Royal baby birth: A British mom talks about what it means to her children
The royal baby birth is check-out counter tabloid color for Americans; but for the British, it can hold deep emotion. One mom talks about her own evolution: from the knight in shining armor sensibilities of early childhood, to rebellious anti-monarchy diatribes as a teen, to the sense of national unity her kids witness with a new generation of royals.
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As I think of these things I watch my daughter’s reaction to the status quo. She asks me if Catherine is a princess, which leads me to explain how the peerage system works. It introduces her to what it means to be British, while nurturing my own patriotism. Morgan thinks the Duchess is ”cool” to have visited the scouts. She is equally concerned that she hasn’t visited the Brownies, more particularly her pack, I shouldn’t wonder! She asks at the breakfast table if Kate has had the baby yet. This in turn sparks the same flurry of questions from my 3-year-old. Who is having a baby? Who is Kate? Is the baby a boy or a girl? I’m curious to know what Morgan’s memories will be of these moments when she is older.Skip to next paragraph
Charlie Moseley is the Chief Freedom Sentinel at WorldBlu. Born in Surrey, Canada, she now lives in Cornwall, UK, with her husband and two young girls. They have a springer spaniel that gives them the run around more than their two children.
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My own views changed in my teenage years when I was swayed by popular criticism of the royal household, as an obsolete tradition taking more than was due from the state. I recall my parents’ frustration with me, the debates with them about the topic. The climax of this was a Christmas gathering at which I refused to stand for “God Save the Queen.” I was the only one. I could not see why I should when I wholeheartedly rejected the institution.
But I now cringe at that memory, in part, because the royal family has considerably reduced its support from taxpayers, but also because I understand more of its key role in our nation and how much of their work goes unsung.
The British monarchy, without question, is a global ambassador for our nation. Others view them with affection and curiosity, and this makes them a major tourist attraction bringing sizable revenue to our country. But they are more than that. They unite us, giving us a sense of nation. And to me, the royal family is part of our identity; providing continuity through the ages. But it is also true to say that the issue of monarchy still divides opinion.
The paparazzi hounded Prince Charles and Princess Diana – through their unhappy marriage, their separation, and divorce and into life and death beyond that – because we, the people, wanted the detail. We didn’t seem to consider that it was a complete invasion of their privacy. We were happy to support the obsession, making every publication that had Diana’s face on it a sell out.
Then, one early morning in September 1997, my father came in to my room to break the news: Diana was dead. He had been listening to the story unfold through the night. I had to travel through London on the day of her funeral. There are no words to truly describe what I saw. I would think it was rather like after the Blitz. People crying, walking around looking lost. Complete strangers were consoling each other. We were a nation united by our loss. As sad as the moment was, I saw it as one good example of the way the royals bring us together.
The post Diana era was rocky for the royal family – the nation had fallen out of love with them. Like a child scorned, the monarchy went away to lick its wounds while the nation struggled to find a way forward.
But the engagement of Catherine Middleton to Prince William was a rebirth – the love was back. Coupled with the Olympic games, the royal wedding meant our nation had pride in its heritage once more. These two events brought everything that is quintessentially British into the present. It allowed the nation to celebrate being us, something I feel we have not always felt right and proper in recent times.
The story for me has now come full circle: I have a daughter who is near the age I was at the time of Charles and Diana’s wedding. That royal couple’s son and his wife are now giving us a new generation of the royal family. And I watch my child with my mother’s eyes.
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