Already one of the most famous babies in the world, the first child of Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate faces a life in the spotlight like no previous royal, severely testing the couple’s desire to give their offspring a “normal” life.
From this moment his life in the public eye begins and so does his parents’ formidable battle to protect his privacy.
That will have become harder with the advent of modern phones which mean anyone can take a high-quality picture and beam it around the world instantly via social media.
“I’m sure William and Kate will be desperate to give their baby as similar an upbringing as they had, as much out of the public eye as possible,” said royal author Claudia Joseph.
Kate, as the first “commoner” to marry a prince in close proximity to the throne in over 350 years, naturally enjoyed an upbringing out of the limelight.
William and his younger brother Harry were able to grow up largely out of the media spotlight after Britain’s press agreed not to intrude, with little snooping into their early years apart from special occasions such as their first day at school.
Their mother, the late Princess Diana, had been determined that they should realise life was not all palaces and servants.
“Diana wanted William to experience life from all sorts of angles,” said Joseph.
“She took him to HIV clinics, and to homeless charities and that’s perhaps why he is the rounded man he is today and I’m sure he’s conscious of that. Kate will want to emulate the upbringing she had with her own parents because her family is so stable and close to each other.”
Olga Powell, William’s nanny, who died last year and cared for him and Harry for 15 years, said they were the same as any other children. “If they saw a muddy puddle they wanted to jump in it and if there was something to climb, they wanted to climb it,” she told her local newspaper in 2011 shortly before William married Kate.
“Their parents wanted them to have as ordinary a childhood as they could.”
But just how “normal” can the childhood be of a future monarch and the first heir to be born for 31 years?
Kate herself enjoyed a privileged upbringing, attending exclusive private schools before going to university in Scotland where she met William.
For his part, William went to school at Eton College, one of England’s top and most expensive establishments.
However, Joseph said the couple had eschewed a life of luxury since their marriage, living near William’s Royal Air Force base in north Wales with a cleaner but no servants.
“The reality is they’ve been living in a cottage in Wales, going to the cinema, to the supermarket, and doing the things we all do. They cook and wash up for themselves,” said Joseph.
Hugo Vickers, a royal historian, added: “You can be fairly certain that they will be very hands- on parents and they will be anxious to give the child as normal an upbringing as possible.
“It will be possible for them to do it as long as the media respects their privacy which, unfortunately, there has been quite a lot of evidence they have not done so, even with William and Kate.”
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