We’ve reached that point of a royal pregnancy where there are already too many things to speculate about. The gender, name and even title of baby Sussex are all the subject of debate but one thing is certain. Harry and Meghan’s baby is already going to cost their parents more from the get go as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have to pay a higher fee for their birth certificate.
The General Register Office of England and Wales is putting up the price of all certificates from this weekend. Which means that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, like thousands of other parents across the two countries, will now have to stump up £11 per copy rather than the £4 that a birth certificate has cost until now.
Of course, the price won’t be a problem for the Sussexes who will perhaps be more concerned about the impact the change could have on families on lower incomes. The Home Office says this is the first rise in almost nine years, adding ‘’the fees are set at cost recovery levels only’’ while registrars have the power to adjust charges if they feel someone is really struggling to pay.
It’s likely that we’ll all get to see a copy of the birth registration for free as the Royal Family has taken to releasing copies of the paperwork as soon as it’s completed. A registrar will probably visit the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at home to complete the registration as was the case with both William and Harry’s births and the arrivals of all three Cambridge babies. Either Harry or Meghan can sign the record of their baby’s birth but not both – when parents are married to each other, just one makes the formal registration.
A birth must be registered in the district in which it took place and it must be recorded within six weeks of the arrival. The Queen Mother’s father famously missed that deadline and ended up paying a small fine when he finally registered her birth in order to get a copy of a certificate in time for her christening.
And we all know that if the birth record of baby Sussex is shared then one part will lead to some debate. Since 1984, there has been space to note a mother’s occupation on a registration and the Duchess of Cambridge’s decision to describe herself as ‘Princess of the United Kingdom’ has ignited much discussion. She’s perfectly entitled to call herself that as the space in question is for a person’s ‘rank, trade or occupation’. Meghan’s choice will no doubt end up in the spotlight, too.
Meanwhile, the family’s forthcoming move to Frogmore Cottage may well help them out in another way. Sofas have a tendency to give up loose change when they are moved so the extra cost of the birth certificate might already be covered by a couple of long forgotten coins hiding down the back of a cushion.