16 Times Prince William's Parenting Skills Were Questioned

16 Times Prince William's Parenting Skills Were Questioned
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prince william, kate middleton,, prince george, princess charlotte
James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images

We can all probably agree that Prince William comes across as a pretty involved and caring parent. He's talked about changing diapers, playing with the kids, and has been photographed being affectionate with them often. 

An all around good dad then, yes?

But of course, every parent makes mistakes, and every parent -- no matter how conscientious -- will draw criticism from people who can't mind their own business about how other people raise, feed, discipline, and talk to their kids. With the cameras constantly on him wherever he goes -- especially when the cute Cambridge kids are around -- it's a given that William would make headlines for even the slightest comment about parenthood and that critics would be there to fire away on social media and in the press.

Although Kate Middleton has borne the brunt of the parenting criticism (sound familiar, moms everywhere?!), William has had his share. Sometimes, it's been because he made even the mildest of comments about being a father and all that that entails. Other times, he's been captured by cameras doing something that seems (key word here) to be a parenting fail -- and that's been enough to blow a firestorm of nasty comments his way. 

And sometimes, the critics even have a small point. 

Either way, it's got to be frustrating for him, especially given that the royals usually keep mum about criticism and rarely fire back in public. Imagine trying to be a parent in the limelight. Kate once talked about how William had been so nervous about putting baby Prince George in his car seat in front of cameras lined up at the hospital. (He practiced for weeks with a doll.)

That's a lot of pressure. 

William seems to be handling it well, and for every critic there are probably throngs of fans who admire the way he has conducted himself as a dad to George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis

Here are 16 times that William's parenting was questioned.

  • Buckling a Swaddled Prince George Into His Car Seat

    prince william and prince george
    John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images

    When Kate gave birth to George -- and then had to heave herself out of bed to present baby George to the public to satisfy their curiosity just hours later -- everybody was in awe of her. (Lots of us just felt sorry for the poor woman.) But William felt the wrath of nitpickers when they saw that he had buckled the baby into the car seat with just one strap, while the little prince was still wrapped in a blanket. Although it was not the best parenting move, William was probably just anxious to get the baby and Kate away from the hundreds of photographers gathered outside the hospital.  

  • George's Car Seat Facing Forward

    prince william and prince george
    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

    Fun fact: William was the first royal baby ever to go abroad on an official trip with his parents, and he brought George on his and Kate's trip to Australia and New Zealand when George was just months old. The public loved seeing the chubby cutie out and about Down Under, but criticized the fact that the car seat in the royal limo faced forward (Apparently, William, and Kate had asked for it that way.) Forward-facing car seats for kids are definitely not recommended, but it's not as if the limo was going to speed off to the hotel, either.

  • Taking Kate On a Post-Pregnancy, Child-Free Vacation

    kate middleton and prince william
    Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty

    Seven months after George was born, William took Kate on a weeklong stay at the remote Indian Ocean island of Maldives. When the public caught wind of it, criticism was heavy. People complained that the couple shouldn't have left the baby -- who was staying with Kate's parents -- for such a long time. Others groused about the fact that the family had just come from another vacation. 

    But we wonder if anyone thought that maybe William wanted to give his wife a break? After all, she'd had suffered severe morning sickness throughout her pregnancy and talked about how isolating motherhood can be -- and we all know how tough it is to parent under those conditions. Plus, the Middletons are clearly loving and responsible grandparents who probably had a royal nanny at their disposal. 

    What's the big deal?

  • Taking George Shooting

    prince william and prince george and princess anne
    Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

    Royals and shooting trips go hand in hand, and they have for centuries. But the tide is turning against the tradition, and that showed when William was lambasted for taking 5-year-old George along on a hunting outing. The family had joined Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral during the summer, and George watched as his dad and others shot grouse. Twitter lit up with tsk-tsking critics who called William a hypocrite for advocating for animal preservation, saying he should have at least waited for George to be older before introducing him to the sport.

  • Supporting Prince George Taking a Ballet Class

    prince george and prince william
    Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images

    It was a lovely moment that made many royal fans sigh: Prince William revealed that George was taking ballet as part of his school curriculum. Even though many people applauded his breaking the stigma against boys taking ballet, others spewed some ugly stereotypes -- including Good Morning, America's Lara Spencer, who laughed and said, "We'll see how long that lasts." (She later apologized.)

    Commenters on social media were pretty ignorant, too. "Stop encouraging anyhow," read one typical negative comment. "He should be redirected as any man should be."

  • Taking George & Charlotte on an Official Trip 

    prince william and prince george
    Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

    We don't know if it was the jet lag or just kids being kids, but on a trip to Poland in 2017, George and Charlotte looked pretty bored or flat-out cranky during events and outings -- making people wonder why they were there at all. Maybe it was all just too much for them? Probably, but the decision to take along the kids ultimately worked well, because there was tons of coverage of the royal tots all over the internet.

  • He Called Parenthood a Struggle

    prince william and prince george
    Ian Gavan/Getty Images

    People expect so much out of the royals that it's almost as if they don't think these people are human. Case in point: When critics went bananas after William said he struggled a bit with adjusting to being a parent. He added some sweet observations about George being a "rascal" and having a daughter being a "totally different dynamic," but somehow, people still nailed him -- because (we suppose), they feel that no one in a position of privilege should be allowed to complain. 

    (Eye roll!)

  • Crouching Down To Talk to George


    Though William has been widely praised for using a great parenting trick -- crouching down to talk to a child at eye level -- one person didn't think it was such a good thing: the Queen. When the whole royal family was on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch aircraft flybys during Trooping the Colour, William crouched down to talk to a seemingly tired George. That made the Queen smack him on the shoulder lightly to tell him to get up and start admiring some aircraft -- which he did immediately. 

    Now that's parental power!

  • Saying He'd Be Supportive of a Gay Child

    prince william at gay youth center
    Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images

    When he visited an LGBT youth charity in London, William was asked point-blank if he would support one of his kids if the child turned out to be gay. William promptly said yes, drawing the praise of advocates around the world. But of course, his progressive (for a royal) stance also generated a lot of discussion. 

    Predictably, not all of it was enlightened, especially because William did express concern about "barriers, persecution, and discrimination" that the child would face.

    "Being who he is, he could do more than just be "nervous" about children being gay," one person wrote. "He could teach them to stand up for their rights, fight for what they think is right. What a bad example for people who really face bullying from a less privileged position." 

    Dang -- so much for expressing support.

  • Not Sharing His Umbrella Fast Enough


    Leave it to social media snipers to debate the meaning behind a single picture -- a moment that  represents less than a few seconds of 24 whole hours in a day. When William took the kids with him to deliver food to isolated seniors in their neighborhood recently, it looked like he was the only one under an umbrella and wearing a coat, while George and Charlotte where left out in the rain. Fans and detractors went back and forth about this single shot, with critics berating William for not looking out for his kids. 

    Never mind that kids often refuse to wear coats and sometimes can't walk in a straight line to save their lives. (Bless them!) Nope. People took their shots, and it overshadowed the importance of the act: a father setting an example of service to others.

  • Leaving Two Kids Out of a Picture

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    Happy Father’s Day!

    A post shared by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@kensingtonroyal) on

    It's got to be frustrating being someone whose every move is scrutinized -- even simple Father's Day photos. Last Father's Day, the Kensington Royal Instagram account posted two pictures: one of William swinging Louis on a rope and another of him with Prince Charles. Fans were up in arms, because William didn't post pictures with his other kids -- and had no pictures of Michael Middleton.

    "Seriously, does William not have a pic of him and all three of his children?" asked one disgruntled fan. We're going to go ahead and guess that these people have NEVER called one of their kids by another's name. 

    Take a chill pill!

  • Having a Third Child

    prince william, kate middleton, prince george, princess charlotte, prince louis
    Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images

    Lots of people were happy when William and Kate announced they were having a third child. The countdown to the new baby began immediately, but there were plenty of people who thought that it was self-indulgent and an irresponsible thing to do -- and bad for the planet. In fact, the charity Having Kids wrote William and Kate an open letter before the pregnancy was announced urging them to quit at two kids, because it contributes to global warming. 

    Wow, just, wow.

  • Supposedly Setting an Example of Bad Behavior

    prince william and laura fellowes
    PA Images via Getty Images

    By the time that George turned 2, he had developed a reputation for being "a little monkey," as William called him. He liked to slam doors, turn over guests' purses, and grab things from other kids and adults. And who was at fault -- at least according to the Daily Mail? William. Not exactly for a parenting fail but because (get this), he himself had been a "destructive little prince" when he was little. 

    Now that's reaching.

  • Supposedly Not Learning From Princess Diana's Death

    meghan markle and prince harry and prince william
    Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

    When William bared his soul in an interview early this year -- speaking about how becoming a father unexpectedly brought back memories of Diana's death -- people were touched by his candor. But his interview also came right after Harry and Meghan stepped back as working royals due in part to bullying in the press. There were some who thought William set a bad example for his kids in not speaking up for his brother and sister-in-law when they received the same kind of brutal press coverage that hounded his mom.

    "William has learned nothing from his mother's death, because he did the same thing to his brother and wife!" wrote one commenter on Twitter. "Will he tell his children that he bullied his heavily pregnant black sister in law [Note: Harry and William denied this in a joint statement]? Will they know that he stayed silent when their cousin, Archie, was called a chimpanzee?"

  • Admitting Parenthood Is Very Tiring


    Oops, he did it again. Judging by the fact that Prince William dozed off during a service at Westminster Abbey right after the birth of Louis, we know that William didn't leave all the 3 a.m. feedings and diaper changes to Kate when the kids were babies. Still, he was ridiculed when he welcomed Prince Harry "to the sleep deprivation society" when Archie was born, saying that having three kids was so tiring, that he takes naps whenever he can. 

    Commenters on stories let the mockery fly. "Must be lovely to slumber in a bed ready made by staff, to stare at the ceiling in your recently re-furbished home that the people of this country gave 4.7 million pounds to accomplish," one person wrote


  • Letting George Sit in The Front Seat

    prince william and prince george
    Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

    Uh, oh. What is it about Prince William and car safety kerfuffles?! Maybe he should walk George everywhere so he doesn't get criticized. In 2019, he drove George to Buckingham Palace, and the boy was sitting in the front seat.

    Although that's totally legal in Britain, as long as he's in a booster seat and buckled in, fans from countries where kids must ride in the back were still horrified: "Not in Australia!" tweeted one person, while another chimed in with, "Maybe it's just b/c I am a mom and that America laws may be different...but doesn't it seem really unsafe for Prince George to be riding in the front seat of a car at this age?"

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