Princess Charlotte heartbreak: Why Kate and William’s daughter faces impossible challenge


PRINCESS CHARLOTTE has a very difficult challenge ahead of her, due to a landmark change a few years before she was born.

Prince William and Kate’s daughter, 4, is fourth-in-line to the throne after her brother Prince George. This makes George the ‘heir’ and Charlotte the ‘spare’, a role that is notoriously hard to fulfil. However, Charlotte is only in this position because the Succession to the Crown Act (2013) changed the rule that gave sons preference in the line of succession.

If this law had not come to pass, Charlotte’s younger brother Louis would be above her in the line of succession.

Instead, Charlotte will have to navigate a role that throughout royal history has been difficult, if not impossible, for ‘spares’ to do. 

For example, Prince Harry has struggled with the role his whole life, always being more of a rebel than his brother William.

He got in trouble for drinking and smoking cannabis when he was 17, and was even sent to a drug rehabilitation clinic for a day by Prince Charles.

princess charlotte

Princess Charlotte has a difficult task ahead of her – to navigate her role as George’s ‘spare’ (Image: GETTY)

prince harry

Prince Harry has struggled with his role his whole life (Image: GETTY)

Later in life, he was photographed naked at a party in Vegas and on another occasion wearing a Nazi costume to a fancy dress party.

He was known to be a keen partier and regularly broke royal protocol with public displays of affection with his girlfriends. 

His rebellious antics may have been down to the fact that he had to play this difficult role – someone who would never be monarch, but still has to endure public interest and intrusion, while supporting his brother. 

Harry reportedly felt “sidelined by William” growing up and felt that his brother was the favourite in the Royal Family.

kate middleton prince william prince harry

The Cambridges and the Waleses (Image: GETTY)

Even their mother Princess Diana felt like other members of the family would “concentrate on William”.

Harry complained to his mother “it’s not fair” that William was “made a fuss over” when visiting their great-grandmother, the Queen Mother, according to the Telegraph. 

More recently, Harry has been publicly struggling with the attention and scrutiny he and his wife Meghan Markle have faced, and the couple decided to step back as senior royals.

Prince Charles’ ‘spare’ was his younger brother Prince Andrew, also known for his partying, but also his failed marriage and, more recently, the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew has had his fair share of scandals (Image: GETTY)

Princess Margaret

Princess Margaret was an alcoholic (Image: GETTY)

The Duke of York has come under fire for his friendship with the convicted paedophile and been accused of having sex with Virginia Roberts, who was trafficked by Epstein. 

Andrew stepped back from royal duties last year. 

Another notable ‘spare’ was Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister Princess Margaret.

Margaret also struggled with her role and was surrounded by scandal after scandal throughout her life.

Kate Middleton and Charlotte are ‘lovely’ avows Prince William

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These included her partying, her affair, her alcoholism and a picture of her wearing a tiara in the bath. 

All these people found it difficult to know how to fulfil the role they were born to do.

After the departure of Harry and Meghan, some have questioned whether Charlotte may not want to follow the traditional royal life when she is older. 

The precedent set by ‘Megxit’ has, in a way, carved out an exit route for her if she decides she wants to take it.

Royal expert Katie Nicholl

Royal expert Katie Nicholl (Image: ITV)

Royal expert Katie Nicholl said on The Spectator’s podcast ‘The Edition’ last month that Meghan and Harry may have created a “blueprint” for the younger royals.

She said: “I think if this all comes off well, this could be very useful blueprint – not for George because he is going to be King – but for Charlotte and Louis, for the royals who are not in direct succession to the Crown, to have a life within the Royal Family.” 

She added: “You used the word ‘spare’ and I think that’s really interesting because if you look historically, the role of the spare has always been a tricky one.

“Look at Margaret, look at Andrew, you can go further in history as well and pluck examples out.

“While the heir’s role is predestined, it’s mapped out, it’s the spare’s job to find a meaningful role.

“And actually I think Prince Harry has done a pretty good job at that, whereas historically others have failed, they’ve come off the rails. 

“There were points, I think, when it looked like Harry might come off the rails.”