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On Sunday, Kate took the children — George, 4 and Princess Charlotte, 3 — to watch dad Prince William play polo at the Beaufort Polo Club in a match to raise funds for cancer and people who are homeless. (Although George’s cousin Savannah Phillips joined the family on the field, 6-week-old son Prince Louis was not present.)
Kate, wearing a $70 blue-and-white, off-the-shoulder dress from Zara with nude wedges, looked happy while her children played on the grass, chasing each other and jumping. However, images of young George wielding a toy gun (and a toy knife) spoiled the mood online. Many balked at the toys, given Britain’s knife- and gun-related violence, which is “rising at an accelerating pace,” according to the U.K. Guardian.
Prince George plays with a toy gun. His sister plays with her sunglasses. Nothing stereotypical about that is there …?
More pics from the charity polo match here https://t.co/bkvEIUcKFV pic.twitter.com/XC88DuqjOG
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) June 10, 2018
This isn’t okay anymore… My American side here, biased maybe b/c of everyday #gunviolence in USA,but my British side agrees. No child in this day and age should look at any gun as a fun toy. This looks far too real. .(And I LOVE Prince George, don’t get me wrong!) @teamtrace pic.twitter.com/UEqtFi5WTH
— Daisy Torme (@daisytorme) June 10, 2018
Completely tone deaf of Kate Middling to give Prince George a toy gun. Doesn’t she read the papers in her own country with all the gun deaths? If the Duchess of Sussex had done this, she would be excoriated in the media! Lucky George isn’t black or police would have shot him.
— Amy Wyatt ❄️ (@Lewisno1fan) June 11, 2018
Sad to see George playing with a gun when the whole country has a gun/knife crime situation. Maybe in training for killing wild life in later years. Thought he was a sensitive child. Better if he was seen playing with a toy car or football. Sadly the royals will never change.
— Adrina M Price (@SingingDri) June 10, 2018
Still, plenty of others supported the boy’s choice of toy.
Its a child playing with a water pistol for goodness sake and can in no way be compared to the wholesale slaughter that goes on in the USA under their right to bear arms tosh.
— Jan Dempsey (@JanDemps) June 11, 2018
“People offended after seeing Prince George playing with a toy gun?!” was you never a child?? You seriously need to get a life! when I was a child boys imitated the A-team or Arnold Schwarzenegger, role play stimulates imagination and improves intelligence!!
— Sofia (@Miss_SofiaO) June 11, 2018
Guns play a large role in the British tradition, particularly Royal Gun Salutes, which are considered a “sign of respect” at various functions, such as the birthdays of the Queen, George, and Charlotte, according to the official website of the monarchy.
As a child, Prince Harry also played with a toy gun, and both he and William enjoy hunting. In 2016, William told ITV News, “There is a place for commercial hunting in Africa as there is ’round the world. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the arguments for regulated, properly controlled commercial hunting is that the money that goes from shooting a very old infirm animal goes back into the protection of the other species…”
“The Royals have either served in the armed forces or are married to someone who has served,” royal expert Kelly Lynch, managing editor of Dailybreak, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “They’ve learned to respect firearms as deadly weapons, and hopefully teach their children about gun safety from a young age.”
The choice to allow children to play with toy guns is “intensely personal,” says Deborah Gilboa, MD, a parenting and youth development expert. But the royals are under pressure to avoid controversial parenting methods.
“In this context — a public event that invites the public to participate — it’s risky to allow a toy gun, because many people look to the family for compassion and leadership,” Gilboa tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s not the best toy to throw into the diaper bag.”
She adds, “Any family in the public eye has an obligation to consider how their actions affect the country, and the topic of guns is too fraught and charged to ignore.”
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