Royal Births: A Numbers Game
William and Kate are looking forward to having a second child. But will they stop there or go on to have three or four? And do the royals only have two children each because Prince Philip believes the world is over populated?
By Phil Dampier
He’s already talked about the stresses and strains of being a parent, the nappy changes and the sleepless nights.
But Prince William has made it clear that it’s only a matter of time before he and wife Kate take the plunge and have another baby.
At the Anglesey Show in North Wales recently he dropped the clearest hint yet by saying: “Catherine and I look forward to returning again and again over the coming years with our family.”
All of the Queen and Prince Philip’s offspring – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – have had two children.
Charles and first wife Diana had William and Harry, Prince Andrew and wife Sarah daughters Bea and Eugenie, Princess Anne and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips son Peter and daughter Zara, and Prince Edward and wife Sophie daughter Lady Louise Windsor and son James, Viscount Severn.
Anne’s son Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn have two daughters Savannah and Isla, and daughter Zara is expecting her first.
The Queen was one of two children, her sister Princess Margaret had two children, and her son Viscount Linley and daughter Lady Sarah Chatto have, you’ve guessed it, two children each.
So where has the pressure for this seemingly controlled royal breeding programme come from?
In an interview with the BBC’s Fiona Bruce in 2011 to mark his 90th birthday he said the growing human population was the “biggest problem” adding: “Where we are there’s nothing else.”
Asked if he would favour a mass sterilisation programme, he replied “of course not” but he favoured “voluntary family limitation.”
His views have sparked controversy in the past, and in 1986 he wrote in the forward to a book If I Were an Animal: “I just wonder what it would be like to be reincarnated in an animal whose species had been so reduced in numbers that it was in danger of extinction.
“What would be its feelings toward the human species whose population explosion had denied it somewhere to exist… I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus.”
Ashley Walton, co-author of Prince Philip: Wise Words and Golden Gaffes, said: “Although he has spent much of his life walking a few paces behind the Queen, Philip wears the trousers in the private family.
“He will never have told any of his children or grandchildren that they are virtually banned from having more than two kids, but he would certainly have made his views known and strongly encouraged it.”
In the carefree days before the abdication crisis, the Queen and sister Princess Margaret grew up in a family which her father touchingly referred to as “us four.”
But why did she and Philip himself, the great ‘Malthus’ of the monarchy, have four children?
“It was a different era” said Lady Colin Campbell, best-selling author of The Royal Marriages.
“When the Queen first came to the throne she was so busy that she saw little of her first two children Charles and Anne.
If William and Kate only have one more child let’s hope it’s a girl, as William has said he would like a daughter.
Sadly, his parents’ marriage started to disintegrate in 1984 when younger brother Harry was born.
In his blockbuster book Diana Her True Story, which blew the lid off the state of Charles and Diana’s marriage, Andrew Morton revealed Diana’s feelings.
“Charles always wanted a girl. He wanted two children and he wanted a girl.
“Harry arrived and his first comment was: ‘Oh God, it’s a boy.’ From that moment something inside died.”