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Old 04-18-2008, 04:34 PM
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Former Nanny Criticizes Princess Astrid's Parenting Skills - Apr. 2008

Els Vandewijngaerden was a nanny for a year with Princess Astrids family. in 1995 she was hired as Princess Astrid needed a second nanny after the birth of Princess Luise-Maria. The former nanny was interviewed by newspapers 'Het Niewsblad' and 'Het Volk' and claimed that the princess didn't have time for her children and that she lacks a sense of motherhood.

The palace issued a statement to Belga press agency saying that Princess Astrid tries to combine her motherhood with her other responsibilities as good as possible. They say that this is a problem for many women these days and they say that the Princess tries to raise her children well but that she has to combine it with her other responsibilities for the royal family. The palace also called the attack 'unfair'.

Article of Het Laatste Nieuws in Dutch here.
article of De Standaard in Dutch here.
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Old 04-18-2008, 04:52 PM
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Geez, lots of disgrunteled (sp?) nannies in the world today!!!
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Old 04-18-2008, 04:56 PM
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I found the original article in newspaper Het Volk, take a look here if you can read Dutch.

Some things the nanny said:

- we (she and the other nanny) slept in the villa, they basically replaced the father and the mother

- When Luisa-Maria was only 10 days (!) old Princess Astrid had to go to the USA for an official activity and the baby was left in our care. It was really the idea that we raised the children,. Astrid was use to it but I had trouble understanding it, a baby's first 'fruithapje' (basically eating for the first time). the first steps... for me that is something special.

- Louisa-Maria knew her nanny better than her own mother. It often happened that LM started crying when Pricness Astrid took her. Astrid then quickly gave her back. When the children had a nightmare they would come to our door, Astrid wouldn't have appreciated it if the would have cried at their door.

- Astrid thought she was close to her children. She found it normal, but compared to an avarage mother she wasn't involved very much with her children. Astrid hadn't learnt it at home of course, when she was a child it was much worse. Her relation with her mother is not a normal mother-daughter relationship. If you compare it to that, Astrid is closer to her children indeed. But you could notice that the children missed their mother, they kept a teddybear in their bed for an exceptionally long time for example.

- Astrid sometimes promissed her children to give a kiss before they went to sleep. The children really looked forward to that, but she took hourbefore she appeared upstairs, so the children would already be asleep. Especially Prince Joachim tried to stay awake to get a kiss from his mother. The next day we would have a very tired child while the princess actually thought she was a good mother because she came to give the kiss.

- Princess Mathilde and Prince Phillipe raise their children in a different way, they have nannies too but they are much more involved with their children. The nanny thinks this is because Mathilde comes from a normal, warm family.

- The nanny admits that it is difficult to raise the children in a normal way, as everywhere they go they are followed by bodyguards. To ballet lessons, at school, at tennislesons etc.

- The nanny asked the princess after a year to look for another nanny, but she did come over to babysit every now and then. 'These children are in my heart'.
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Old 04-18-2008, 05:28 PM
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La princesse Astrid dément être une mauvaise mère

RTL Info -- La princesse Astrid dément être une mauvaise mère

Summary :
Princess Astrid denies all accusations of the 36-year-old nanny, Els Vandewijngaerden. The Palace declared that Princess Astrid tries the best she can to conceal her activities and the education of her children. The nanny had reproached Astrid of not spending time with her children and a lack of maternal instinct. Invited to Belga Agency, the Princess qualified the accusations of "unfair".
"Concealing motherhood and professional and official activities isn't easy for numerous women. Princess Astrid is doing all she can to educate her children and be at their side, without neglecting her obligations as member of the Royal Family." conclude the Palace.
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Old 04-18-2008, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by sesa View Post
Geez, lots of disgrunteled (sp?) nannies in the world today!!!
That's the first thing that came to my mind too! Maybe she was sacked and has an axe to grind!

Let's wait and see how the Princess's children turn out before we start accusing her of being a lousy parent....time will truly tell!
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Old 04-18-2008, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
I found the original article in newspaper Het Volk, take a look here if you can read Dutch.

