The royal christening of Prince George didn’t come with the fanfare of the royal wedding or even the anticipation of the royal birth, but the British royals did manage to snag two magazine covers during the week that offered different perspectives of the monarchy.
Most are perhaps aware of the special issue People magazine cover featuring doting parents William and Kate with baby George from his recent baptism. Perhaps fewer are aware of the Time magazine cover featuring Prince Charles, ironically with the headline “The Forgotten Prince.”
Royalty in America is roughly the equivalent of celebrity here. We’ll indulge in the pomp and circumstance of the monarchy as a guilty pleasure, but otherwise the majority of people likely aren’t as interested in the inner workings of palace life—if at all.
In that case, the People cover portraying a close-up of both Prince William and Kate beaming with pride over a smiling baby George is the most recent royal cover that best resonates with the reading public. It even calls to mind a 1982 People magazine cover featuring a baby Prince William and the beloved late Princess Diana on the occasion of his christening.
Inside People’s recent issue, there were plenty of images of the extended royal family, from Queen Elizabeth on down. It was a rare peek into the palace, but much of the buzz was about what Kate was wearing, what Pippa was wearing, what baby George was wearing.
The Time magazine cover, on the other hand, featured a close-up of Prince Charles with an expression representative of the monarchy’s typical stoicism.
Essentially, the article tells us that Charles is somewhat reluctantly assuming more of a kingly role as the queen ages and prefers to limit her travel. It makes mention of some of his fatherly moments with his son, but it lacks the paternal warmth that was captured on People’s cover.
Instead of the doting father, Time did manage to portray Charles as a champion of charities and social causes—something most often associated with Diana. It may come as a surprise that Charles’ involvement in or creation of such organizations pre-dates his and Diana’s royal wedding.
Here, as in Britain, William and Kate are enjoying a wave of popularity, due in part to their youth, the fascination with their love story, the arrival of the new prince. Lost in that shuffle is Charles, who though next in succession to the throne, doesn’t get the attention the “new” royals are.
Comparing the magazines, there may be another more fundamental difference in the two portrayals. People’s cover image includes William, perhaps an indication that he will be an involved father. Diana was pictured alone with William on his christening cover; other family portraits printed in that magazine included Charles.
Whether that can be attributed to Diana’s influence, Kate’s background as a “commoner,” or just a changing approach to parenting that’s reached all the way to the palace, it may be another indication that these “new” royals are sending a message that they won’t be bound by tradition.