Rosie to the Rescue: The Royal Baby Fever
In case you missed it, here is a recent post from “Rosie to the Rescue”, my blog for Parents Magazine. With “royal baby fever” in full swing, I weigh in on some burning questions surrounding the future His or Her Royal Highness (HRH). Don’t miss the rest of the “Rosie to the Rescue” posts, available here.
As the “royal baby fever” heats up, many of us have burning questions about how His or Her Royal Highness (HRH) will be raised, named, fed, clothed, schooled, and introduced to the Windsor and Middleton families—and of course us, the adoring public! So what do we know?
For starters the baby will be born in the Lindo Wing, the private wing of St. Mary’s hospital, which costs roughly 10,000 pounds. There, the royal couple will have access to postpartum and breastfeeding support, among other services. This is the same hospital wing that Prince William and Prince Harry were born in back in the 80′s. Prince Charles managed to sneak his way into the delivery room with Princess Diana, and William will be with Kate during her delivery, too. (The royals have modernized at least in some ways!) What is perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the delivery plans is that Kate is rumored to want both her mother, Carole, and her sister, Pippa, present with her in the delivery room—at least for the first part of labor. Add two esteemed doctors to the mix, and you have quite a crowd. In fact, critics have jested that it reminds them of the old, public, royal births when almost anyone could come by and view!
Proceedings after the birth will follow tradition with a 41 gun salute, a speech given by the Prime Minister in Parliament, and a poetic note displayed at the gates of Buckingham Palace announcing the royal birth. And amidst all the excitement outside, the royal couple will be presented with a comprehensive wine (and Champagne) list in the exclusive hospital wing should they wish to enjoy a toast to celebrate their new arrival!
Perhaps most interesting—and extremely significant in my opinion—is just how much Kate’s relationship with her mother differs from previous mother-daughter relationships in the royal family: The Queen’s parenting style has been notoriously distant, and she’s famous for “trying” to spend an hour a day with her kids; Diana and Fergie’s mothers both bolted from their fathers and took up refuge in far-off lands (the isolated Scottish Isles and Argentina, respectively); and Princess Diana’s tragic death came early in the princes’ lives. Kate, on the other hand, has a seemingly great relationship with her mother and plans to be a present and engaged mother herself. This baby is going to benefit enormously from the—dare I say it—more normal, affectionate, and hands-on parenting style of the Middletons. While this baby will be royal, HRH will be more Middleton in upbringing than Windsor!
In keeping with this close-knit family, a few short days after the birth of baby Albert, George, Charlotte, or Alexandra (all strong name contenders) will be whisked off not to the royal residences, but to the Middletons’ new manor house in the Berkshires (a very affluent country address). For the first six weeks of wee HRH’s life, he or she will be with grandma Carole and grandpa Michael. William and Kate’s snazzy residence at Kensington Palace is 300 years old and still undergoing massive renovations to remove asbestos and get it ready for the new royal family. But despite the renovations, I believe it was a deliberate decision of Kate and William’s to reside with the Middletons’ during the first weeks of the baby’s life, wanting the support that Kate’s family can provide.
Kate’s nursery decorating style will mirror that of her taste in fashion: elegant and classic with a modern twist. We certainly won’t be seeing any blinged-out, diamond-encrusted cribs in the royal nursery! Instead, Kate has invested in a Moses-style basket that will reside beside her bed for the first weeks, as Kate and William plan to have the baby sleep in their room at first. (Perhaps this is a nod to attachment parenting from Kate and William?) While Kate will of course have family help and the support of a staff, I have no doubt that she will be a hands-on mother as much as her position allows.
One of the most speculated aspects of the royal baby is HRH’s hair color. Many are wondering if HRH will have red hair, or be a “ginger” as we call it in England, just like his or her famous uncle! Geneticists have explained that the gene for red hair color is recessive, so the baby would have to receive the recessive gene from both Kate and William in order to be born a ginger—which apparently is a 50:50 chance!
So get your mini Union Jack ready, pour yourself some tea (or, if you prefer, some Pimm’s), and be prepared to be glued to the TV, because D-day is almost here!