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The Truth About Why Prince Louis Has Been Out of the Spotlight


Prince Louis, 1 Year Portrait

Between all the excitement surrounding the impending arrival of his little cousin and the chatter about Mom and Dad fighting with Uncle Harry and Aunt Meghan, you don't hear all that much about Prince Louis these days.

Which is mostly a good thing for England's tiniest prince.

While older siblings Prince George and Princess Charlotte spent a decent, if still limited, amount of their first year of life in the spotlight between official tours to Australia (George) and family holidays in the French Alps, plus portraits to mark Gan-Gan Queen Elizabeth II's milestone 90th birthday (Charlotte), royal watchers have only been able to lay eyes on little Louis a handful of times since his birth. He posed with sister Charlotte for photos marking her third birthday last May, attended his own christening two months later and appeared in pictures celebrating grandfather Prince Charles' in his 70th birthday and the family Christmas card.

And, of course, as fans eagerly anticipated, there were new photos to mark his first birthday today, because that's how Prince William and Kate Middleton have chosen to roll. The 37-year-old duchess wisely established a quid pro quo with the media years back: Her title-bearing offspring will gamely pose up for bigger events (think: Trooping the Colour) and release holiday and birthday portraits—often captured with Mom's trusty Canon camera—and in exchange mainstream press outlets won't publish unauthorized photos of the family.

The implicit understanding helps the Cambridges strike the ever-so-delicate balance they hope to achieve while bringing up their pint-sized heirs. They'll give royal watchers what they want—oh-so-cute pictures of England's 5-year-old future king and his younger siblings—thus maintaining interest in the monarchy, while still giving their kids a semblance of a regular childhood.

"William and Kate very much prioritize bringing up the children in as normal an environment as possible over anything else," a royal insider told Us Weekly. "They haven't lost sight of that."

Their strategy was initially questioned by those that had grown used to having unlimited access to every member of The Firm.

Just ahead of Charlotte's 2015 arrival, CNN's royals commentator Victoria Arbiter, daughter to the Queen's former press secretary Dickie Arbiter, questioned how long the married pair could continue keeping not quite 2-year-old George out of sight. "The biggest surprise, really, even though William and Kate are so private, is that he has been seen in public so rarely," she told E! News. "I know it seems daft, he is 21 months old. You don't want to take him to engagements and such just yet. But I think there is going to be a point where the British public are going to say, 'Hang on a minute, why aren't we seeing George?'"

The concern, she continued, was that the public might tire of the whole thing. "It is very sensible to keep George out of the spotlight for as long as possible, but you also are walking a tricky road—because the minute the British public becomes disinterested, that's when you start the slippery slope," she opined. "Because if they are not relevant anymore and people are not interested, then what is the point?"

Which, that may have been precisely the point. While William and Kate are well aware people will never stop being interested in sightings of their adorably polished heirs, they'd like to spare them the scrutiny and judgment that's been foisted upon their older relatives.

And, if anything, they've trended toward going even more private this go round. William and Kate opted not to bring Louis out for Christmas services in Sandringham and he was a no-show at both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's vows and Princess Eugenie's October wedding to Jack Brooksbank. Reports suggested the parents didn't want to pull focus from either bride and groom on their most important of days—"Absolutely nothing must detract from the focus on the happy couple and [that] would," royal commentator and public relations pro Richard Fitzwilliams told UK's the Express—but presumably not having to entertain a wriggly baby during a lengthy church service was also a draw.
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