Dynasties need babies, or they die out.
So where is Prince William and Kate Middleton’s baby?
As Prince Charles himself somewhat crassly put it when his son announced his engagement to Middleton, "They’ve been practicing long enough."
And babies will soon be needed because, frankly, the Royal Family is shrinking.
Former Kremlinologists who now put their skills to use analyzing Buckingham Palace’s balcony scene alerted the world that, even though his mother appears to have no intention of abdicating, Prince Charles is using her advanced age and Prince Philip’s incapacity from illness to advance his own agenda of downsizing the British Royal Family. At Prince William and Kate’s royal wedding, the main balcony scene contained only the royal newlyweds, Prince Harry, Prince Charles, and Camilla. Stuck inside behind the glass balcony doors, cooling their heels, were Prince Andrew and his two princess daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, Princess Anne and her married children Peter and Zara, and Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, and their two young children. Anne, Andrew, and Edward are considered hard-working royals–running charities, being patrons, traveling to raise awareness and money, representing their mother at other royal weddings, baptisms, and funerals, etcetera.
But they were not on the balcony for the big camera shot.
They were not inside the wide-angle lense.
The royal future no longer belongs to them.
Prince Charles, the former Kremlinologists say, is communicating an important message: It is only my family that counts for the future of the monarchy.
Traditionally, the Royal Family was large and fertile and full of cher cousins who never lacked for a grace-and-favor apartment somewhere nice and royal, like Kensington Palace, or they were tricked out with a stately manor home that they were able to rent for a measly sum. And there was always a spare tiara or two around to lend.
But those days appear to be ending now.
As the Spanish magazines have breathlessly announced, even Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie (5th and 6th in line to the throne, respectively, behind their father) have been told to (gasp!) "Get a job."
Of course, in England, where there is much more of a class system than we have in America, lots of wealthy businesses are quite happy to employ the royal offspring even if all they have are degrees in things like "The History of Ideas."
But still. My word! A job?
Kate Middleton, of course, was about 30 at the time of her marriage to Prince William, and most of her time was spent not in suitable employment, like being a kindergarten teacher’s helper. No. Between the wedding and her college graduation, most of Kate’s time was spent...uhm...how to put it...traveling with the Prince. Being available for him. Staying tanned and fit and curling her luxuriant locks and dragging through the racks at Zara’s and Mango to find the sexiest outfits and matching nude pumps. Even fifty years ago, Kate would have made a jolly royal mistress, and a small emotional crisis might have ensued once a suitably dynastic match was agreed upon for William with another royal house.
Arrangements would have been made.
Then, a truly royal marriage would have commenced, and truly royal babies would have been immediately born.
However, since the great divorce of William’s parents and everything that both created that crisis and flowed from it, Europe’s other royal houses are looking a bit askance at the British royal family. It is, indeed, probably the most entrenched of all the lines and with a vast and impressive history and access to enormous wealth, but...even if you were king or queen, would you want one of your daughters marrying a sullen, brooding fellow whose mother was killed under mysterious circumstances, whose father then married his notorious adulterous mistress, and whose brother nakedly cavorts with hordes of anonymous men and women in swimming pools and Las Vegas hotel rooms?
While it is always tempting to link two royal houses together and see what happens, most royal parents are pretty much the same as parents everywhere.
They’ve seen what’s been going on in Buckingham Palace, and it gives them pause.
Also, many royal families are smaller than they’ve been in the past, and they have become pickier about where their children end up. And of course, their children are marrying commoners themselves–usually with mixed results. Sometimes it’s great, as was the case with Mary the Australian real estate agent and property developer who married Frederik, the Crown Prince of Denmark, had four children (two girls, two boys), and is much admired. The couple met in a pub in Sydney when the Crown Prince was visiting for the Olympics.
Prince Frederik’s younger brother, Prince Joachim, also took commoners for both his wives. Joachim first married Alexandra, a sexy Chinese sales-and-marketing specialist from Hong Kong who taught herself near-fluent Danish, thus endearing her to the Danish people immediately. To make things even better, Joachim and Alexandra quickly had two sons. However, Joachim was said to have remained something of a ladies’ man and "partier," and was then divorced by Alexandra (who promptly remarried to a man 14 years younger than herself). Not to be outdone, Joachim then remarried a sexy French executive secretary, Marie, and now has a beautiful baby girl and a third son.
In fact, commoner-royal marriages are now almost the norm. But what is also the norm is that these commoner-royal marriages almost always produce issue.
Why isn’t Kate Middleton Wills’s baby-mamma yet?
So many other royalized commoners are!
Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria married commoner Daniel, her personal exercise trainer, and had a baby girl almost immediately. Spain’s Crown Prince Philippe, who will surely take the crown following his father’s abdication, death, or some constitutional crisis (like King Juan Carlos vacationing with his young blond German mistress in Botswana and, during a wild elephant hunt, falling and breaking his hip), married Letizia, a beauteous but previously divorced newscaster and CNN journalist who gave him two lovely daughters. Because Spain is a strongly Catholic state, a previously divorced Queen might have presented a stumbling block. However, because two of Prince Philippe’s earlier romances were deemed too controversial–one girl’s mother had a notorious cocaine addiction, and the other girl was a Norwegian lingerie model–and Philippe had been pressured to exchange his private happiness for royal duty, Spain decided that they really just wanted their Crown Prince to marry and be happy and have children while he still young, and so Letizia became his bride.
Not even a drug history disqualifies some enterprising commoners. Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon married Mette-Marit, a commoner who’d worked as a waitress and had a history not exactly of drug abuse, but of "being in places where drugs were available." She also had a three-year-old illegitimate son with a man who’d been convicted of drug possession. A few days before her wedding, Mette-Marit tearfully appeared before the press, grasping her fiance’s hand and visibly shaking. She said that she regretted her past associations and wild ways, and in marriage would be a good partner to Haakon and do her best to be a great princess of Norway. Parliament was impressed, and decided not to delay or obstruct their wedding. Haakon and Mette-Marit quickly had two children, a girl who is now second in Norway’s succession and may become queen one day, and a son who stands third.
Not even having a suspected mass-murderer in your family can stop true royal love. Holland’s Crown Prince William of the House of Orange married a vivacious Argentinian investment banker who promptly dyed her hair blond, started wearing lots of orange clothing, taught herself Dutch, and gave birth to three girls (all named after Dutch queens). Princess Maxima stirred some controversy before her wedding when it came to light that her father, a former Argentine cabinet minister, was likely involved in the "Dirty War" in which tens of thousands of Argentines "disappeared." Maxima defended her father, as the Dutch understood she would, but she also agreed that he would not attend the royal wedding, and so far, her parents have not interfered in her marriage or in her life as a Dutch princess. Despite her father’s fair or unfair reputation as a "death squad" commander, she is enormously popular in Holland.
Things do sometimes get complicated, as when Holland’s Prince Friso (second in line to the throne behind the aforementioned Prince William of Orange) married commoner Mabel Wisse Smit, a self-described human rights activist who’d previously been in an intimate friendship with Klass Bruinsma, a "Scarface"-style gangster who hung out in whorehouses who was considered the biggest drug lord in Europe and certainly in Holland. Bruinsma, who was shot to death by a former Dutch cop-turned-mafioso, had also been accused of bribing various Dutch officials, and of other corruption charges. Following her engagement to Prince Friso, the Dutch Prime Minister complained that Mabel had been less than forthcoming about her friendship with Bruinisma, with whom she had also taken a "sailing trip." Because of her alleged dishonesty, the government declined, at that time, to submit the proposed royal marriage to Parliament for approval, as was needed because Friso was second in line to the throne, and any of his children with Mabel would also be in that line. Friso then responded that he was determined to marry Mabel regardless of what Holland’s civilian government did or did not do, and this disobedient response effectively removed Friso and his heirs from the royal succession.
That’s the pesky thing with being royal and getting married—you usually need either the monarch’s permission, Parliament’s permission, or both.
And at that time, hardly anyone knew about Mabel’s 1993 alleged affair with the hunky but very married Bosnian U.N. ambassador, Muhamed Sacirbey, (Tulane University law grad) who Mabel hooked up with during one of her United Nations human rights student internships. Sacirbey was accused of abusing his office and misusing Bosnia-Herzegovina’s funds, and a nasty fight ensued for his extradition.
Mabel and Prince Friso married nonetheless, and seemed to live a happy life in exile in London, where Friso worked as an investment broker and was involved in a number of very lucrative business projects, like a private airline. They had two daughters. Sadly, Prince Friso was buried in a deep avalanche while on a skiing vacation in Leche, Austria, while skiing off-trail with a guide. Although the guide dug him out and revived him, Friso had been without sufficient oxygen for almost twenty minutes. He remains in a coma. Transferred at first back to Holland (where post World War II euthanasia of persons in vegetative states is not unknown), Friso was then sent to a rehabilitation center near the home he’d shared with Mabel in London, where she continues to live with their children.
But if this is the worst of the commoner-royal marriages, then things are pretty good, all around.
There’s more of this, but the point is made: Commoner-royal marriages are becoming increasingly the norm. Dynastic marriages are tricky, can be dangerous, and take social skills that the royal women who traditionally engineered them no longer care so much about because, frankly, they are busy either being stockbrokers, bankers, and newscasters themselves, or heading out and about to innumerable duties so that they are genuinely busy.
What all these commoner-royal unions have in common–even with Mabel’s eyebrow-raising reputation--is that these commoner men and women tend to work as hard in their new royal "jobs" as they did in their old ones, and they all have sired or given birth to children.
Kate Middleton, however, seems to have never held a serious job. And after a decade of obvious unwed "romancing," when will any children arrive for Kate and William?
It remains to be seen. Buckingham Palace’s balcony looks empty. Meanwhile, the slimmed-down dynasty envisioned by Prince Charles hangs in the balance.
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