla, has never before been reported in a mainstream newspaper. It has always been hearts and flowers. This is a definite shift and plainly an attack.

    Charles is jealous of William and Kate and is lashing out, aided by Camilla.

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    1. If these quotes by Camilla's friends are indeed authentic then she should reevaluate who she confides in. After all the decades she has been dealing with this family you would think she'd be more discrete about what she says and to whom. If Charles and Camilla are playing the "purposefully leaked complaints" to the press game, they need to go back and review the nastiness that came from their camp when they were mad at Diana for doing the same thing.

      The Middleton's home is a place of refuge which a royal residence can never be. If Charles wants to see George more often he can visit KP or Amner instead of them always having to take the baby to him. Kate's parents visit the Cambridges more often than they go to Berkshire and Charles could do the same. Nobody is going to tell the future King of England he's not welcome. C'mon, Charles! Get out of the palace and go visit! It's easier for you than packing up a baby - and all of the necessities that go with him - especially if one is pregnant!

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    2. Charles doesn't realize how blessed he is, he will forever sit and complain. My point was that I do believe the report and it is a marked change from anything that has been reported before. Of course, Kate needs and wants her Mom around. The Middletons have done nothing wrong. But I think to laugh this off as idle gossip is far off the mark.

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  12. Great post! Thank you and I agree with someone writing "no drama". From my point of view the Royal family has learned that an intact family helps to settle "outsiders" in their very special world. And, that their is no point in leaving someone in front of closed doors. William for sure will not let happen any frictions. We all do not know how often the Queen and Charles are seeing George. We do know that even the Queen is limited in space at Sandringham. So Camillas kids and granchildren are "excluded" on Christmas. So I assume that the Queen especially gave Aner Hall to William because of the proximity of the location to her estate - so he will be able to have his and Kate's whole family around. In addition, years ago there have been reports that Charles is not keen on getting disturbed by the noise of tapping around kids in his household, that's probably why Camilla is having her own "family household" where she can do whatesle she enjoys without the limitations of a royal household and where her kids are spending time. Why is their no drama made of but with William? I personally feel it is just a commercial background stirring rumors to sell. It must be frustrating for the Royals once in a while to read this kind of bullshit and my gut tells me that Kate and Prince Charles joked about this while meeting in Westminster Abbey. Would be great proof of their humor. Even look at the Commonwelth celebration - e.g. Daily Mail was more reporting about Kate, Kate's clothing, than grandpa Charles feelings, the potentially made-up welcome for the media but NOT about the importance of the day and the celebration!. Disgusting! You need strong nerves to be a member of the Royal family. And for Kate, you need the support of a casual, heartfelt and close family to stand that and get "earthed" once in a while !!!!!!

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  13. One of the early lies about Catherine, soon after her marriage was that she was barren and that had been confirmed by the royal doctor!
    Stupid and disgraceful. No wonder they dislike the press

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  14. Praise be to Princess Jane
    Sane Jane :-)
    Great piece!
    Simone

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  15. You always hit the nail square Jane. Thank you so much.

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  16. Jane, the way you present your analysis makes one say, "...but of course!" So logical. Common sense and logic seem
    to be the enemies of the tabloid press, unfortunately.
    An interesting idea to me: I wonder how many false stories were fed to assistants or hangers-on, who then fed the
    "facts" to the press as originating from an insider? Also, regarding stories before George's birth- were phone calls
    still being intercepted two years ago? Perhaps not those of TRH, but of assistants and friends?
    Finally: why does that old friend of Catherine's seem to know her reproductive status? Two out of two ain't bad.

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  17. Fantastic post. Jane, I think your reasoning is on the money. I do believe Charles made an innocent comment/observation about the amount of time George spends with the Middleton's. But I also believe it was leaked, through Camilla's friends and with her blessing, to undermine W&K and the Middleton's. As you pointed out, she is not related by blood and given her own difficulties in the popularity department, she is not exactly invested in seeing W&K thrive.

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  18. Charles always put duties before family -now its biting him in the butt - karma is a killer

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