Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Kate Middleton is pregnant! If you ask me, it's about time we recalled a few choice fairy tales

I only seem capable of common-or-garden babies, but that hasn't stopped me picking up a few royal baby tips over the years

If you ask me, I would like to be the 248,978th person to congratulate the Duchess of Cambridge on her impending motherhood, and although I am not an expert on royal babies – I only seem capable of producing common-or-garden ones, which I sometimes stamp out beneath my foot – I would also like to be the 793,903rd person to offer Kate some advice, as I think I’ve picked up a few pointers over the years.

I do know something about princes and princesses, and how it might play out, if you don’t take heed. If you have a daughter, for example, do not let her marry any man unless he can answer three riddles, and she can guess his name before dawn, or you’ll be in for a tiresome ending, rather than one resulting in great feasts and celebrations plus a full-blown opera. And don’t let her sleep on a pea, because she’ll feel it, and will let you know, particularly when she reaches her impossible-to-please teenage years: “What thread count are those sheets, mother? Zero? Polyester?”

As for kissing a frog, if it must be done, it must be done. You must accept this just as you must accept that cats will come to London just to look at her and, while there, may well frighten a little mouse under a chair, which could be handy, as mice are a nuisance.

And a boy? Well, Kate, you will need to prepare your son for the day he may have to, say, put Humpty Dumpty back together again – stabilising the spine is a priority, I’d have thought – or the day he passes a castle and sees a ton of hair draping from the top window. This may send him courting, which could be nice, unless he happens to be passing the home of Brian May, in which case: bummer!

And, while we are at it, some general advice, if you don’t mind, Kate? OK, when William is King and you are Queen and he is in his counting house, counting all his money, and you are in the parlour, eating bread and honey, you might wish to ask yourself: “I wonder what cook is up to?” In this day and age, Kate, there is no excuse for using real blackbirds when blackbird substitute is so readily available from your local specialist grocer.

And this, my dear, is my advice to you, which I tender on top of all the other advice, as offered in the next 782 issues of Hello!, if we’re lucky, and 7,894 issues if we are not.

PS: Try not to breastfeed in public. It’s not as if the world wants to see your boobies.