Now that the newest member of the royal family, whose name hasn’t been revealed as of this writing, has arrived, some readers perhaps not familiar with the family may be wondering how many kids Baby Sussex’s aunt and uncle, Kate Middleton and Prince William, have.
They have three: Prince George, who will almost certainly one day reign as king, failing his early death or abdication; Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
However, the fact that William and Kate have had three kids is something of a story unto itself.
“An Heir And A Spare”
For centuries, it’s been a thing for members of the British aristocracy to make sure they have at least two (male) children: “an heir and a spare,” as the saying goes. The firstborn (the heir) will inherit his father’s titles and, in some cases, take a spot in line to the throne; the second (the spare) is there in case the first doesn’t survive.
By the way, changes in British culture and law have changed so that female heirs are now just as important as males, but that wasn’t always the case.
It is, of course, an uncomfortable truth that many men (and some women) who are “spares” have to grapple with. Prince Harry, for example, has reportedly had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he was born into his brother’s shadow, where he will live for the rest of his life.
— Daily Star (@Daily_Star) May 6, 2019
Many members of the royal family in recent history have been one of only two children born to their parents. Prince William and Prince Harry, for example, fit the textbook definition of “an heir and a spare.” Similarly, Queen Elizabeth was one of only two children, herself and Princess Margaret. All four of Queen Elizabeth’s children also only had two children.
However, there are also exceptions to the rule. Queen Elizabeth, for example, had four children (Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward), not two, as noted in the previous paragraph. Elizabeth’s father, George VI, was one of six children.
And of course, William and Kate, with their three children, are exceptions to the heir-and-a-spare rule. So the fact that William and Kate have three children, instead of just two, is slightly unusual but not shockingly so.
What This Means Moving Forward
Will William and Kate follow the example of William’s grandmother and have four (or even more) children? It’s not outside the realm of possibility; at 37, the Duchess of Cambridge has a few years of childbearing left within her. Although as of this writing, they’ve given no indication as to whether or not they plan on having more.
As for Meghan and Harry, Baby Sussex may be the first of two or more, or may not. At 37, Meghan, like her sister-in-law, has some childbearing years left in her. But at this point, it’s probably best to let the ink dry on Baby Sussex’ birth certificate before speculating on whether or not he’ll someday be joined by a sibling.