Princes in an empty fairy tale: William and Harry must be wondering if they are loved, says Deborah Jackson

SO THE Royal Wedding was a marriage of convenience. Nothing so earth-shattering about that. This is what the landed classes have been doing for generations - marrying each other for the title, the money, the show, and for the land.

But what about the little princes in this empty fairy- tale? William and Harry may be partly shielded from the PR war raging between their high-profile parents, but soon they will hear gibes from friends, and one day perhaps dip into titles such as Princess in Love and The Prince of Wales. What effect will this acrimonious public battle have on their emotional development? And how must they feel when they hear that daddy never loved mummy?

From a child's point of view, divorce is not merely about parental differences. It reaches to the root of your existence and forces you towards an immature evaluation of the basis of life.

While your parents are together, however unhappily, the order of things is intact - there is always the possibility of harmony. When parents separate, some part of a child's life is shattered. 'After all,' goes the child's logic, 'if my parents don't love each other, why was I born?'

'This is a tremendously powerful question,' says Thelma Fisher, director of National Family Mediation, which represents 60 services for divorcing and separating families. 'A lot of our work supports parents in the task of maintaining their focus on the children, to give them safe passage through conflict, and security afterwards.

'Studies tell us that since mediation came in, parents are more aware of the need to sit down and talk together about the needs of the children. Despite their awareness, parents still find this difficult, and children are still bewildered.

'Children are very perceptive. They need an immense amount of emotional reassurance at this time. They need to know the truth, even if they can't always understand it.'

Dr Julian Boon, lecturer in personality at Leicester University's psychology department, believes the Wales's public bickering presages disaster for their sons.

'In the case of the boys, one might well imagine that what they will cling to is the stiff upper lip,' says Dr Boon. 'Children emulate their parents, and one might imagine them growing up to put their hands behind their backs and plant trees, but it doesn't bode well for them.

'They are getting conflicting messages that are not very healthy. And if they come to believe that their parents' was a loveless marriage, then that would carry negative connotations.'

However, the word 'loveless' may mean lack of affection on Charles's part, but not necessarily on Diana's. As the Prince put it before the wedding: 'I am very lucky someone as special as Diana seems to love me so much. I am already discovering how nice it is to have someone around to share things with.'

'If we accept that she was in love,' says Dr Boon, 'that will make a very different impact on the boys. Then they will pick up on the vibrations of a loving relationship. It may help them to value real love the more, and to get on with their mother.'

For Ms Fisher, it is Charles and Diana's ability to make time for their sons that could heal the wounds. 'The boys need to know that both their parents are committed to them,' she says. 'From what we know, both parents are loving and make special time for the children.'

We may tire of the royal saga, but Harry and William will have a long time to try to make sense of their strange, public upbringing and their parents' disastrous marriage. Perhaps one day they will authorise someone to write a book about it.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea