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The Princess Palaver: what is a royal’s occupation?

While there is always much guessing around the arrival of any new royal Cambridge baby, some things are certain. One is that we’ll all be looking at the Duchess of Cambridge walking out of the Lindo Wing with her newest arrival in her arms wondering how on earth she looks that well so soon after having a baby. The other is that once the birth registration is made public, somewhere there will be some kind of debate about why Kate’s occupation is given as princess. Baby number three, discussion number three, it’s as predictable as the date of Christmas.

Baby Louis was registered today and soon afterwards, his entry in the birth records was made public (please note everyone, what you saw today is not his birth certificate, thank you for allowing me to be pedantic). And immediately, all eyes were drawn to box 8 (b). There it is, just it was with George and Charlotte – the p word, in all its regal glory.
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Let’s look a little closer at that box. It might be headed occupation but it’s actually, like the one for baby’s father, a space to record the person’s occupation, profession – or rank. And we all know that Kate isn’t just Duchess of Cambridge, she is also Princess William. This part of a birth registration is all about description and, if we’re honest, princess kind of sums it up.

We could compare this to previous royal baby registrations but that would be fairly pointless as the opportunity to add an occupation for a mother wasn’t included until 1984. Check out Prince William’s birth registration and you’ll see that Diana, Princess of Wales has no occupation, profession or rank recorded against her name. Yes, there have been other royal babies registered since Charles and Diana had their family, but the Cambridge children are the first to grab the same level of interest. Kate has no template here.

Besides, even if she did, the options are pretty limited. Maybe full time royal? Possibly, take a leaf out of the Duke of Edinburgh’s book and describe herself as a professional plaque unveiler? She could go for ‘mother’ or ‘homemaker’ or even leave it blank and just have a line in the box. Whatever she put down would get someone going.

Besides, every new royal generation brings its own traditions and, along with Twitter announcements and first photos on Instagram, the debate about Kate’s occupation is the Cambridge contribution to a public event that has kept the Monarchy going for hundreds of years. If we do get number four, you know just what to expect.


About author

Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.