This Is Why We’re Obsessed With Will and Kate

I’ve been trying to put my finger on what, exactly, is so appealing about Prince William, Dutchess Kate, and Prince George’s royal tour Down Under.

There is the usual. Her amazing wardrobe and corresponding poise. His dapper looks. The stunning scenery of New Zealand vineyards or Australian metropolises. Baby George’s chubby cheeks. Yes, all that.

But there is something else.

It’s watching a young family. A family.

It’s no secret than we are increasingly a rarity. Young families that is. The percent of young Americans getting married dropped by ten percent in just a decade and sits at an all-time low. Birth-rates everywhere are plunging, and the average age at which a college woman now has her first child is 30 and climbing. The majority of children born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock. Everyone talks of a delayed adolescence among millennials, one of whose favorite television shows of all time is called, of all things, Arrested Development. There are a million little data points that paint a picture of today’s 20 and 30-somethings partying, shacking up, moving back home, hooking up, etcetera. I’m not breaking any news here.

The choice to marry and have children, especially in urban areas, is increasingly a counter-cultural one. One that can feel isolating, especially when children come and catching up with friends requires a flurry of (usually unsuccessful) phone calls to sitters and an expensive babysitter tab. Whereas once people formed communities around families, now they are built around child-free entities like restaurants, yoga studios, and office complexes.

Will and Kate’s tour is more than a tour of duty. It’s a tour-de-family. Unlike their last trip to Canada and the United States, where the world delighted in their newlywed bliss, this time the articles are mostly about their son because let’s be honest, another zillion articles about Kate’s amazing wardrobe would have been trite. But watching her blossom as a beautiful mother is new and fresh. She is making motherhood looking appealing with her calm and happy demeanor, with her supportive husband by her side. Does she look oppressed and chained to a screaming child? Not so much. Does she look like a woman in her element? You bet.

In a world where families are falling apart, where choosing family life is abnormal, we need positive examples. And while it’s true that Will and Kate had every opportunity offered to them, they still had to make choices. They chose to marry. They chose a religious and reverent ceremony. They chose to have a child almost right away. And they’ve chosen to let the world share in their happiness.

And in doing so, they give young families everywhere a little boost. We’re not alone, we’re not insane. We may not alight the steps of private jets in stilettos and Alexander McQueen, but behind closed doors we deal with the same struggles: nap schedules, picky eating, nursing challenges, sleepless nights.

We are equal in our struggles, but equal in our joys, because every child is a prince or princess in the eyes of God and deep down, every parent knows this. And that’s why every parent is secretly delighting in seeing Will and Kate make family life look worth it in a world that says it’s not.

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  • Matt

    One must never forget that Royals are thugs. It’s hard to think of an 88 year old woman who has likely never (personally) struck anyone out of anger, or a glamorous young duke and duchess as a “thugs” – yet it’s true.

    All Royal families came to power through violence – either against the citizenry, against the prior regime or (usually) both. Their power is sustained through a combination of physical power (those palace guards may look cute, but their job is to kill anyone who threatens royal power) and propoganda. They extort uncountable wealth off of their subjects in exchange for not doing violence to them.

    A big part of how Royal families sustain their power is the use of dazzling pomp and circumstance – the glitz and glamour – to create a fairy tales image and to seduce people into becoming their supporters. This is what William and Kate are doing with this PR tour, and, judging from the “We’re obsessed with Will and Kate” headline, it’s pretty effective. They certainly appear quite happy with their filthy inheritance.

    • liz rosemary

      On some level I agree with you Matt. I am NOT a big fan of the royal family.
      I refuse to get caught up in the British royal Hoopla. (Being of Irish descent
      makes them my evil, rapacious historical oppressors, but don’t even get me going on that…)
      However, I still think this is an excellent article with some great points to make.
      I also think more positively than you in that if you shake the family tree of the
      Windsors, plenty of villains will rain down, but Kate & William are just innocent
      by products of the families they were born into and THEY are adorable!

    • Ciara

      spot on matt, she is essentially a human barbie doll. I agree with Hilary Mantell.

  • Elaine

    Matt, you are a troll.

    As to the article, spot on.

  • Judy Winter

    There are truths or part truths in what has been shared but I agree with Liz. Have some grace for the couple who ARE role modeling the disappearing loving nurturing family with a man a woman and children. We need to support this and forgive past wrongs. 77 X’s 7 if need be.
    At an amusement park recently I noticed MANY young families and thought, well maybe there are more than I thought and was so encouraged. Thank you Ashley for sharing your insights. It is a chance to support a dying norm. It was created by God. It still is His best for His wonderful creation made in His image.

  • thinkingoutsidethe box

    Probably some of Kate’s miner ancestors would have not been fans of some of William’s ancestors.

    Old rivalries could probably be found in all our family trees…the Windsors’ history is just better known.

    But here we have a pleasant young couple.

    In Kate…a nicely dressed, well mannered young woman whose photos are displacing —at least a few of the c anorexizombie/concentration camp inmate/on drugs look” of some extreme fashion models photos taken by people who seem to hate young women looking healthy & happy.

    They do “normal family” with class…

  • LJO

    I’m not sure I understand your point here; you make the argument that marriage rates are declining and birth rates are plunging – fair enough. But Kate was 29 when she married William and 31 when their child was born. This seems to fall within the normal range of marriage age and birth rates for the current college educated population. I’m not sure they should be considered especially “young”? Rather, are they not following the same trend of the rest of the millennial generation?

    And, while yes, they made a choice to be married and try for children, I disagree with the idea that they “chose to have children quickly.” Just as you state every child is a prince or princess in the eyes of God, you neglect to realize that they were incredibly fortunate to conceive quickly, and that such a blessing is not a mere choice by a man and woman. For those that have experienced fertility issues, it’s disheartening and frustrating when people assume that all you need is a will to have children, and they’ll pop out.

    Will and Kate are fascinating because they’re fortunate and seemingly grateful for their good fortune and many blessings. To try and put those same expectations on the rest of the millennial population is unfair and unrealistic.

    • Matt

      The “good fortune and many blessings” the erstwhile “Windsors” enjoy came at the expense of impovershing my Irish ancestors (and probably starving some to death) for generations. Ill-gotten gains are supposed to be returned, not used to support a luxe lifestyle.

      But they’re good looking so that somehow makes it OK.

      • LJO

        Matt – I agree that their wealth is a product of a deep history of impoverishment of others. My reference to ‘fortune’ was the definition meaning to happen by chance, beyond a person’s control, specifically in regard to them marrying at an age which the author considers ‘young’ and their ability to conceive children ‘quickly’.

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  • Pamela

    I do appreciate Kate’s much more modest and classy taste in clothing than the average young woman displays. But while they seem very happy and I think they are definitely demonstrating more of a traditional couple’s role with their lives, let’s not forget that neither of them need work for any of their basic needs of food, housing and clothing, and that they just recently hired a nanny for little Prince George. I think it would be easy to seem calm and happy under these circumstances.

    • zipporah

      I love KATES wardrobe, since it has a ‘VICTORIAN’ flavor i haven’t seen since the 1980s, without the stupid shoulderpads, and she has NO VISIBLE TATTOOS being from england, where they seemed to have originated in the late 1970s. she also wears skirts at a cute length….:)

    • Lucy

      I totally agree with you. It’s doubtful that Kate spends many nights awake with a fretful child. I hardly think of them as a family to look up to. I think the obsession of people with the royal family is jealousy of their glamourous, and seemingly “easy” (compared to the average American family), lifestyle.

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  • Ciara

    Oh please. Her struggle is not the same as any young mother’s – she has a nanny. I am british (and Irish ethnically) and sick to the back teeth of royal sycophancy. Kate is good at standing there keeping her mouth shut and looking pretty. She had a ‘religious’ wedding because of both PR and tradition. Do you really think if she had demanded a quickie in a registry office the team of advisers and publicists would have said yes? Matt is right. We are being sold a fairytale image of fair princesses and horse drawn carriages because it is what we want. What annoys me is how much people fall for it, to the point where people tell me “how can you not like the royal family! you’re not allowed to hate them!”. Don’t fall for the hype. Kate is not like us.