The big news today was the birth of the latest royal baby, Prince <insert name here> of Cambridge.
There’s always a media frenzy around a royal birth and the latest has been no different, even with this offspring being the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child.
One thing that has been different though is media attention leading up to the birth.
With Prince George, the spotlight on Kate was huge and you could barely go a day without a report on her condition during pregnancy.
For the latest arrival though, speculation has been much more understated (I’d entirely forgotten Kate was pregnant until she went into labour). The obvious factor there being that the first born would be heir to the throne, whereas today’s addition to the family is a mere fifth in-line…meaning the likelihood of ascending to kinghood is pretty remote. All being well, of course.
The Royals come in for a fair bit of grief from republicans and the indifferent, but I’ve always been a staunch supporter (as attested by previous blogs!). A new-born baby does tend to have a positive effect on their image though. George and Charlotte, being irresistibly cute, are very hard to direct bile at – even if a few trolls/socialists/staunch republicans do try – with most observers cooing over them rather than calling for the scrapping of the monarchy.
Once again though, they’re in full glare. The media has been camped outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s all day, and it’s the top news story on practically every paper, which means the Royals are the centre of attention for both fans and detractors. And while many are expressing pleasure at the birth, plenty of people on Twitter are politicising it to bash them, something which I always take objection to.
People moan about the Royal Family as they’ve inherited great wealth and privilege by an accident of birth and so shouldn’t be entitled to it, without having to work for it. But my take on that is that everyone is an accident of birth. That’s what makes us unique. Someone ‘working hard’ as a model is only there because they were born conventionally good-looking. An athlete ‘working hard’ at their sport is given the opportunity to even try thanks to their natural physical prowess. Even doctors are utilising their natural intelligence, which, sadly, some people just aren’t born with.
I’ve said in the past that I feel sorry for William and Harry – thrust into a life of privilege, but thrust nonetheless. Much like someone born in poverty can’t determine their birth, neither can the wealthy. Yes, you can say ‘but they should give their wealth and privilege up’. But if that’s the case, then surely so should everyone? If you inherit £500 from your grandparents do you give that up to the State? Even as little as £500 is more than some people. If you earn more than the national living wage do you give the rest back to the State? If, when you die, are you looking to leave your two-bed terrace house to the State rather than your children? I’d be prepared to say you’re probably not. Although I’m sure there are a few out there who are happy to say yes to that, the amount of people willing to practice what they preach is lamentably thin compared to those happy to do the preaching.
The Royals are privileged, but they have a tough life all the same. In a world where reality TV celebrity is seemingly a mark of success, being a Royal – where your every move is scrutinised, from birth until death and often against your wishes – is a much tougher career path. It’s also much more beneficial to the UK’s GDP, with the Royal Family providing far more to the country through the Crown Estates, tourism and royal appearances than they take out via the Privy Purse.
I wish the new Prince and the Royal Family all the best. It’s certainly not a role I’d like to take on.