The Duchess of Cambridge with the newborn Prince George of Cambridge in July, 2013
The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby girl at 8:34am (BT) on May 2. The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz and the Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital. My interview with Today.com discusses the experiences of past royal second children. In the past century, the press has often portrayed ‘the spare’ as the more spontaneous royal sibling, enjoying wealth and privilege without the responsibilities of kingship. Over the long course of royal history, however, there has always been the distinct possibility that a second royal child might succeed to the throne. The most recent “spare” to become the reigning monarch was Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI.
Click here to read “Could she be queen? See where the new royal baby fits in line to the throne”
The interview also mentions my first book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada: Democracy, Law, and Human Rights, which was published today!
Queen Mary with her granddaughters Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret.
My latest interview for CBC.ca discusses “The risks and rewards of being ‘the spare’ to the throne.” For recent “spares” such as Princess Margaret, Prince Andrew and Prince Harry, there has been the challenge of carving out a meaningful role in public life. Both Andrew and Harry experienced success in their military careers but Andrew has faced criticism since leaving the military and there is speculation that Harry may face challenges finding a new role once he finishes his secondment with the Australian forces.
For the Queen’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, life as “the spare” initially seemed glamorous but she was discouraged from marrying the man she loved and, like Prince Andrew, was criticized for her travel and spending. Before the current reign, however, “the spare” had a good chance of succeeding to the throne. George VI, George V, Charles I and Henry VIII were all second sons while Elizabeth I and Queen Anne were second daughters. There have been other monarchs were born even further down the line of succession. Henry I, King John and Richard III were all fourth surviving sons and Queen Victoria was the daughter of King George III’s fourth son.
Click here to read “Royal Baby 2: The risks and rewards of being ‘the spare’ to the throne”
Princess Alice of Battenberg (1885-1969), mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
My latest interview on the history of royal baby names, “Alice’ and ‘Arthur’ lead the pack as Royal baby name game heats up at U.K. bookmakers” is in the National Post. There is widespread speculation that the royal baby will be a girl. Both of the names favoured by the British bookmakers, Alice and Charlotte have royal antecedents. Queen Victoria’s second daughter was Princess Alice of Hesse-Darmstadt and her great-granddaughter was Princess Alice of Battenberg, the mother of Prince Philip. One of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone was the consort of the Governor General of Canada during the Second World War.
Charlotte was a popular royal name in Georgian England as it was the name of George III’s queen, Charlotte of Mecklenberg, her daughter, Princess Charlotte of Württemberg and her ill fated granddaughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales, who died in childbirth in 1817, giving birth to a stillborn son. Princess Charlotte of Wales was second-in-line to the throne at the time of her death and her pregnancy was the first instance of bookmakers taking bets on whether a royal baby would be a boy or a girl.
Click here to read Alice’ and ‘Arthur’ lead the pack as Royal baby name game heats up at U.K. bookmakers