How Princess Charlotte is modernising the idea of being a ‘spare to support the heir’

The dynamic between Princess Charlotte and older brother Prince George shows the Princess' important role

Princess Charlotte
(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images/Future)

Princess Charlotte has been regularly spotted correcting and prompting her brother, Prince George, when he forgets royal protocol, showing just how important siblings are to future monarchs.

Kate Middleton and Prince William's three young children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis always give royal fans plenty to gush over. From throwing tantrums on the tarmac to pulling faces for the paparazzi, the youngsters certainly know how to have some fun while sticking to royal protocol. 

Princess Charlotte is especially clued up on the 'cans' and 'can-nots' of royal life, and has regularly been spotted reminding her older brother of the rules he must follow. During a poignant scene at the Queen's funeral, eagle-eyed royal fans spotted the young Princess whispering to Prince George, reminding him to 'take a bow.'

As was often said about Princess Charlotte's uncle, Prince Harry, Charlotte is often referred to as a 'spare', meaning that her role is to become the Queen if Prince George is unable to take the throne.

Speaking to Woman and Home, royal expert, Katie Nicholl, author of The New Royals which is available on Amazon, commented on the historic idea of 'the spare heir' and how Princess Charlotte is changing its meaning.

Princess Charlotte and Prince George

(Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

She said, "People think it's very disparaging to have this idea of the spare, and it is a historic concept. We've always had to have a spare to support the heir, but I think people should think about it perhaps in a more modern context."

"I think you're seeing a support act here. I think in the same way that Charles has always been very heavily supported by his sister Princess Anne, we're now seeing even from an early age in his life, Prince George is supported by Princess Charlotte."

Nicholl believes that the support of a sibling relationship is vital for royals, especially at the young age Prince George and Prince Charlotte find themselves. She explained the dynamic that the young royals have developed, saying, "There's a wonderful dynamic there, and you know, they were together at the service of thanksgiving for Prince Philip, they've sort of stepped into some high-profile roles when it came to Prince George carrying out his first official engagement, which was to Cardiff over the Jubilee weekend.

"Will and Kate decided to include Charlotte on that, so in the same way that William always had his wingman in Harry, I think it's rather wonderful that that is being echoed here with George and Charlotte. You're going to see, I think, real teamwork at play here."

Princess Charlotte

(Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Not forgetting about Kate and William's youngest child, Prince Louis, Nicholl is interested to see how he finds and solidifies his place in the Wales family. She explained, "Louis' role is going to be interesting. I was told that the Wales' really looked to the Wessexes, Edward and Sophie, and how they're raising their children as something of a template because they are royal children and they have titles but they live remarkably ordinary lives."

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Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.