A few weeks ago, I went to Buckingham Palace to see the Royal Childhood exhibition and saw the easel that was placed outside the Palace to announce Prince George’s birth.
Now it looks like it will soon be dusted off again as the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her second child.
Announced before they would have liked because the Duchess is suffering from acute morning sickness, as she did with Prince George, the delight was plain to see on Prince William’s face as he greeted well-wishers in Oxford.
Although too young to understand, it will be exciting too for Prince George to have a brother or sister and seeing his assertive attitude with the children he met in New Zealand, it seems he will enjoy taking the lead as the eldest child in the family.
Despite the level of interest in the announcement, it will probably be a quieter, family time than with Prince George’s birth – after all the new baby will be the Cambridge’s second child and not in direct line to the throne.
The new baby will be fourth in the line of succession and, therefore, not as constitutionally significant.
Around the time of Prince George’s birth, an Act of Parliament stated that any further children of the Duke and Duchess would be known as, His Royal Highness Prince of Cambridge or Her Royal Highness Princess of Cambridge.
Previously, it was only the eldest child of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales who was entitled to this.
Nevertheless, the future role for the child is unclear. There are moves to make the Royal Family smaller – indeed, the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s children do not have royal titles, though they are legally entitled to them.
Whether he/she will be called on to carry out public engagements will not be known for several years, although as Prince Harry does currently, it is a fair guess that this will happen – but this is
This will be the Queen’s fifth great-grandchild, following on from Peter Phillips’s daughters Savannah and Isla, Prince George and Zara Tindall’s daughter Mia, born earlier this year.
We don’t yet know when the new baby will be born but the gap will be short of two years.
This is not a big gap but is not particularly short by royal standards – the gap between Prince William and Prince Harry is two years and three months, while the gap between the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal is three months short of two years.
Because of the Duchess’s illness, she was unable to visit Oxford with her husband. Kensington Palace has said they are monitoring the Duchess’s appearances on a case-by-case basis. I think it is likely that she will lighten her duties, making some of the appearances in London but not travelling further afield.
The Duchess was set to make her first solo overseas trip representing the Queen by visiting Malta on 20-21 September at the 50th anniversary of Maltese independence.
As it is a significant visit, it is likely that if the Duchess is not up to the visit, another member of the Royal Family will replace her on the visit.
There is already a lot of speculation whether the child will be a girl or a boy.
Obviously it is far too early for them to know, let alone the rest of us.
I’ve been asked several times already about whether I would prefer a boy or a girl and, although it would be nice for them to have a daughter, giving them one of each, I feel – as I’m sure they do – it is far more important that the child is a healthy and happy one.
For royal watchers like me, it’s a further demonstration on the good will that people feel towards the Royal Family.
It’s also encouraging to know that the next generation of the monarchy will be ready to take their places on the world stage in the years to come.
So many congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and good luck to them for the future.
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