With all the fuss over Kate Middleton's baby, have we learned nothing since Princess Diana?

God help us if the Royal Foetus is all we have to look forward to in 2013

Share

I'm not a fan of the Queen's Speech. Or of the Queen. Or any of the Royal Family. Plus, I had my own traumatic event of the year to get through whilst she was on the telly: choking down the Brussels sprout of the year at a distinctly plebeian mealtime. Sorry, but who has finished eating their Christmas dinner by 3pm? Anyway. In so doing I missed One waffling on about One being Humbled by One's subjects' generosity over the Jubilee.

But at least in HRH's Christmas speech, One did do something every republican – and sensible monarchist – should applaud. One did not mention Kate Middleton's pregnancy. And quite right too. Because this should be our new year's wish for 2013. That this be the last mention of – whisper it, reverentially, as if in a fairy story – the Royal Baby.

No avoiding it

This isn't possible, of course. The Royal Baby, the royal maternity trousseau, the royal perambulator and every cough, sneeze and pelvic floor strain of the royal gestation, will be the biggest British news story of next year. There will be no avoiding it. Already it has been headline news all over the globe and, especially at home. Which, post-Leveson, does not augur well. Or make us look good as a nation.

The recent intrusive, maddening fuss over a minor complication very early in one woman's pregnancy was horrible to watch. Even the Queen – hardly a touchy-feely psychotherapy type – knows it's bad form to gossip about a pregnancy before the 12-week mark. And yet earlier this month no one seemed to question why we were entitled to know that Kate Middleton was in hospital.

The Palace has still not confirmed the due date (estimated June or July). But by all accounts Kate Middleton was between five and eight weeks pregnant when she was hospitalised with acute morning sickness. One in three pregnancies end in miscarriage before 12 weeks. Would that be our business, too?

The Palace must have decided that speculation would have been traumatic and widespread and, possibly, dangerous. Really? Worse than the feeding frenzy that resulted anyway? After everything that happened with Princess Diana, has no one learned anything?

A nation of forelock-tuggers

At the time, many newspaper reports omitted to mention the length of the pregnancy. I couldn't help thinking that this was because they knew some readers would be put off the story because it was, basically, inappropriate. But why let a detail like that get in the way of a “feelgood” factor when it guarantees sales?

After the triple-whammy of the Royal Wedding, the Jubilee and the Olympics, The Royal Baby shows how far we've fallen back into our forelock-tugging habits. Economists are already queuing up to predict that the only retail bounce the UK will get next year is from the birth of the Royal Baby. Have we really become so desperate as a nation that we're relying on the soap opera of the Royal Family for our morale – and our economic survival? Forget Keep Calm and Carry On. This is Keep Calm and Follow the Royals Obsessively.

Of course, it was the Olympics that really sealed the deal. The Queen's contribution to the Opening Ceremony was nauseating. You had to feel sorry for her, for Daniel Craig, for the actress Julia Mackenzie (who doubled for the Queen in the helicopter) and for Gary Connery, the stuntman who had to parachute down dressed in a pale peach chiffon dress and sensibly-heeled granny court shoes. Whatever you think of the monarchy (and I wish we did not have one), it was somewhere in the region between loss of dignity and idolatry. But everyone loved it.

In other countries like Spain and Denmark, they seem to manage to have royal figureheads who pop up occasionally in the gossip magazines, perform occasional ceremonial functions and are generally unobtrusive. That is the sort of monarchy a republican can just about stomach. Not a crowd of aristocratic pseudo-celebrities who manipulate, court and play along with media attention, while complaining when it doesn't go in their favour.

Non-reporting

None of this will stop anyone. In this post-Leveson age, the Royal Foetus offers the perfect opportunity for non-reporting. “Ginger heir? Kate and William's Royal Baby has 50/50 chance of having red hair.” Hold the front page. Kate and William's Royal Baby has 50/50 chance of inheriting the throne. Stop press. Kate and William's Royal Baby has 50/50 chance of being a boy or a girl. You couldn't make it up. Actually, you could. And they will. Endlessly. Someone somewhere is probably auditioning stunt babies now for “hilarious” Look Who's Talking? YouTube re-enactments featuring “Kate 'n' Wills 'n' Royal tot”. It's like the past 20 years never happened.

Meanwhile, everyone laps it up. Let Kate Middleton, her nipples and her womb get on with life in peace? Not a chance. Come hell, high water or an even more spectacularly tanking economy, they will be our key contribution to the global news cycle of 2013. And I'm backing out of the room deferentially as I say this, but never mind Andrew Mitchell and Plebgate. When the Royals are firmly back on the front pages, it makes plebs of us all.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Don’t pity me for eating alone, just give me a better table

Rosie Millard
Aerial view of planned third runway at Heathrow  

Heathrow expansion: This final 'conclusion' has simply fanned the airport flames

Chris Blackhurst
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?