|9 Burning Questions About the Royal Baby|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27)||Jun 14, 2013, 10:12 AM|
The world has been captivated by Prince William and Kate Middleton, more formally the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, through love, marriage and now the imminent baby carriage. As we wait for the royal baby, we wonder... Who's on diaper duty? What will the baby eat? What will it call the queen? ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy weighs in on some of our most burning questions.
"Definitely," Murphy said. "Pets are a really big deal in the royal household. They love animals, particularly dogs and, obviously, William and Kate already have a dog."
The royal baby will join its parents' dog, Lupo, a black cocker spaniel that has been known to join the couple for walks on the beach, strolls through the woods and even on the polo field.
Murphy said both sides of the family are "really keen" on animals.
"I think that the child will be brought up in the same way and will, I'm sure, have a really lovely relationship with little Lupo," she said.
Judging by dad, Uncle Harry and Great-grandmum's interests ... the answer is yes.
"William and Harry both drive helicopters as well as cars, so I think it will be important to them that their child does all of those things as well, the normal rites of passage of growing up," Murphy said. "But, of course, they will also have access to the transport that William and Kate have, chauffeurs when they need them."
Both princes have piloted helicopters as part of their service in the Royal Air Force.
And who can forget Prince William's breaking tradition by famously whisking away his new bride in a convertible Aston Martin after they royal wedding? It was decorated with streamers and balloons and a "JU5T WED" license plate. He knows how to drive and he might very well get it from his grandmother.
Queen Elizabeth II, 87, has often been spotted cruising around the countryside in her Range Rover after a shooting session.
"I think it will have a very normal diet," Murphy said. "If you look back at William's childhood, there were quite a few instances where people have talked about him liking some very un-royal things like chocolate biscuit cake, which he had at his wedding, and bacon fried in the microwave."
She predicted the royal heir will be just like any other kid that craves sweets and chocolates, but will have a health-conscious mum to stay on track.
"Kate, particularly, is quite keen on being healthy so I think they'll be encouraging their child to develop healthy eating habits."
"Absolutely," Murphy said. "I think that's something that will be really important to William and Kate, that they make sure they give the child as much chance as possible to have a normal upbringing and to mix with other children. I think that is something that Diana very much paved the way for with William and Harry."
William and Harry both went to regular (albeit elite) schools with other children in London, and their mother made a point of allowing them to enjoy normal childhood experiences like amusement parks, the movies and McDonald's.
"I think, even more so, Will and Kate will want it to be like that because, obviously, Kate hasn't grown up with a royal upbringing at all," Murphy said. "She mingled with lots of different types of people. She went to different schools and I think it'll be really, really important to her that her children have the opportunity to do the same."
Murphy believes that while a nanny is an eventual must, Kate will try to be as hands-on as possible in the early days of being a new mother.
Kate will be taking a maternity leave from her royal duties but the length of time is undecided. William will take two weeks of paternity leave, according to royal sources.
"She will be a full -time mum and, I think, at that stage she will do it by herself, really," she said. "I think it will be later on when she starts going back into doing royal duties. And when her timetable starts up again, I think they will, at that stage, look to get some help, absolutely. And it's an incredibly important job."
Murphy predicted that the royal nanny eventually entrusted to care for Baby Cambridge will be someone older, with a lot of experience, who has been recommended to the royal parents by someone trusted.
"I don't think that they will give someone that job based on someone just popping in for an interview," she said with a laugh. "They will need to know that the person has done the work before and done it really well, and knows exactly what they're doing."
Prince William formed lasting relationships with the nannies that helped raise him. He cancelled a royal commitment in order to attend the October 2012 funeral of former nanny Olga Powell, with whom he was close.
"He actually broke off his attendance at an engagement to attend her funeral because of the significant part that she played in his life, so I think he will want to make sure that his child has somebody who they can form a strong bond with," Murphy said.
Prince William was reportedly the first royal baby to use disposable diapers instead of traditional cloth diapers, and Murphy predicts the new, young parents will make the same decision.
"I'd be pretty sure the baby will have disposable diapers rather than the cloth ones," she said. "I think it will be ordinary nappies, the ones that most people's babies use.
"That's a sign of the changing times," she added. "I think the royal family will, like any family, adapt with the times."
The first announcement from the palace will come when Kate has been admitted to the hospital, according to royal sources. It is understood that Kate will give birth in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, where Diana had William and Harry.
The formal birth announcement will come after the queen, royal family and Middletons have heard the good news, royal sources say.
It will follow the royal tradition of posting a paper announcement on an easel on the railing outside Buckingham Palace. The announcement will include the baby's gender, weight and time of birth. Kate and William have chosen to be surprised and do not know the sex of the baby, according to royal sources.
This old-fashioned announcement will be accompanied by a few more modern methods.
"The royal family has certain traditions that it comes back to time and time again, and I think the announcement of a new heir, I think, is going to be respected in the same way that it has been throughout history," Murphy said. "But I also think they will utilize things like Twitter, social media and the website as well."
Prince William was the first royal heir to be born in a hospital instead of in the palace. The first sighting of him and Prince Harry was when their parents exited the hospital with the new princes in tow. William and Kate are expected to do the same with their new arrival.
"I think that there will definitely be an opportunity for the baby to be photographed, assuming all is well once the couple leaves the hospital," Murphy said. "I think that's the first time that we'll get to see him or her."
It's unknown when the baby's name will be revealed. Harry's name was announced the day he left the hospital, but several days passed before William's name was made public.
No surprises here.
"As far as the queen goes, I think it will be great-grandma. That's what everyone would expect," Murphy said. "That's what Peter Phillips' children, who are the queen's great-grandchildren, call her."
Murphy predicted the child will use "mummy and dad" for Kate and William and "grandpa or granddad and grandma" for Prince Charles and Kate's parents, Michael and Carole Middleton. No word on what step-grandma Camilla will be called.
"In many ways, they can be more formal but, certainly, when they're hanging out together and spending time together, it will be the usual things any family would use," Murphy said.
The newest royal will be born with the title His or Her Royal Highness, as well as prince or princess.
Earlier this year, the queen issued a Letters Patent, a decree method that does not require Parliament's involvement, to guarantee the title of prince or princess to all of William and Kate's future children.
A previous decree that had been in place since 1917 said that a son would be a prince, but a daughter would not be a princess. She would be a lady.
This is separate from the recent British Parliament change to a 300-year-old law to allow William and Kate's firstborn, regardless of gender, to be heir to the throne. Queen Elizabeth II was only eligible to be monarch because her father had no male children.
No doubt the baby will also develop nicknames like its parents, Kate for Catherine and Wills for William.
"I think people will call it Baby Cambridge, colloquially," Murphy said.