LONDON (AP) – William and Kate’s new daughter is the first British princess who won’t face royal discrimination because she’s a girl, but that doesn’t mean her life will be a fairy tale.
Thanks to a change in the centuries-old rules of royal succession, if Princess Charlotte has a younger brother, he won’t overtake her in line to the throne.
But in a world where girls are encouraged to embrace pretty-in-pink princess imagery from birth, the royal daughter born Saturday is bound to face a level of scrutiny her elder sibling Prince George won’t have to worry about.
Claudia Joseph, author of William and Kate’s Britain, said that as a future king, third-in-line-to-the-throne George can expect a life of “duty and responsibility”.
His sister “will have a more carefree life, but on the other hand, we live in a world obsessed with looks. Nearly every woman nowadays is constantly under scrutiny”.
The experience of Kate – and, even more, of the baby’s late grandmother, Princess Diana – suggests the level of interest the princess can expect. Every outfit, every hairstyle, will be recorded, commented on, copied. Even her name – Charlotte Elizabeth Diana – announced Monday by her parents, was the subject of much speculation.
The royal birth was greeted with an explosion of pink, as Tower Bridge and other London landmarks were bathed in magenta light.
Not everyone was delighted.
“Are we really still in the 1950s with gender norms?” tweeted Laura Sheldon, a 16-year-old student.
“I don’t like the way the media are emphasising the baby is a girl and companies exploiting this in their marketing,” Sheldon told the AP in an email. “The whole ‘pink for girls’ and ‘blue for boys’ thing is so outdated and too conservative for what should be a progressive society.”
Royal historian Robert Lacey said princesses face a different burden than princes.