Last week I was away on holiday, and heard the news that William and Catherine were expecting their second child. I had just got off the plane in Brussels to catch a connecting flight to Berlin, and I turned my phone on to receive a flurry of messages from a friend. While she is not much of a Royal watcher, she knew how excited I would be by the news and couldn’t wait to tell me.
I was struggling to get signal, and couldn’t connect to the airport wi-fi, so I ended up doing the next best thing: reminiscing and remembering the moment I found out about the couple’s first announcement. It was 3rd December, 2012, (my anniversary, so I couldn’t forget it!) and I was sitting on the sofa, browsing twitter: it was such exciting news!
I then began thinking about what this means for the young family, and The Royal Family as a whole. This pregnancy is not as exciting for many (though I’m sure William and Kate completely disagree!), and constitutionally, it isn’t that important, and so there will probably be a different atmosphere surrounding the couple this time from the general public, though not for Royal watchers I’m sure! Since I could not write a post while I was away, here is a collection of my musings…
- Firstly, the severe morning sickness that this pregnancy has brought Kate, like her first, may mean she will not be going to Malta for her first solo tour. It will be decided by Wednesday 17th whether she will go; if Catherine is not feeling up to it, though there are reports The Duchess is really keen to go, it is likely William will replace his wife. If William decides he would rather stay at home to help make sure his family is ok, then another member of The Royal Family will be sent.
Considering the tour dates fall on a weekend, Harry may step in for his sister-in-law (it shouldn’t affect his work duties within the Army) but it will be interesting to see who they will send should Kate not go. Beatrice is another, very slim, possibility (she’s been stepping up her duties recently..), though someone senior is likely; Edward and Sophie are currently in Canada, or I would have suggested The Countess as a viable alternative.
- A younger sibling for Prince George means that, essentially, William, as future King, has ‘an heir and a spare’, much like his parents did with the arrival of Prince Harry in 1984. And much like Prince Harry’s birth, there will not be as much excitement with this baby because he or she will not (likely) be Monarch one day. However, because it is William and Catherine, you can bet there will be just as many photographers outside of the Lindo Wing, where their second child is likely to be born too. The Duchess will be seen to have fulfilled her wifely duty by producing two heirs, though this is of course an archaic view.
- Upon his or her arrival, the second child of William and Kate will be 4th in line to the throne; this moves everyone down another place in the succession, including Prince Harry to 5th, Prince Andrew to 6th and Princess Beatrice moves into 7th. This may seem insignificant, but I realised it means Beatrice will no longer have to seek The Queen’s permission to marry: this will soon be just for the first six in line to the throne (the 1772 Royal Marriage Act will likely soon be repealed, following the passing of the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 in the rest of the Commonwealth, but it has passed already in the UK).
- Following older brother George, the new baby will also be a Prince or Princess, thanks to their Royal blood, and will hold a similar title of ‘Prince(ss) ____ of Cambridge’.
- With Prince William to begin his training with the East Anglian Air Ambulance service next year, the couple may be relocating to their country pad, Anmer Hall, on The Queen’s Sandringham Estate. This will probably mean that George and his new sibling will spend two years in the countryside (the length of William’s contract), away from the prying eyes of the international press, who regularly publish pictures of George and nanny Maria or mother Kate walking in Kensington Gardens. The couple are keen to shield their children from this intrusion, and William apparently has fond memories of the countryside as a child, outside of London.
- There have been numerous reports across different outlets about The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wanting to have their children close in age; they apparently hoped to reflect William and Harry’s, and Kate and her sister Pippa’s, childhoods, since the siblings are close, likely due to their age gap – or lack of, perhaps.
- The new Royal baby will be The Queen’s fifth great-grandchild and Prince Charles’s second grandchild – Charles has revealed he’d like a granddaughter next on a recent engagement. In early 2013 when pregnant with George, Kate revealed she had wanted a boy, and William a girl – maybe its William’s turn this time around!
If it is a girl, it will not be radically different and unusual in Royal circles, unless another child follows, and it is male. If she were to have a younger brother, the Princess would be before him in the line of succession: this would be unlike Princess Anne, who is after The Duke of York and his children, and Prince Edward and his children, despite being 10 years older than Andrew and 14 years older than Edward! When the Commonwealth passes the Succession to the Crown Act in 2013, changing the primogeniture rule, it will also overturn the rule against marriage to Catholics.
It can be a complicated world, navigating the annals of Royal babies in history, and assessing the impact of them in today’s society, so please ask any questions, should you have any. Either way, there will be something to look forward to in spring 2015, that’s for sure!