There has been much debate over the last few days on the fact that Kate will not be attending the St.Patrick’s Day events this year. It will be her first year since joining the Royal family in 2011 that she misses the event where she has traditionally handed out sprigs of shamrocks to members of the Irish Guards.
Of course, the Royal family will not release the reason why Kate has chosen to not attend the events. That did not dampen anyone from talking about it. Speculation was rampant which led to more than a few comments on everything from William & Kate’s work ethic (William defended himself today against comments of “lazy” and “work shy”) as high-ranking Royals to the Duchess’ dedication to her family. The only comment that has come out officially has been from Kensington Palace, which said:
“… The Duchess has very much enjoyed the occasions when she has been able to attend, but the Duke is the Colonel of the Regiment and is looking forward to presenting the Irish Guards with their Shamrock. The Duchess looks forward to marking St.Patrick’s Day with the Irish Guards many times in the future.”
So why is Kate not attending? The true and fulsome answer will never be known, but as a mother and avid-Royal watcher, I think the answer is probably much more evident than one might think.
On April 10th, William and Kate will be departing for a week long visit to India and Bhutan, leaving Prince George and Princess Charlotte at home in England. I believe the reason she is not attending the St. Patricks’s day event is that she wants to spend as much time as possible with her children before departing for a week away from them. I know that as I have travelled overseas for work and had to leave my child at home when I do, before I left I make a concerted effort to spend more time with him. It is completely logical to me that she wants to focus on her family in advance of what will likely be the longest she has been away from her kids in their short lives.
Some might argue that she will be back “working” on Friday at a charity shop in Norfolk and could therefore work on Thursday as well. I think it’s great that she will be out and about on Friday – us Kate bloggers always love to see her – but the people arguing that point tend to forget that the shop is in Norfolk, as is William and Kate’s country home. It will be popping out to the event for a few hours and then returning home to her kids.
I felt the urge to write this opinion article – and it is just that, my opinion – because it brings up something that is very much on the top of my mind recently. How women balance so many things in their lives, and the incredible added pressures placed on them when children are added into the mix. Now, I don’t need to tell anyone that Kate leads a very different life than you or I. She has more household help than the vast majority of people, she doesn’t have a “real job” (although we did explore all the things Kate actually does for her duties a while back and it’s not all easy!) and she’s a member of a Royal family. But when it’s all broken down and we strip away privilege and life circumstances, Kate is just like you or I : she’s a woman who balances the professional obligations of her life with her personal ones and tries to do the very best she can.
I, for example, have been criticized for going back to work after the birth of my son. Criticized by family members who can’t understand why I would want to, friends who ask me how I cope with being away from my kid so often when I travel and general strangers who challenge my life choices. The comments I have heard have been hurtful. Mean-spirited and meant to make me feel guilty and shameful for wanting to be a professional woman who also has a family. For trying to find a work-life balance for myself that works.
But Kate? She’s got the eyes of the world on her. Every decision she makes will be criticized. She doesn’t spend enough time with her kids because she’s always working. She spends too much time with her kids and doesn’t work enough. Her engagements aren’t formal enough. Her engagements are too formal. I can only imagine that if Kate had the time to read the comments about her that they would be hurtful. And for that, I am glad that I don’t have to do what Kate does. I don’t have to smile and put on a happy face for the cameras, I get to do things like write articles like these 🙂
So while I think that there are potentially valid points to be made on each side of the “Great St. Patrick’s Day debate”, the real reason for Kate’s absence will likely be her choice to spend time with her children. And that, in my books, is something that can never be criticized.