Prince William has opened up about the conversations he and Kate Middleton have about “supporting” their children if they tell them they are LGBTQ+.
We all know the power of the Fab Four effect. No, not that Fab Four. I’m talking about Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, Prince William and Prince Harry.
Over 8.7 million people in the UK tuned in to watch the wedding of Meghan and Harry, who then broke Instagram records by gaining over 1 million followers on the Sussex account in five hours and 45 minutes. And not a day goes by without photos of Kate and William – our future King and Queen - splashed across the papers.
Whether you’re a royal fan or not, their prevalence and influence in our society is undeniable. This helps to explain why pretty much any product chosen by Meghan and Kate is an instant sell out. It also means that, when they speak out about an issue, their voices reach a wide audience that is ready to consider what’s being said.
Take mental health, for instance, which the Cambridges and Sussexes have spent the last few years openly talking about in order to break the societal stigma around it. And then there’s the time when Meghan handed out bananas with supportive messages written on them to sex workers, reiterating that they are “strong” and “loved”.
So, when William said he would “fully support” his children being LGBTQ+ while chatting to someone during engagement on Wednesday (26 June), his words were actually pretty meaningful to the community.
Speaking with young people at LGBTQ+ charity Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) in London, he was asked: “If your child one day in the future said, ‘Oh I’m gay, oh I’m lesbian,’ whatever, how would you react?”
William, who is a father-of- three to George, Charlotte and Louis, responded: “I think you don’t really start thinking about that until you are a parent, and I think – obviously, absolutely fine by me.”
He then acknowledged the homophobia still faced today, continuing: “The one thing I’d be worried about is how, particularly the roles my children fill, how that is going to be interpreted and seen. So Catherine and I have been doing a lot of talking about it to make sure they were prepared.”
He added: “It worries me not because of them being gay; it worries me how everyone else will react and perceive it and the pressure is then on them.”
While chatting with another person at the charity, he continued the conversation, saying: “I fully support whatever decision they make, but it does worry me from a parent point of view how many barriers, hateful words, persecution and discrimination that might come.
“That’s the bit that really troubles me a little bit. That’s for all of us to try and help correct, to put that in the past and not come back to that sort of stuff.”
His words come at a crucial time. Although we are celebrating Pride month and sharing queer voices more than ever before, recent news proves just how ingrained homophobia remains in society. A recent study showed that the number of reported offences against gay and lesbian people has doubled since 2014. And earlier this month, two LGBTQ+ women were viciously attacked by straight, white men on a London bus because they wouldn’t kiss each other at their demand. Celebrities are not immune, either, as Ciara was recently trolled for taking part in Taylor Swift’s Pride-themed You Need To Calm Down Video.
So - knowing the global influence that the royals have - the fact that they are having open, positive discussions with their children about supporting the LGBTQ+ community will surely help drive more much needed conversations. And, perhaps even more importantly, acknowledging and addressing the very real concerns over homophobia indicates that they are sincere in saying that they want to tackle the issue.