As tiny Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor coos and kicks in her Californian cradle, she is blissfully unaware of the furore surrounding her arrival. Long may it last little one.
The “inside stories” on why she’s really been given those names has uneasy echoes of ye olde phone hacking days. Where does the information come from? Who really knows apart from two people?
Why can’t it be that Harry simply loves his granny and his mum? I have my granny’s name as my middle name, and I bet there’s a huge percentage of the population who have at least one family name in there.
The new arrival is eighth in line to the throne. That would usually relegate her to the status of outlier. All the privilege without the publicity. One of those distant cousins that no one recognises when the family gather for a good old wave on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
With no palace-planned reveal of the baby, as there was with Archie, the couple will need to plan how to introduce her.
She will always be the subject of fascination. An American-born royal with no title, but a close blood connection to the head of state.
This wouldn’t have happened centuries ago. Harry would have been betrothed to a princess in a distant French region or German state.
The respective royal dynasties would then have some claim on each other’s lands… job done. Until they started a war.
There are 12 monarchies in Europe to choose from. Seven kingdoms, a sprinkling of principalities, a teeny Grand Duchy and the Vatican, whatever that is.
A shiny jewel box of kings and queens and princes and dukes, plus their “issue”. And the Pope.
So what is it about our (sometimes) wayward Windsors that fascinates a fair percentage of the planet? Our American friends in particular.
Magazine covers feature William and Kate rather than Prince Joseph Wenzel of Liechtenstein. Even though they all have uniforms and sashes with rows of medals and sparkly baubles.
They all have outsiders or “commoners” (that makes me wince) who have managed to Cinderella or Prince Charming themselves into the family.
Dina was the turning point, no doubt about that. She was still really rather posh though. Then there was Sarah Ferguson (pretty posh) and Kate (posh enough). Then came Meghan – a US TV star who promised to be the royal icing on the cake, before it all went stale pretty quickly.
Never has the term “showbiz royalty” been so apt.
William and Kate are popular, of course. I applaud them for trying as hard as any average palace-dwelling, multi-millionaires can to be the royals of the people. Jeans. Always jeans.
But it’s the man who would not be king who has become the one-man media industry. Not Charles, his second-born, Harry. The combination of royalty and showbiz that he and Meghan embody is a potent one.
It’s a world away from Grace Kelly putting Monaco on the map when she married Prince Rainier. It does give Americans a greater sense of ownership of a distant royal dynasty, even it’s still related to the one they banished in the 18th century.
The Commonwealth is another consideration. It baffles me that recent polls show healthy numbers of Australian 18 to 24-year-olds are in favour of retaining a monarchy. This isn’t the £10 UK emigrant generation, with a picture of the Queen and a wistful connection with the old country.
What makes them want to continue ties with the country that turfed a fair few of their ancestors out in the first place? And for crimes that wouldn’t get more than community service now.
Full disclosure (a little late in the day) – I’m not a fan of the idea of monarchy. I find the gold coaches and robes and being knighted with big swords archaic and slightly embarrassing.
Some of us want our royals on a pedestal in all the tinselly trappings of ceremony. Some like to see them cutting around in wellies in a small market town buying courgettes. In the way that Beatrix of the Netherlands would be seen tootling around Amsterdam on her bicycle. It can’t be easy to do both.
Ardent monarchists feel that royals should be above the grubby nature of “talking” about “feelings”. The more militant republicans point to those interviews as a sign that the House of Windsor is due for demolition.
I’ll settle for enjoying The Crown on Netflix for what it is – a great work of drama. It’s as close to the reality as any of us will ever get and that’s probably something to be thankful for.