‘Tis the season for families to send Christmas greetings, and the British royals are no exception. The Kensington Palace Twitter account released the Christmas photos of the various branches of the royal family, and as The Telegraph explains, the difference between Will and Kate’s and Harry and Meghan’s photos is rather striking:
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have released a glamorous black and white image showing them in a private moment at their wedding reception.
With their arms around one another, they are shot from behind as they watch the spectacular fireworks over Frogmore House, Windsor.”
Will and Kate’s, on the other hand, is rather homey and down to earth, showing the family dressed in casual jeans and sweaters matching the relaxed country atmosphere surrounding them.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and after viewing these two photos, I have to agree.
Harry and Meghan’s Christmas card has the glamour befitting their allegedly fairy-tale romance: a commoner – likely disillusioned with romance because of an unhappy divorce – meets a prince and they get married to great pomp and fanfare, living happily ever after. Still in the honeymoon stage of their relationship, it’s to be expected that they would choose a dreamy, romantic shot for their Christmas card.
But Will and Kate’s is another story. They’re seven years into their marriage and corralling a growing family. In spite of their smiling faces, a hint of tiredness sneaks out through their eyes. They’re not snuggled close to one another like Harry and Meghan, for smiling Charlotte comes between them. They’re not holding hands, for Kate’s arms are full with a roly-poly baby and Will’s arm firmly grips his daughter, seeking to prevent a fall. He probably has a strong inclination to grab George with the other one, who is viewing the photo session as a prime time to exhibit his talents as a little monkey. In other words, nothing signals “married with children” more than the Cambridges' Christmas photo does.
But that, I believe, is where the beauty of this picture lies. It shows what marriage truly is.
Is it tiring? Yes.
Does it involve crazy, energetic children? Absolutely.
Does the grind of daily life often crowd out the warm, fuzzy, romantic feelings that were present during the courtship and honeymoon period of a couple’s relationship? Undoubtedly.
But do all those things squelch true family love and happiness? Nope. And it is that wholesome joy and happiness and delight of hanging out together that outshines any tiredness present in the Cambridges' family photo.
It’s a valuable message for today’s young people, many of whom aren’t getting married. They’re scared of the unknown and frightened by the responsibilities marriage brings. If they do take the plunge and say the vows, many put the idea of children on hold, knowing that they wreck careers, make for sleepless nights, and put a strain on a couple’s relationship.
But while they may avoid the hardships, are they also missing out on the joys? Is it time we let young people know that marriage isn’t all love and starry eyes, but that the joy and happiness faithful commitment and sacrifice bring are a much more satisfying and lasting outcome?
[Image Credit: Kensington Palace Twitter]
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.