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Prince Louis: charming or brat?

The littlest prince has shown the world that the terrible twos have nothing on the frightful fours

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Britain’s Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Louis, his mother Kate Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte.

Britain’s Prince Charles, left, with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Louis her great-grandson, covering his ears with his hands, next to his mother Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and Princess Charlotte, her daughter, at right, stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, June 2, 2022, on the first of four days of celebrations to mark the Platinum Jubilee. The events celebrated the monarch’s 70 years of service.

Alastair Grant, Associated Press

Who knows how long he’d sat there patiently, enduring unspeakable boredom in uncomfortable clothes? But there comes a point when a 4-year-old can take no more.

And so His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge let his unhappiness be known by thumbing his nose, putting his hand over his mother’s mouth, shaking his head, sticking his tongue out and exhibiting all manner of beastly behavior that parents the world over know all too well.

He’d had enough of the festivities celebrating his great-grandmother’s 70 years as queen of England, particularly the latest indignity, a pageant that was apparently as excruciating as the earlier Red Arrows flyover.

Kate Middleton, we feel you — especially since your husband, Prince William, was largely insulated from this drama, separated by Louis’s older and better behaved siblings.

It fell to the Duchess of Cambridge to do the gritty work of parenting their 4-year-old, first gently removing the child’s thumb from his mouth while whispering something to him. Then the wild rumpus started, with Prince Louis demonstrating that, despite their reputation, the terrible twos have nothing on the frightful fours.

For her part, the Duchess of Cambridge was calm, patient and as dignified as one can be when being shushed by a 4-year-old in front of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other world leaders. She’s already the second most popular royal family member — behind only the queen herself — according to a recent Ipsos survey. It’s unclear how she will poll after this.

To watch only clips of the child’s worst behavior, one might conclude that he’s in need of some severe parental intervention, maybe a visit from parenting guru John Rosemond. Rosemond says that children that age are “antisocial behavior factories” whose impulsive misbehavior requires a firm response from parents and caregivers.

But some of Louis’ behavior that went viral was simply the exuberance of childhood being suppressed by his forced inclusion in strange and stuffy adult rituals. Really, if there are no frogs or mud involved, how exciting can a ceremony be?

And who among us, of any age, hasn’t felt the desire to make similar gestures during an unnecessarily long Zoom meeting?

William and Kate are apparently aware of the attention their youngest child garnered, posting on Instagram Monday, “We all had an incredible time, especially Louis,” followed by a wide-eyed emoji.

The responses showed widespread approval of how the duchess handled her very public parenting challenge, with one person writing, “Thank you for including him and allowing him to be a child! You’re doing a wonderful job as parents!”

Not everyone thinks that, though. Some are saying the littlest prince is a brat and that his mother should have done more to control him. One person asked, “At what point do we go from ‘Wow, what a relatable toddler moment’ to ‘Wow, you have no control over your children’?”

And many others speculated that Meghan Markle, the wife of Prince Harry, would not have been given a pass if her child had been behaving like that.

Regardless of whether you think Prince Louis’ behavior was adorable or atrocious, let’s be glad that, as fifth in line to the throne, he probably won’t ever be king.