I shouldn’t need to excuse or apologize for my fascination with the British royal family; it seems to be a global phenomenon. William and Kate, in particular, have a large following because they seem like “regular” people and are very relatable. As ridiculous as it sounds, I have long felt a kind of kinship with Prince William – he and I were born in the same year, graduated college the same year, were married the same year, and had our first babies (both boys) the same year.
Yesterday, watching William and Kate greet the world for the first time as parents, I became surprisingly emotional. Even without video of us emerging from the hospital playing on a constant loop, my husband and I vividly remember how surreal it felt that we were allowed to take this tiny person home, that his wellbeing was entirely entrusted to us. Sure, William and Kate have plenty of help, but presumably, they will be the ones making the major parenting decisions (and bearing the weight of public judgment for those decisions).
In their first appearance as parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge seemed intent on making it known that they will be hands-on with their little prince. The media heralded William’s unprecedented involvement in Kate’s labor and delivery (he spent the night at the hospital – gasp!), and the way he confidently inserted his baby’s carseat into the waiting Range Rover before driving his wife and son to their new home. The Duke of Cambridge even changed his son’s first diaper. This was a far cry from his father’s stand-offish role. Prince Charles came out of the hospital holding baby William for a photo op before passing him to Diana, and then sitting in the back of the car where they both waved to supporters (with baby William in Diana’s arms rather than a carseat!).
I am glad that William has embraced his new role as a “DIY Dad;” I hope that changing diapers and installing carseats are just the beginning. I look forward to press releases showing William taking his son for his immunizations, reading to him, and playing with him in a park. Father is no longer just provider and protector, he is also teacher, nurturer, role model, and mother’s helper. His very public life gives William a unique opportunity to make being a hands-on father fashionable. For her part, Kate looked gorgeous and poised as always. I was pleased that she wore a dress that showed that women (even the most beautiful, slim ones) still look six-months pregnant after giving birth. [That said, I did not expect the media frenzy that erupted over Kate’s “mummy tummy,” and now wonder if she realized the stir her fashion choice would create, or if she even intended it to be a statement at all.]
I join the world in wishing William and Kate peace, delight, and sleep in these first days with their child.