Some things the nanny said:

- we (she and the other nanny) slept in the villa, they basically replaced the father and the mother

- When Luisa-Maria was only 10 days (!) old Princess Astrid had to go to the USA for an official activity and the baby was left in our care. It was really the idea that we raised the children,. Astrid was use to it but I had trouble understanding it, a baby's first 'fruithapje' (basically eating for the first time). the first steps... for me that is something special.

- Louisa-Maria knew her nanny better than her own mother. It often happened that LM started crying when Pricness Astrid took her. Astrid then quickly gave her back. When the children had a nightmare they would come to our door, Astrid wouldn't have appreciated it if the would have cried at their door.

- Astrid thought she was close to her children. She found it normal, but compared to an avarage mother she wasn't involved very much with her children. Astrid hadn't learnt it at home of course, when she was a child it was much worse. Her relation with her mother is not a normal mother-daughter relationship. If you compare it to that, Astrid is closer to her children indeed. But you could notice that the children missed their mother, they kept a teddybear in their bed for an exceptionally long time for example.

- Astrid sometimes promissed her children to give a kiss before they went to sleep. The children really looked forward to that, but she took hourbefore she appeared upstairs, so the children would already be asleep. Especially Prince Joachim tried to stay awake to get a kiss from his mother. The next day we would have a very tired child while the princess actually thought she was a good mother because she came to give the kiss.

- Princess Mathilde and Prince Phillipe raise their children in a different way, they have nannies too but they are much more involved with their children. The nanny thinks this is because Mathilde comes from a normal, warm family.

- The nanny admits that it is difficult to raise the children in a normal way, as everywhere they go they are followed by bodyguards. To ballet lessons, at school, at tennislesons etc.

- The nanny asked the princess after a year to look for another nanny, but she did come over to babysit every now and then. 'These children are in my heart'.

This article sounds so unfair to the Princess on so many levels I hardly know where to begin....first of all she is not a "normal" mother she is a member of a Royal house with responsibilities that include raising children. Sure....it's a little unusual to go abroad when one's infant is only ten days old but was the King or someone else insisting that she go....was it a commitment that would have been difficult for her to get out of?

I hardly think it's being a bad parent because you delivered a good night kiss to your child after he had already fallen asleep. Perhaps it couldn't be helped...maybe she was out late? As long as she made up for it by spending as much time with them when she could.

Considering the fact that Princess Astrid and her siblings did indeed experience strife in their home growing up they all seem to be doing decent jobs as parents...Neither Prince Amadeo nor the young Princesses are photographed falling out of cars stoned, cursing paparazzi or getting into the kind of mischief Prince Laurent was notorious for in his youth.

I think some of these nannies judge famous or celebrity mothers by standards that are simply unrealistic. One of Jackie Kennedy's nannies complained that she was a less than ideal mother because she was in Greece with her new husband Onassis during the school year and she would call the children on the phone rather than be in New York with them. Please! Was she to yank the kids out of their schools and relocate them Greece and an unfamiliar culture and language?

I still say it is too early to tell whether Princess Astrid did a good job with her children or not.

Thanks Marengo for taking the time to provide a great translation.
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Old 04-18-2008, 06:03 PM
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Geez, lots of disgrunteled (sp?) nannies in the world today!!!
there should be an agency that employs nannies with previous experience and Patience to deal with these kinds of families and their children.
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Old 04-18-2008, 06:17 PM
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there should be an agency that employs nannies with previous experience and Patience to deal with these kinds of families and their children.
I agree, but I thought there was such an agency? At least in Britain. I remember in the 1980's reading about a feud between the late Princess of Wales and Princess Michael of Kent over nannies, with each accusing the other of poaching their nannies and other servants. It seems among the British aristos it's quite insular, they pass the help from one noble family to another. And discretion is the rule of the day for the most part, with some rare exceptions.
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:05 AM
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astrid is not a normal mother...she's a ruling monarch's daughter and has certain obligations which she can't deter from no matter what. whoever that nanny is has to take this into consideratioon. also whatever said and done i think her children have grown up amazingly.....considering that according to what this woman has said that their parents are are rarely around. lets take prince amadeo into consideration and compare him to princes like william, harry or even the casiraghi brothers. i've really never seen any instance of him dropping out stone drunk from any clubs or punching photographers....on the other hand instances like these are very common with the others...amadeo and his sister maria laura look like grounded individuals and we also know that amedeo is academically gifted...LSE is a tough institution to get into....i think all that speaks for itself that the children have had a good upbringing.

