Kate Middleton's Maternity Muse? Lady Di's Pregnant Years Provide Inspiration
Will Kate have a baby shower? Baby showers are an American tradition, not a British one, though no doubt well-wishers will send the parents-to-be plenty of presents. As they did for their wedding, the royal couple may encourage friends to make a donation to charity instead.
Who will be the godparents? Traditionally, the couple's best man and maid of honor are later asked to stand as godparents for the couple's firstborn child, so Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton are probably at the top of the list. "'I think Harry and Pippa are very likely," Joe Little, Managing Editor of the Majesty royal magazine, told the Daily Mail. "Most people have just one or two godparents. But in royal circles you have a lot more, certainly William had quite a team. I rather think they won't have quite so many -- perhaps four. Harry would take care of the royal connection and Pippa would take care of the Middleton side." Among the other possibilities: Prince Wililam's childhood friends Thomas van Straubenzee and Edward, Hugh, Nicholas or William van Cutsem (Hugh's daughter, 3-year-old Grace, is Prince William's goddaughter; she was the adorably frowny child on the balcony at his wedding last year).
Isn't a princess supposed to stay out of the public eye when she's pregnant? Until recently, members of the royal family were not supposed to appear in public while visibly pregnant. Queen Elizabeth, for example, tended to minimize her royal schedule once her pregnancy was too advanced to hide under a buttoned-up coat; her younger sister, Princess Margaret, broke the unspoken rule and was seen out and about during the later stages of pregnancy. Princess Diana didn't disguise the fact that she was pregnant; she wore modest, flowing maternity smocks that hid her belly, but continued to attend official events well into her third trimester. Kate Middleton will probably do something similar (and she'll still be as stylish as ever).
Does it matter if the baby is a boy or a girl? Not any more. As of September, the couple's firstborn child will be heir to the throne of England no matter whether the baby is a boy or a girl. (Queen Elizabeth was only able to rule after her father's death because she didn't have any brothers; if she had, the throne would have gone to the eldest boy.) The rule change also allows a member of the royal family to remain in line of succession even if he or she marries a Roman Catholic; previously, Roman Catholics, those who marry a Roman Catholic, and those who were born out of wedlock were not allowed to rule the country.
Does the baby change the line of succession? Prince Charles is still next in line to the throne. Then comes Prince William, and then Prince Harry. Once the new baby is born, however, he or she will bump Prince Harry down in the line of succession, Cabinet officials have said.
Where will the baby be born? Traditionally, heirs to the British throne were born at home, in Buckingham Palace. But Princess Diana bucked the trend when she gave birth to Prince William and Prince Harry at St. Mary's Hospital in London.
Are royal husbands allowed in the birthing room? Prince Phillip played squash with three courtiers while then-Princess Elizabeth was giving birth to Prince Charles (other members of the Royal family waited by the well-stocked bar on the ground floor of Buckingham Palace while the princess was in labor upstairs). But when Prince William was born, Prince Charles stayed by Princess Diana's bedside.
How long must a princess wait before taking her baby out in public? The media caught its first glimpse of Prince William the day after he was born, when Princess Diana left St. Mary's Hospital carrying him, swaddled in a white blanket. But while he and his brother, Prince Harry, spent plenty of time in the public eye, other royal children had only limited exposure to the public. That may change with Will and Kate's little one, however. "There aren't really any rules in this day and age—things have really changed since when Charles and his siblings were born," royal family expert Victoria Arbiter told Yahoo! Shine. The deciding factor may well be "how well behaved the crowds and the paparazzi are," she added.
Do queens and princesses breastfeed? Queen Elizabeth was breastfed, and she chose to breastfeed her children, though a case of the measles forced her to wean Prince Charles when he was less than two months old. The Queen's younger sister, Princess Margaret, did not breastfeed at all. According to her biography, Princess Diana breastfed both Prince William and Prince Harry.
Who takes care of the baby right after it's born? Of course you'd expect a prince or princess to have plenty of help available. Queen Victoria used to supervise the baths of her nine children, but reportedly rarely touched them herself (babies, she once said, look "frightful when undressed"). Queen Elizabeth used to bathe and tuck her children into bed when she saw them, but they would spend months being looked after by royal staffers (and their doting grandparents) while she traveled with her husband or attended to official business. Though Princess Diana was a very hands-on parent, Prince William was so close to his nanny Olga Powell that, when Powell passed away earlier this year, he cancelled several official events in order to attend her funeral. Will and Kate "will probably have a nanny at some stage," Arbiter says, "simply because they're going to be working parents, and they'll need someone to leave the baby with that they trust." But given that they've refused to have a staff so far—no cooks or butlers for this modern royal couple," chances are that they won't be outsourcing their parenting duties. "Certainly at the beginning, when they're basking in the glow of having a new baby at home, they'll be trying to do everything themselves," Arbiter says. She's not ruling out some assistance from Kate's mother, though. "I'm sure Mama Middleton will be doing everything she can to help!"
What does a royal birth announcement look like? Royal birth announcements are traditionally made to the public via a note attached to the gates of Buckingham Palace. Prince William's read: "Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales was safely delivered of a son at 9:03pm today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well." These days, royal births are also announced via the Royal Family's official website as well. (Prince Harry heard that he's going to be an uncle via email—he's currently stationed in Afghanistan, and couldn't be reached on the phone.)
What will they name the child? Members of the British Royal Family usually have several names. Though many people hope that the couple goes with "Diana" if the baby is a girl, Arbiter says that it's unlikely. "They may certainly use Diana or indeed Diana's middle name, which was Frances, as a middle name for their child, but I don't think they would use her name as a first name," she told Yahoo! Shine's Jessica Ferri. "Too much history and pressure associated with the name, but I'm sure William would like to honor his mother if it feels right." (When Prince William was born, his hospital name tag simply read "Baby Wales.")
Will this baby have a title? The royal parents-to-be are officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their firstborn child will officially be His or Her Royal Highness the Prince or Princess of Cambridge. Any other children they have will receive the title of Lord or Lady until their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, dies; after that, they will all be Prince or Princess of Cambridge.
Princess Diana dressed her boys in long shorts and buttoned coats and Mary Jane–like shoes. Will Kate do the same with her baby? Princess Diana was very fashion forward, but when it came to clothes for her little princes she stuck to traditional British baby styles. Kate Middleton has always been a style icon, though, so she'll probably lean toward more modern kids' clothes. "They've been very keen to be as normal as possible, so they'll probably want to continue that," Arbiter says. But don't expect any outlandish outfits. "They're a very down to earth couple, but also quite old fashioned, so wouldn't expect anything too crazy."
Why do people think Kate is going to have twins? The fact that the royal newlyweds did not announce a pregnancy soon after their wedding sparked rumors of infertility. IVF treatments often results in twins or more, and the National Institute of Health says that women who are pregnant with twins have a greater chance of suffering from hyperemesis gravardarium.
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