Those following the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Warsaw last week may have observed the Duchess playfully suggesting that they should try for a third child, in response to the number of gifts they had received for Prince George and Princess Charlotte from dignitaries and well-wishers. While the sentiment was most probably lighthearted, it seems that one organisation is a little alarmed at the prospect.
Having Kids, a San Francisco based non-profit organisation that promotes smaller families in the belief they are more environmentally and economically sustainable, have made the effort to reach out to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in an open letter to urge them to reconsider any plans for expanding their family.
Citing concerns with regards to the effects an increasing population is having on the environment, Having Kids Executive Director Anne Green and the organisation’s President Carter Dillard implored the Cambridges to set an example to Britain, and the rest of the world, by consciously limiting the number of children they have. In particular, their open letter highlighted that studies have shown a link between high population growth and man-made climate change, and have pointed out that Britain in particular is most at risk from extreme weather, rising sea levels, and more severe flooding.
They also expressed their philosophy of family planning being something that benefits every family, as the resources that would have been taken up by a third child are now freed up for other families and their children. Calling this the Fair Start model, Having Kids believes this creates a fairer and more prosperous society overall.
As of yet, no response from the Duke and Duchess has emerged.
The Royal Family has a long history of being public role models, a trend that was first established by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who together set the trend for Victorian middle-class families up until the Edwardian era. Largely a way of distinguishing Queen Victoria from the hedonistic and scandalous antics of her predecessor, King George IV, it helped establish a more sober and moralistic attitude for British public and family life. This influence continues to this day, although to a lesser degree. Typically the Cambridges’ tends to be limited more to fashion than behaviour, with clothes seen worn by the Duchess and her children quickly enjoying spikes in sales, a phenomenon called “the Cambridge effect.”
Responses from the public to the open letter have been mixed. One follower on Facebook decried the letter as “the most ridiculous thing [they] had ever read,” and commented that Having Kids has no right to tell people how many children they can or cannot have.
Already possessed of an heir and a spare, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge can probably concede that they have done their duty with regards to continuing the House of Windsor line, and as such no longer have any pressure on them for further children. Whether or not they choose to gift Prince George and Princess Charlotte with an additional sibling is ultimately up to them, and it remains to be seen whether Having Kids has had any impact on their plans for any further pitter-pattering of tiny royal feet.