How baby Archie will be kept away from the glare of publicity
- Credit: PA
It looks as if baby Archie, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be kept, as far as possible, away from the glare of publicity. We look at how it’s going so far.
And so the seventh in line to the throne is an Archie; not a prince.
There is a widely respected precedent. The Princess Royal, Anne, who at one time was second in line to the throne after her brother, Charles, chose to give her son and daughter what might be considered "ordinary" names. Peter and Zara ? whose name means "princess", incidentally ? have their father's surname, Phillips. Although thoroughly royal, they are not pinned into the harsh spotlight of publicity that attends other members of the country's number one family.
Having said that, the heir apparent's latest daughter-in-law Meghan has been the subject of some bizarre speculation. One piece of fake news that cropped up a few weeks ago was that the Duchess of Sussex was not really pregnant but fitted with some sort of film-type prosthetic.
Were there really people out there who believed this poppycock? (There were!) But what possible reason could the couple have for pretending to expect a baby?
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In fact, the first appearance of Archie with his mum and dad quite clearly showed that Meghan still had a bump... smaller but nonetheless a bump, as all new mums do. In fact the only extraordinary thing about the Duchess of Sussex was that she was still managing to walk on killer heels having recently given birth.
I gave up high heels two months before my first baby was due and never really wore them again.
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Another myth was that Meghan was expecting twins. Nope.
And so to the conventions of royal titles.
From time to time the Queen has stepped in to help. While George, as the firstborn of Prince William, was automatically a prince, the Queen had to make a declaration that his siblings would also be princes or princesses, otherwise they would have been lords or ladies... confused? I am, and I've only just started.
So, how come, you may ask, that both daughters of Prince Andrew are princesses?
This is because they are the children of a son of the monarch. Prince William, despite being second in line to the throne, is a grandson.
Likewise, baby Archie would not have been automatically entitled to be a prince although he could take on one of the lesser titles attributed to his mother and father, such as the Earl of Dumbarton.
But that's enough of that, because all the indications are that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Meghan and Harry) will be royals for the 21st century with a modern approach to parenting and maybe even a re-think about privileges.
Somewhere, I read that they may be hoping to send the wee chap to a state school. This would be a major boost for state education, though I'm not holding my breath on that one.
I like to think that before he is five-years-old Archie will:
- Be pushed on a swing in a public park
- Visit all the soft play areas within a 10 mile radius of his home
- Paddle in the North Sea on the East Anglian coast
- Have cheap and cheerful clothes to play in.
- Have lots of quality time with his mum, dad, and grandparents.
- Be seen out eating ice cream
- Engage with all his American relatives
- Not be expected to hunt, shoot and fish
And maybe, just maybe, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor will have a proper career, uninterrupted by constant royal duties. Perhaps he might even pay tax on his earned income.
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway is a certified physiotherapist although she does not practise, having decided instead to pursue her fascination with traditional Norwegian folk tales and a love of music. She established her own entertainment business based on giving public performances reciting folk tales and singing with well-known Norwegian choirs. She pays tax on her income and retains her place in the line of succession (her younger brother comes first).
Since his first, heavily wrapped-up public appearance, on May 8, two days after his birth, we have seen only Archie's feet. This was in an arty photograph (the name of the photographer has not been released) taken for American Mothers' Day. It showed the baby's feet, cupped in his mother's hand, set against the blue of forget-me-nots. No coincidence, one imagines, that these were among Princess Diana's favourite flowers.
Already there seems to be a shift in the way the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are approaching parenthood. They are determined to keep Archie's life as normal as possible... normal as can be, that is, when your great grandma is the queen, your grandpa is the heir apparent and you have access to castles and palaces without being a member of the National Trust or English Heritage.