The Royal Baby – born with a silver spoon or a poisoned chalice?
Being born a royal baby appears at first glance a stupendous start in life. You are introduced to the world at one of London’s top private delivery suites, and surely can look forward to a life of comfort and luxury.
However, psychologists and psychiatrists might be a lot less sanguine. They could argue that there are many reasons why being born a royal baby might not be so good for anyone psychologically.
For starters you have a life of being constantly under media scrutiny. Unlike others who become famous later in life, you will be celebrated from the get go – which is highly unusual.
We already know that the renowned seem to suffer from more psychological problems than the general population, and there is even some research which confirms they suffer a much higher suicide rate.
A sobering reminder of the hazards of celebrity, particularly perhaps becoming famous while young, was provided earlier this week by the tragic death of young Glee Club star Cory Monteith, the Canadian actor whose premature death in a Vancouver hotel, has been associated in media reports with suicide or heroin abuse.
Exactly why being famous is linked with psychological problems remains a mystery, but various theories are invoked. One is that constantly being under media scrutiny, always having cameras shoved in your face, affects you psychologically. It could make you more self-obsessed or self-conscious. We all find ourselves being just a little more ‘self-aware’ if we have a camera pointed at us – we become more ‘self-conscious’ – could there be a chronic effect impact on your personality, of constantly facing cameras and microphones – one of the hazards of the life of a celebrity? Might this impact be a negative one – leading you to become more prone to self-obsession and then depression?
There has been a little research on these theories carried out by psychologists, which suggests some support for various of these speculations, but the main rival theory is that there is something about the personality of people who strive for fame, which means they become more prone to psychological problems later. This won’t apply to the royal baby who, unusually, won’t have to make any effort whatsoever to become well-known.
But this also could come back to haunt a developing psyche. It is possible that there are psychological benefits to hard work and achievement through personal endeavour, which a royal baby may never experience? Never having to lift a finger, won’t contribute to personal resilience. But, so what, many will counter, this baby can look forward to treatment from the very best psychiatrists should problems develop.
Yet the very private and intimate nature of seeking help for psychological or medical problems, means the famous often find it more difficult than the general population to obtain proper assistance. The issues of who can be trusted with personal confidences, will also beset this child for the rest of their lives.
Historically the royal family has apparently always brought children up through third parties, such as nannies and boarding schools. Hands on parenting, generally speaking, wasn’t part of the psychological landscape of childhood.
Whether this is good for your or not longer term mentally, remains an open question. But given all the psychological hazards of being born a royal baby, we the loyal subjects, might consider how not to become part of the many future obstacles this child will face.
The biggest favour we can do this child, is leave them alone.