also i would like to mention that i myself had a nanny while growing up...my mother had no choice because of my father's job they had hectic social lives and she was out most of the time but that didn't mean she didn't care for us...she herself stated that she felt guilty leaving us in the care of someone else for so long
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:57 AM
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1. That nanny is biting the hand that feeds her, as the saying goes. I hope she doesn't expect to continue her career as a nanny because I can't imagine anyone wanting to hire someone who could potentially reveal family details laced with criticisms in the press.

2. The whole point of hiring the nanny is because the mother has too much other stuff going on and needs help! So who is the nanny to essentially criticize the existance of her job and her responsibilities?

It sounds like Princess Astrid and the nanny were raised two different ways, and who is the nanny to criticize what she doesn't know (ie what it's like to be raised in a royal household)?
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:47 AM
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Well, I highly doubt that a woman would start about this 12 years after she changed jobs. So I don't think spite is the reason for her to bring this all up.
And she does appaer to have a good idea that rasing children in the palace is very different. She did say that the way Astrid raised hers was already much warmer than how Paola and Albert raised theirs (IMO they were probably the most detached royal parents around, possible along with QEII). The nany said that Astrid probably never learnt what motherhood was at home.
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:46 AM
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She's coming forward with this stuff 12 years after the fact? Tsk tsk tsk!
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Old 04-20-2008, 03:03 AM
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personally i think she's just looking for her own 15 minutes of fame....and didn't she think what kind of impact this would have on the princess' children? you'd think if she really loved them so much she would have considered that....
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Old 04-20-2008, 04:25 AM
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What would 15minutes or a year of fame do to you? I wonder if such people put themsleves in the person their talking abouts place for a second, how would they like it?
I think its very unfair not only to the princess but to the children as well. I dont expect a princess to have a normal life or play a 100% mother role to the children since the princess (mother) does alot of travelling, meetings. A nanny is not to take over the mothers role but to look after the child/ren when the parent/s are not around. I am pretty sure Princess Astrid knows about motherhood and loves her children very much or she wouldnt have 4/5? children and having them with nannies.
From a few articles or varioues claims, people wil alsways tend to add salt to the story to make it more interesting.
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Old 04-20-2008, 07:17 AM
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Princess Astrid defends herself
http://www.nieuwsblad.be/Article/Det...MF18042008_101
(article in dutch)

The Palace has reacted, on behalf of Princess Astrid. According the Palace the Princess tries to give her children an upbringing as good as possible, combined with her other activities. "The Princess sees this as an unfair attack on the way in which she fulfills her role as a mother of five children".
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Old 04-20-2008, 07:43 AM
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could you please translate the article for us?
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Old 04-20-2008, 08:04 AM
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I don't think that the nanny wants her 15 minutes of fame or that she is bter, she doesn't come across as a bitter woman in the article IMO. Just somewhat amazed by the way Princess Astrid is parenting, thats all.

And the information is not that shocking either,. we all knew that Astrid and her siblings had very detached parents in their childhood, we know she has nannies and such, and that all this caused a different approach to motherhood is only to be expected.
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Old 04-20-2008, 11:48 AM
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but she really didn't have to go and blab the whole thing to the press and let the whole world know.....if i were in the place of the princess i woud have felt that my had been privacy violated and my trust breeched
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:55 PM
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Nanny apologises for critics
http://www.nieuwsblad.be/Article/Det...MF20042008_037
(article in Dutch)

Have no time to translate both the article maybe someone else?
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Old 04-20-2008, 01:16 PM
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Pss Astrid had to feel hurt by ex nanny comments if she publicly defended herself, most mothers would feel the same way. This nanny was employed just one year? maybe she is just ex employee who got fired? I'm not going traeat seriously blabbing of someone who has zoro loyalty to former employer and intergrity. Oh, nanny is sorry now for her critics, she wanted fame but got the opposite, I guess.
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