This is My Little Prince

DSCF5574I’m calling him Prince Ben at the moment. Because he is my little prince. And because, like the rest of the world, I’ve been caught up in Royal Baby Fever.

I wouldn’t call myself a royalist, in fact I’ve tried my hardest to be cynical about it all. But I just can’t muster up even one little pinch of cynicism when it comes to what happened on the 22 of July – I’m so happy for Will & Kate on the safe arrival of their beautiful little boy.

We were discussing the world’s obsession with the couple a few days ago and trying to decipher why people still give a damn. They don’t really rule a country any more and they’ve certainly got very little to do with South Africa.

In fact, I was explaining to my nanny that a prince had been born in a country very far away from ours and trying to think of reasons why it should be at all relevant to me and to her. And I came up with nothing, zilch, nada. It is relevant only because we make it so, because we care about what happens to them.

So why do we care about it? Well, there are the obvious reasons. They’re real life royalty, princes and princesses like in the fairytales we were fed as youngsters. And they’re glamorous and lead what look like charmed lives. And they seem really nice, down-to-earth and natural, with both the cameras and each other. So you can understand Hollywood’s obsession with them. But I think it goes a little deeper than that.

A commoner like me and people like the Duke and Duchess have very little in common. No one camps outside my house wanting to take photographs of me in a bikini (thank God!). They have money and fame and lead jetsetting lives, and I, do not. But there is now something we share: parenthood.

When I watched Kate descend those hospital stairs trying desperately not to trip and clutching that precious bundle, I knew exactly how she felt. Sure, I never had to do that in front of a sea of cameras but I still did it with fear and awe in my heart, as I held on so tightly to the little life that had now been entrusted to me. When I saw the joy on their faces, I too had felt that same joy.

And as I watched William pull away from the hospital in his fancy Range Rover (after putting in the car seat successfully – high five!) I too remembered that trip home from the hospital, a journey fraught with anxiety, as I screamed at my husband to slow down and winced every time another car came too close to us. And finally, as the reporters spoke of their first night at home with their newborn, I remembered our first night with a child: that dazed look on my husband and my faces, the two hours of sleep, the realisation that nothing would ever be the same.

There is so much sadness in the world. So much anger. And the one thing that makes the world beautiful is children, new life. So the birth of a prince has brought with it such hope and such happiness. I don’t think it’s much more complicated than that.


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