This is our truth, tell us yours
When I first became a parent, a well meaning friend looked at the tiny bundle snuggled up against my shoulder, wrapped up against the winter cold, and told me that genetics would dictate that the tiny bundle would grow into an intelligent, healthy adult. They were pretty specific about the baby’s gender as well.
Me? I’m no fortune teller. It would have been rude to be scathing about the friend’s fortune telling too, as, in Geordie fashion, they pressed money into my hand to give the bairn a good start in life.
Eighteen years on I still don’t know who the bairn will become. Children are always a work in progress. One of my parents said to me, before they died, that they didn’t know where I was going but they were proud of where I’d been. That’s the best, as a parent, that you can hope for, that you give your children the skills and the space to be proud of their journey and happy about your part in it.
Poor Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, a child who will live in the public eye burdened by expectations no more scientific than my friend’s kind words about the bairn all those years ago. Already her place in life is pre-determined and the expectations of her sharply defined by the all-consuming attention of those who would live vicariously through little Charlotte’s destiny to be part of the nation’s most permanent soap opera.
The idea that we all have destinies, not destinations we don’t yet know about, is poisonous at best and murderous at worst. How can Charlotte find her own true north when she’s already being told that her role is to act as first reserve for her brother, a stand-in should accident or ailment befall him?
I don’t pretend this blog will do anything much about Charlotte’s fate, but we all have to try, to look at the perils of destiny as a concept, and to hope that somehow, a happy adult will emerge from the straitjacket convention will seek to impose on Charlotte.