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Last week saw a whirlwind of events honoring Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years since her ascension to the British throne. But all eyes were on the monarch's 4-year-old great-grandson, Prince Louis, at a pageant in London last Saturday, where the toddler displayed acts of defiance toward his mother, Kate Middleton.
Though now-viral clips from the ceremony show the young royal also hugging the duchess, 40, and affectionately sitting on her lap, it's his more rambunctious reactions — covering her mouth, sticking his tongue out while flashing a cheeky gesture — that have sparked debate. While some on social media found his antics merely amusing, others have pointed out that fellow royal Meghan Markle — who has been subjected to mom-shaming in the past — would no doubt be lambasted in the press for seemingly failing to control a boisterous child.
That's not to say that Kate has been exempt from her own shaming. Online critics have also blasted Louis's behavior as bratty and her efforts to discipline him insufficient. One frequent refrain: "My kid could never get away with that." Writer Gary Janetti — whose since-canceled HBO Max animated series The Prince was criticized for satirizing Louis's older brother, George — responded to the viral clip with an Instagram post likening Louis to Damien, the pint-sized Antichrist from the cult horror classic The Omen.
But many parenting experts are voicing support for both Kate and Louis. Among them is fellow Brit Jo Frost, the TV personality, author and child care pro best known as Supernanny. In an Instagram post shared earlier this week, Frost shared her view that "little Prince Louis behaved remarkably well," particularly. in light of the "fanfare" and distractions of the week's events. According to her "professional opinion," the 4-year-old has a "great sense of humor" and is "strong-willed and most definitely a highly sensitive soul."
"Most children can't sit in their chairs at a dining table for longer than 15 minutes," she explained. "It certainly must [have] been beautifully overwhelming for this little chap, especially with no playtime in between and long days. Children are going to test [us]. One should expect as much."
Frost went on to praise his parents, both Kate and Prince William, for being "such impressive parenting role models."
"They are open about their own struggles parents and like all parents out there continue to strive to do their very best in raising their young," Frost wrote. "Catherine has never been one to shy away from publicly giving her children a fair telling off to behave and that's a sign of a confident parent who is able to hold boundaries whilst empathetically meeting her children's needs as well as understanding their circumstances. I wish every parent the confidence to understand as such so that our children may be raised, seen and heard [and] loved with healthy boundaries."
Leslie Priscilla Arreola-Hillenbrand of Latinx Parenting — which supports intergenerational healing and more nurturing, non-violent and "cultural sustaining" approaches to raising children — also addressed critics who cited their own strict upbringings and spankings when weighing in on how Kate should discipline her child.
"I’m gettin reeeal tired of seeing people responding to that clip of Kate Middleton and being like, 'That child deserves la chancla!'" she said in an Instagram post, referencing the sandal or flip-flop frequently used to hit or threaten children in some Latinx households. "Or, 'If that was my kid ...'"
The parenting coach — whose organization works to end "chancla culture" — also expressed sympathy for Kate or any parent whose child is acting like, well, a child.
"I can't even IMAGINE having my parenting being filmed; it’s hard enough having it watched when I’m out in public," she wrote. "Pressure from eyeballs adds stress, and stress makes situations harder when trying to practice more connected ways of parenting. I've made a LOT of mistakes as a parent (yes, me ... a lot), and because of that I know that judgment does NOT help. Not towards my child, not definitely towards me as the parent."
On TikTok, Mary Van Geffen, an international parenting coach specializing in "spicy children" said it was a "beautiful thing to watch" the duchess "stay calm and collected" in response to her son's "spiciness."
"She didn't try to control, because she can't control him," Van Geffen added. "This royal mother chose to control herself, because that's all we have control of. She stayed calm and grounded."
Regardless of what keyboard warriors say about their son, the Cambridges seem to be shrugging off the attention. In a tweet capping off the Jubilee celebrations, the couple shared a photo of their youngest child walking alongside his father.
"We all had an incredible time, especially Louis ..." the caption read, followed by a knowing side-eye emoji.
We all had an incredible time, especially Louis… 👀 (3/3)
W & C pic.twitter.com/HFgK72kU05
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) June 6, 2022
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