So the waiting is over and Kate’s royal duty is done. On Monday — to circumstances of pomp, press and popular approval — little Prince George Alexander Louis weighed into the world at 8 pounds 6 ounces (3.8kg) — excluding the silver spoon in his mouth – in a London hospital.
Third in line to the throne of the United Kingdom and the future head of the Commonwealth, little boy George’s future is laid out for him as no other — other than his father, Prince William, and his grandfather, Prince Charles. He is the latest in line into the family business of the House of Windsor — little boy George is born to be king.
His proud parents have said that they want to raise him as normally as possible — but can such a sentiment be at all possible under the glare of prying lenses and the weight of responsibility and the crown that will one day be placed on his head?
For all of his birthright and privilege, his future life is preordained as most of us can never imagine.
Little boy George can never know the pleasure of learning to ride a bicycle, his first wobbling pushes of the pedals steadied by training wheels and his father’s guiding hand. No, there will be watchers and minders to ensure that those scrapes and scratches of childhood never amount to anything that might endanger the future work of the little boy George.
And in school, he can never pick and choose who will come around to his house for those birthday parties, balloons and cakes — the Royal Protection Squad of Scotland Yard will decide who is suitable from the class. And you can rest assured that those from his class will be of the right class. Let’s face it, Prince George isn’t going to hang with a posse quirks of history and palace intrigues of the past. Nor will he ever mix on the terraces of Manchester or London, Liverpool or Leeds, drinking watered down and overpriced Bovril to subsidise the exorbitant weekly wages of football players on the field below. He will never know what it is like to build a set of stumps out of broken sticks or discarded bricks and hit for the boundary of a bumpy sandy patch of earth.
And for that matter, Prince George will never know what it is like to be sneaky, misleading parents, getting up and down to the things that normal teenagers get up and down to. Those Royal Protection Squad officers will see to that.
Yes, there will be appeals to the editors of those newspapers in London that make their money from telling and selling the tales of the House of Windsor to please give Prince George his privacy. And yes, those palace appeals will be honoured until such a time as he is drunk, naked and partying in Las Vegas, or chooses to wear a Nazi uniform at a Halloween costume party. That type of behaviour, after all, runs in the blue blood of the House of Windsor.
Prince George will never know what it is like to make a mistake as only normal people do. He will never have to worry about getting the right grades to get into the right schools and work hard to get into a good university. For him, that is all preordained. It will be a top public school, a top university and a nominal role in the military to pass the time until such a time as he must don that golden and bejewelled crown.
His first kiss will be captured and peddled and published. His first love will be followed and turned into the subject of those editors and their pages and pictures.
For all of his life of privilege, Prince George is a prisoner to his ancestry, to the quirks of history and palace intrigues of the past.
He is no more free to make choices in life for there is but one purpose for him.
For those who are born without palaces and privilege, there is the wealth of freedom to choose the paths of the life.
The words of poet Robert Frost’s The Road Less Travelled spring to mind:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
By birth, we are shackled to the inevitable in life other than death itself. And there is a freedom that we share in being able to make out our own decisions, create our own destiny. That is our privilege.
The price of privilege for little boy George is to be deprived of that freedom. How lucky are we!