Balls are good training for princes

ANOTHER VIEW

Share
Related Topics
Prince William's attendance at a couple of teenage balls in the past few days has aroused much consternation. But why? There is nothing new about this particular breed of organised party. Since the early Eighties privately educated teenagers have been buying tickets through friends to go to dances, which to all intents and purposes provide innocent fun. They are held in London, supervised by adults, and there is no alcohol.

So of course Prince William should have gone to the Mistletoe and Feathers balls. If he is denied this sort of experience, in later life he may not know how to react to the inevitable sexual confrontations that he will face.

A recent Tatler survey of his peers concluded: "This time next year, as Prince William enters his second year at Eton, there is at least a 70 per cent chance that he will be drinking and smoking. He will probably have tried drugs and he might even have had sex. These assumptions are made not as a result of what we know of William's character, nor taking into consideration the habits of other Etonians. These are reasonable assumptions based on the results of our survey of teenagers, the children of affluent high achievers, the majority of whom have been privately educated."

Anyone who is shocked that the Prince and Princess of Wales have allowed their son to go on this harmless outing has no comprehension of how quickly young people grow up today. Admittedly, at 131/2, Prince William was among the younger guests - but in two and a half years he may legally marry. Anyway, for the most part, all that the young revellers do is dance with each other, and there are battalions of patrolling adults to deter the more virulent perpetrators of wandering-hand disease. There is no opportunity for anything more grown-up - certainly not for William, who was accompanied by a gun-toting bodyguard.

I am the mother of a 10-year-old girl, and don't know if I will want her to go to dances in just three years' time. But Prince William's big advantage (or disadvantage) is that he has an extremely loyal group of schoolfriends who help to fend off any Lolita in hotpants who may be eager to corrupt him or merely want to kiss the future heir for a dare.

Coming from Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, William probably enjoys having to queue up for a Coke or to collect his coat; it is the sort of treat he won't have for ever. Anyway, Sunday's ball was hardly the most egalitarian gathering - every teenager had been vetted beforehand.

Sadly for the boys, who were so elegantly dressed, the girls looked more like Christmas decorations than the sartorial sophisticates they no doubt imagine themselves to be. But we shouldn't worry about any of these nymphets whisking him out of the singles' scene. As Tatler's survey revealed, 12 per cent of teenagers defined a long-term relationship as one that lasts between one and two weeks.

The writer is editor of 'Tatler'.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron's 'compassionate conservatism' is now lying on its back  

Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron

Michael Dugher
Russian President Vladimir Putin 'hits his foes where it hurts'  

Dominic Raab: If Western politicians’ vested interests protect Putin, take punishment out of their hands

Dominic Raab
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform