On Wednesday, palace officials released the name of their son, George Alexander Louis. (That's HRH Prince George of Cambridge if you're feeling formal.) Only hours before the naming news, Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit to the couple's Kensington Palace home to meet her grandson. Family will play an important role for the new parents in the coming weeks.
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Despite their ability to afford top-notch childcare, multiple sources claim the couple have not hired a full-time nanny. The palace would not comment on their staffing situation, but it’s been widely reported that William and Kate want to be hands-on parents, veering away from the royal tradition of round-the-clock professional childcare. (The Daily Beast claims they’ll have a part-time nanny for “security purposes," and they've already reportedly hired one of Queen Elizabeth's trusted servants to clean their home.)William changed his son’s first nappy in the hospital, and he’s taking two weeks paternity leave from the Royal Air Force to hunker down with his new family, first at Kensington Palace, and now at Kate's parents' home in Bucklebury. The couple departed for Carole and Michael Middleton's countryside home on Wednesday, according to reports.
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Carole and Michael Middleton were the first visitors to the hospital, and are expected to serve as baby back-up for the new parents. Carole, who spoke of her “amazing” first cuddle with her grandson on Tuesday, may become the unofficial nanny once William returns to Ardsley to resume his training.
But first, William will probably do a lot more diaper changes, and get a lot less sleep.
“Sleep for most new parents is really hard to come by because the baby’s needs are twenty-four seven, so even during their sleeping hours, you’re still on,” Dr. Karen Ruskin, a licensed marriage and family therapist, told Yahoo! Shine. “Any routine or structure you had in your life is gone those first few days and weeks with a newborn.”
Adding to their routine shift is their home renovation. The sizable Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace is undergoing a $1.5 million revamp, to be completed before the year's end. It will undoubtedly include a nursery fit for a king. Kate’s rumored to have chosen an earth-toned color scheme for his majesty.
For now, the couple is expected to bounce between Bucklebury and their two-bedroom temporary home in Kensington Palace, dubbed “Notts Cottage.”
In the next few weeks, Kate and William will likely keep visitors to a minimum. “I think it will be very difficult to get in to see the baby,” Royal expert Henry Meller told Yahoo! Shine. “Just very close friends and family for now.” While some new moms welcome the crowds, Kate has had more than most. (Remember that Live Stream footage outside her hospital doors?).
Even family drop-ins can be taxing on new moms, said Ruskin. “There are many women who feel overwhelmed as far as balancing family. The fact is there’s a lot of family relationship dynamics and when you have a baby you don’t want to deal with that stuff.”
Kate has proven herself a gracious host and a model of propriety under pressure, but on Tuesday outside the hospital she appeared overwhelmed, and rightfully so.
"It's very emotional," Middleton said. "It's such a special time. I think any parent will know what this feeling feels like."
But no other parent can relate to having the world’s most famous newborn. News of the young prince’s arrival launched a million Facebook mentions in under a minute and dominated Twitter. Public reaction ranged from celebratory to, what the Telegraph’s Allison Pearson called, “a twinge of disappointment.” “Many of us had been hoping for a girl, believing that we do rather better queens than kings,” she wrote about news of the prince. Tina Brown and CNN’s Victoria Arbiter, meanwhile, came under fire for comments about the joys of a male heir. It was just another early lesson for the royal parents of the first monarch born in an era of social media. Every decision they make — or don’t make — is under the microscope.
And for new parents there are plenty of decisions, starting with purchases. That royal baby car-seat William snapped into his Range Rover? It’s A Britax Baby-Safe Infant Carrier, according to the Daily Mail, which instantly published an entire article about the item. (It’s won a consumer award and is apparently really easy to use.) Then there are the baby clothes—which could impact the retail industry if Kate has any say, and she does.
There’s also the matter of the child’s first official photo, which the palace will release at some undisclosed time in the near future. Most likely, it will be released before the royal baptism, another family tradition scheduled for about a month after a royal birth. William had his at 45-days-old, surrounded by the palace’s inner-circle.
During Prince William’s first two months, his parents stayed largely out of the spotlight. Princess Diana took on the majority of his care-taking, but after 10 weeks, she hired Barbara Barnes, a veteran nanny who would care for William for the next four years. But in those first weeks of his life, Diana, just 20 at the time, and Charles nested as best they could in Kensington Palace, bonding with their new son. Around that time, Charles described his newborn to reporters as, “very well, but very noisy."
Thirty-one years later, William stood with his own heir in his arms, and said: "He's got a good pair of lungs. That's for sure." Like father, like son.