9 things to know about the royal baby announcement

When it comes to Windsor children, nothing is "ordinary"

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child
Published on 8th September 2014
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their second child. The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news. As with her first pregnancy, The Duchess is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Her Royal Highness will no longer accompany The Duke of Cambridge on their planned engagement in Oxford today. The Duchess of Cambridge is being treated by doctors at Kensington Palace.

As royal announcements go, this one follows form, giving away only what is necessary. So don’t hold your breath for any clues as to the baby’s sex—that will be revealed in the birth announcement. Even a due date won’t be released until Kate is past the third-month marker, and even then it will be a “due month,” leaving the media to once again camp outside a London hospital. In honour of the upcoming birth of the fourth in line to the throne—behind Charles, William and brother George—here are nine facts about the new royal baby and his or her future life.

1. The family will be based at Anmer Hall: Sure, more than $6 million was spent upgrading their new base in London, Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace. It may be an “apartment” but it’s really a grand, historic townhouse that needed everything from a new roof to serious asbestos removal before William and Kate could move in. Yet it will really be little more than their London pied-a-terre, since William’s air ambulance job will leave them based in Norfolk most of the year. There, they have Anmer Hall, a 10-bedroom country house on the grounds of Sandringham, the Queen’s private estate. It’s got everything including a swimming pool and conservatory, and the privacy that William and Kate crave.

2. Baby watch: Last time, scores of royal watchers camped outside the Lindo wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London for a month for the Great Kate Wait. Since an exact due date is never given—way too much pressure on an expectant royal mother—the media couldn’t risk losing the shots of the year. It was marked by searing heat and millions around the world staring at a door that would seemingly never open. Expect to see that door again, on all news channels. Hopefully they’ve touched up its dings and scratches.

3. Big brother George’s education: He will be nearing his second birthday when his younger sibling arrives. While mum and dad are busy with the baby, he’ll be safely in the care of nanny Maria Borrallo, who has been with the family for nearly a year. If all the snaps of the two in parks are any indication, he’ll be spending a lot of time outside, in the fresh air. What he’ll also learn are manners—the Queen isn’t one to tolerate whiny toddlers. When a very young William was misbehaving and acting like a bully, his parents were given a strict lecture that such behaviour would not be tolerated.

4. Grandpa Charles: The Prince of Wales can appear stiff and reserved, but apparently he’s quite the doting grandpa. For a picture released earlier this year, George wore one of his gifts, a customized cashmere sweater.

5. The most relieved man in Britain: After reassuring the public that Kate is doing okay, Prince William was eager to change the subject. Not so his younger brother, Harry. After saying he’d enjoy watching William “suffer” if the new baby was a girl, Harry, third in line of the throne, was asked his reaction to being pushed down the line of succession. Grinning broadly, he said, “Great!” (One day that will likely also be the reaction of this new baby, as he or she waits for big brother George to have kids.)

6. Prince William, part-time royal: A year after resigning from the RAF’s search and rescue unit (which was being privatized), William is going back up in the air, this time as an air ambulance pilot. That means he will again delay his start as a full-time royal. While some grumble that he’s not pulling his weight—his grandmother, 88, and father, 65, regularly undertake between 300 and 500 engagements annually—others want him to have one last chance at relative freedom and privacy before the rigours of royal life descend.

7. It’s never too early to plan ahead: If all goes according to plan, this new baby won’t inherit the throne, but will be able to map a destiny entirely his or her own. While there’s little precedent of what that means for modern royals, Prince Harry and his cousin, Zara Phillips, could be inspirations. Harry, a natural soldier, joined the military right out of school, while Zara, the daughter of Princess Anne, studied for a while and eventually became a professional three-day event equestrian champion, capturing silver at the London Olympics. Regardless, the new baby will be the envy of older brother George, whose life is already mapped out.

8. The pressures and perks of being a royal doctor: Sure, there’s the heart-pounding anxiety that comes with having a royal as a patient, but the perks aren’t bad either. After Prince George’s birth in 2013, Kate’s gynecologist Marcus Setchell was knighted by Prince William. Arise, Sir Marcus. Now, it’s the turn of Alan Farthing, who assisted at George’s birth. As of now, he’s most famous for being the fiancé of  journalist Jill Dando, who was mysteriously murdered in 1999.

9. Don’t expect to see a lot of Kate: If her last pregnancy is any guide, she’ll undertake around 15 or so engagements before the birth, with large gaps between batches of public outings. Again, if past precedents apply, don’t expect a startlingly original fashion display—she’ll likely recycle about half her outfits.