Could the royal tour mark the start of a worrying new level of scrutiny for Princess Charlotte?

Is Princess Charlotte about to receive a whole new level of media scrutiny? [Photo: PA]
Is Princess Charlotte about to receive a whole new level of media scrutiny? [Photo: PA]

Her royal cuteness Princess Charlotte is currently accompanying her parents, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, on their royal tour of Europe. And while Prince George is also clocking up his own set of awws, it’s Charlotte who has very much been the star attraction.

Just yesterday, the two-year-old tot performed her very first public curtsy and the Internet literally lost their minds.

Because while the rest of her pre-school peers are rolling out the Play-Doh, little Charlotte is tottering down the red carpet, shaking hands with a defence attaché and sweetly accepting a teeny bouquet of flowers from her fans.

While all this is undoubtedly cute, it does seem to highlight a shift in the royals upping the ante on the length and frequency of Charlotte’s public appearances. And the seemingly marked movement has in turn kick-started a whole new level of scrutiny for the tiny tot.

Princess Charlotte accepts a posy of flowers upon arriving in Germany
Princess Charlotte accepts a posy of flowers upon arriving in Germany. [Photo: PA]

As her image was beamed around the globe and video footage of her was viewed by millions of social media users, people also gobbled up every tiny little detail in the accompanying copy. Not only did we discover that her little red shoes were cast-offs from her uncle Prince Harry, we also gleaned that her Cornflower blue smock dress, which was twinned with her mother’s, was carefully chosen in honour of her German hosts and that her diplomacy skills were actually slightly better than those of her brother.

So far, so innocent. But isn’t that how it all starts? How long before people start scrutinising her body shape? Speculating that her classmate could be her new boyfriend or wondering if that tiny roll of flesh is in fact a baby bump?

How long before the descriptions of her short and sweet smock dresses detail how her clothing choices show off her enviable pins?

And though this new-found media glare has and will continue to also fall on her brother, it is Charlotte who is likely to court the most headlines, merely because of her gender.

No doubt the Princes, William and Harry, can testify that they’ve faced their own share of public scrutiny. But think back to last year when it was first revealed that Harry was dating actress Meghan Markle. The Internet went into complete melt down. Meghan’s previous relationships were dissected, her upbringing, heck even her previous sex scenes (from before she even knew Harry) made front page news.

The overall result wasn’t pretty and the 35-year-old American found herself on the end of some pretty extreme trolling.

Unhappy with the public reaction, Kensington Palace issued a statement on behalf of Prince Harry that not only confirmed his relationship with Meghan, but also implored the public for privacy and respect.

And you don’t have to be a royal or a potential royal-to-be, like Meghan, to be subjected to intense media gaze. Just ask Jennifer Aniston. Fed up with the daily pregnant-not-pregnant focus on her womb, last year the actress was forced to issue a scathing essay calling out the world’s media for what she described as the sport-like scrutiny on her personal life.

“For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up,” she wrote in a blog post on The Huffington Post. “I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism,’ the ‘First Amendment’ and ‘celebrity news.’ ”

“The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty,” she continued.

Princess Charlotte could face increasingly intense media scrutiny [Photo: PA]
Princess Charlotte could face increasingly intense media scrutiny [Photo: PA]

She’s right of course. And this intense focus on the bodies and private lives of females in the public eye is already having a worrying knock-on effect on the body image and self-worth of young girls.

A survey published by the Girl Guides last year revealed that girls as young as seven are feeling under pressure to have “the perfect body.” And older girls are affected too, with a further survey revealing that over the past five years, there has been a worrying increase in the number of girls, aged from 17 to 21, who say they are dissatisfied with their appearance. It was 36 per cent in 2011; today, half of all young women can’t stand the way they look.

Could an increasing focus on the looks and appearance of Princess Charlotte contribute to this negative feeling about body image even further?

Of course some people will argue that being scrutinised comes with the royal territory. But Princess Charlotte didn’t ask to be born into the royal family. To a certain extent, Charlotte’s mother, Kate had an idea of the scrutiny she would face when she married Prince William, but Charlotte didn’t and doesn’t have a choice to opt out of it all.

Others, will say that it’s down to her parents to protect her from it. And to be fair William and Kate have kept the youngest Cambridge out of the spotlight as much as possible – choosing to release only pictures that either Kate has taken herself or that the family have approved. But as she gets older Charlotte’s royal duties will no doubt increase and with it will come an increased, more frenzied level of interest.

Sure the scrutiny currently faced by many female celebrities may seem a long way off for a two-year-old Princess, but the seemingly crazed sharing of minutiae during this recent tour of Europe could well be her first, somewhat worrying taste of what is to come.

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