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Children try to live life of normalcy without King of Pop

Mon., June 28, 2010

 Michael Jackson's children Paris, left, and Prince Michael Jackson II accept the Lifetime Achievement award on behalf of their father at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in January.  (Associated Press)
Michael Jackson's children Paris, left, and Prince Michael Jackson II accept the Lifetime Achievement award on behalf of their father at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in January. (Associated Press)

They are show business royalty, heirs of the King of Pop. Someday they will be very rich.

But a year after Michael Jackson’s death, Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson are normal kids full of fun and pranks, devoted to each other and to their grandmother who is their guardian, according to a lawyer who sees them frequently.

“The children are seemingly as normal as normal can be under pretty extraordinary circumstances,” says Adam Streisand, who represents Katherine Jackson and often visits the compound where she lives with the children.

They talk about their father, and his presence is everywhere in their ranch-style house in the San Fernando Valley. Pictures and memorabilia adorn the walls.

The gated compound has additional residences where other members of the family have lived over the years.

The large Jackson family, including eight of Michael’s siblings and their families, has been a source of emotional support for the children, who frequently play with their cousins, Streisand says.

In an interview with London’s Daily Mail, Katherine Jackson said she misses her son every day but sees his spirit in his three children, whom she is raising “a little less strict” than her son would have.

Prince, born Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., is the oldest. At 13, he has developed an interest in filmmaking, and his brother, sister and cousins have been starring in their own home movies.

“They have props and sets, and one of them acts as director. They all have roles,” says Streisand.

Katherine Jackson told the Daily Mail that Paris, who has a photo shrine to her father on her wall, wants to be an actress.

Since Michael’s death, the kids have continued home schooling. But in the fall, Prince will go to private school.

“He is ready to branch out and have a more socialized experience,” Streisand says.

Whether his 12-year-old sister, Paris Michael, will join him is undecided, although in the Daily Mail interview Katherine Jackson suggested they all would.

Their uncle, Jackie Jackson, said the children were “very excited about going on vacation” – to Disney World, the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., and other sites where “they can learn as well as have a good time.”

Recently, everyone came together for a party at the family home when two of Jackie’s nephews graduated from high school.

As for Katherine Jackson, who recently turned 80, life has become a whirlwind. She is busy overseeing the children’s activities, but is also involved in the administration of Michael’s estate.

“She is energetic and active. Her health is perfect,” says Streisand. “She has very clear ideas about what she wants and does not want as to estate matters.”

She is also putting out a book, “Never Can Say Goodbye: The Katherine Jackson Archives,” filled with photos of her son.

“I’d like him to be remembered as the loving person he was,” she told the Daily Mail.



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