It’s a sobering experience to be in mental synch with the baying pack that is the UK tabloids, especially over the blessed event of the birth of a royal baby – Princess Diana’s grandchild no less.
But thus it has come to pass, thanks to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to keep their baby to themselves and amid reports (sparked by their Instagram nod to ‘Baby Sussex’) the birth has already happened.
The Sussexes’ insistence on privacy has seen an initial murmuring of surprise turn into rumblings of discontent and now outright howls of disapproval in England.
Britain’s top-selling tabloid The Sun reprimanded the couple for infringing on “our royal rights”.
“I photographed Harry when he came out in Diana’s arms, and I would like to have photographed him when he came out with his own baby,” the newspaper’s veteran royal snapper Arthur Edwards told The New York Times.
“It’s a joyful occasion.”
I’ll raise a gin to that. Since Meghan confirmed her pregnancy, royals fans have looked forward to the hospital vigil, the drunk-on-joy monarchists and a glimpse of the top tuft of the baby’s hair.
Most of all, we (I include myself in their number, seduced early by Diana’s fringe and not quite rightness) have been looking forward to the birth less for the baby, more because it will mean seeing Harry happier than he’s ever been.
Forget the obsessed smiles he had for his bride at their wedding. Having a baby pushes every other sort of love into the shadows.
It’s indescribable, that mix of adulation and disbelief and fear, and we longed to watch Harry emerge brilliantly dazed from his wife’s bedside with a new perspective on life and death.
The couple’s promised reveal of the baby when they’ve had time to “celebrate privately” robs us of being part of that wild happiness.
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Just one week ago, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex asked that you kindly consider supporting various organisations around the world in lieu of sending gifts for the upcoming arrival of their first born. Not only did many of you lend your support, you took action. Their Royal Highnesses wanted you to know the impact of your support – the direct effect your donation, energy, and action made! YOU chose to be part of the collective good, and you have made a real difference. Whether a $5 donation, £1000 contribution, offering to volunteer, or spreading the word – you’ve played your part. And on behalf of The Duke and Duchess (and Baby Sussex), we thank you so much. YOUR IMPACT: @thelunchboxfund will now be able to provide a minimum of 100,000 additional hot nutritionally fortified meals to children in dire need across South Africa @littlevillagehq received donations from all over the world (from UAE to Hong Kong and the US), they’ve increased their monthly donors, had a surge in volunteer applications, and re-energized their hard working team of 200+ staff and volunteers @wellchild can now provide 300+ additional hours of specialist care by a Well Child Nurse for a child with serious health needs, allowing families to stay together at home vs in hospital @Baby2Baby have received over 5,000 products to disperse to children in need, including cribs, books, backpacks, diapers and have received monetary donations from around the globe – from Guadalajara to Italy. You made this happen. Thank you.
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Edited from hundreds of discards, the stage-managed eventual snap will probably debut on the couple’s Instagram account. It will be beautiful and tasteful.
Big deal. It will also lack authenticity and that slightly manic candidness that makes all couples’ post-birth photos so fabulous.
Emotion aside, Harry is a royal prince whose lifestyle of polo ponies and excellent real estate has been funded by the public purse.
His wife, who in a former life embraced self-promotion (oh, you’ve caught me doing yoga) and in her new incarnation is Her Royal Highness, has seemed delighted with her new monograms and many millions.
At its heart, the royals sharing important bits of their private lives with the public is a commercial transaction. And Brits want some bang for their buck.
Their argument? The public has a right to know about the lives of those largely funded by their taxes. Harry and Meghan can roll with that or be private citizens. Not the blatant hypocrisy of both.
There’s no doubt the birth of a child is a really personal, life-altering event, but a royal baby is “a totem of national celebration, a beacon of British joy,” wrote UK columnist Jan Moir.
“What is the point of royals unless we can celebrate their baby royals in a totally bonkers British orgy of bunting, popping corks and knitted bootees? Two or three days later, it just won’t be the same.”
Meghan, I don’t care if you’ve been doing gong therapy workshops so you can sail through squeezing a person out of your body.
I don’t care if you’re having a home birth surrounded by hand-holding chanting doulas. I don’t care if you’re in a dolphin tank. Knock yourself out.
But – and without pulling rank, you’re years behind fans who have wanted true fulfillment for Harry since Diana died – we want a part of it. Unfiltered and unforgettable.
Put on a tracksuit, don’t worry about your hair or make-up (remember Angelina Jolie in a nightie for the first photos with her twins?) and recognise our investment in your husband’s story.
Show us the baby.