The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed a baby boy today. The newborn is 7th in line to the throne after his grandfather Prince Charles, uncle Prince William, cousins Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and father Prince Harry. Just before the birth, I discussed the historical significance of the royal baby in an extended interview with Natalie Escobar at The Atlantic.
I discussed the history of speculation and rumours surrounding royal births from the seventeenth century to the present day with Janet Davison at CBC News. The article also discusses the reports that that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may live abroad at some point in the future. The royal couple’s first child is expected to arrive in the next few days, prompting widespread conjecture concerning the young family’s eventual plans for travel within the Commonwealth.
In previous interviews, I discussed the possibility of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby being born at home. There are certainly other potential locations for the birth including National Health Service hospitals near Windsor. In an interview with Ciaran McGrath at the Daily Express, I discussed great-grandchildren of the Queen who were born in NHS hospitals, the media scrutiny faced by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s child, and the future role of the 7th in line to the throne.
I discussed the history of royal parenting and how royal babies were fed over the past few centuries with Aly Walansky at Today. The debate concerning whether royal mothers should nurse their own children dates from the late eighteenth century when French Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau objected to the prevalence of wet nurses employed to feed and care for infants. Marie Antoinette briefly nursed her daughter Marie-Therese over the objections of her own mother, Empress Maria Theresa and Queen Victoria’s daughters nursed their children despite the Queen’s distaste for the practice. The controversy surrounding royal mothers nursing their own children continued until the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II’s children in the mid 20th century.
I discussed the history of royal births with Janet Davison at CBC News including the experiences of the Tudors and Queen Victoria. The arrival of a royal child prompts discussion of centuries old traditions but each generation of the royal family also introduces their own innovations, responding to the cultural trends of their times and shaping these trends. With the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby due any day, there is growing interest in how the arrival of the latest royal child will shape parenting trends in the 21st century.
I discussed royal parenting over the past century with Laura T. Coffey from Today. One hundred years ago, King George V’s and Queen Mary’s youngest son Prince John died following an epileptic seizure. While his parents grieved his loss, his daily care had been entrusted almost entirely to his governess Charlotte Bill, and he resided in his own residence, the Wood Farm cottage on the Sandringham Estate. Royal parents are far more involved in the daily care of their children today, a trend that will continue with the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby.
I discussed the history of royal baby names with Kat Hopps at the Daily Express. While royalty often choose names that belonged to royal relatives or godparents for their children, there are also examples of Kings and Queens choosing a names from the contemporary names of their times. I was also asked to suggest to some possible royal baby names and my ideas are included in the article.
My royal baby name ideas are also included in Baby Sussex: The final royal baby name predictions are here in Image Magazine
I discussed the history of royal births with Olivia B. Waxman at TIME. The circumstances surrounding the arrival of royal children have changed over successive centuries from the secluded atmosphere of a Tudor confinement to the summoning of a French midwife by Charles I’s queen, Henrietta Maria to the presence of the Home Secretary at royal births until the arrival of Prince Charles in 1948. The birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s child will be part of this long history of tradition and innovation in the royal birth chamber.
I discussed the history of royal births with Eun Kim at Today.com. Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have decided to keep plans to for the arrival of their baby private, which has prompted speculation concerning whether they will choose a hospital or a private residence for the birth.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
“A home birth would be a return to earlier royal traditions,” said historian Carolyn Harris, author of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting.
Home births were actually common for women of all social backgrounds in the United Kingdom until the creation of the National Health Service in 1948, the turning point for hospital births.
But there was another reason for members of the royal family to continue delivering their children behind palace walls.
“For royalty, home births had the advantage of privacy and all the space to accommodate large numbers of official and personal visitors without inconveniencing other families in a hospital,” Harris said.
I discussed potential names for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby with Sylvia Hui at the Associated Press. For a baby girl, possibilities include Diana, the name of Prince Harry’s late mother, Elizabeth, the name of Harry’s grandmother the Queen, and Alice, which was the name of Harry’s great-grandmother, Prince Philip’s mother Princess Alice of Battenberg.
Other possible names include Ruth, a name of great-grandmothers of both Harry and Meghan, and Eleanor, the name of a series of 12th and 13th century English queens including the famous Eleanor of Aquitaine as well as American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
For more about the history of royal baby names, see my book Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting