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
I discussed the history of royal nannies from Queen Victoria’s reign to the present with Kat Hopps at the Daily Express. There have been significant changes in the role of the royal nanny in the past two hundred years. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the royal nursery was the nanny’s domain and problems in the nursery might take months or years to come to the attention of the children’s parents. Royal nannies are more carefully supervised today.
Another key change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries is presence of royal children and their nannies on royal tours, a trend that is likely to continue when Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex resume their Commonwealth tours after the birth of their child.
My most recent article in the Historica Canada Canadian Encyclopedia is about Victor Christian William Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire, Governor General of Canada (1916–1921) and politician. The Duke of Devonshire took a strong interest in the development of Canadian agriculture and established the Duke of Devonshire Trophy for the Ottawa Horticultural Society. As Governor General, the Duke of Devonshire hosted the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) at Rideau Hall in 1919 and the article includes photographs from the royal tour.
I discussed royal parenting and royal nannies with Kat Hopps at the Daily Express. With the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby expected to arrive in within weeks, there is widespread speculation in the British press concerning the childcare arrangements. I discussed the place of grandparents in the upbringing of royal children, the role of royal nannies and compared Queen Elizabeth II’s and Queen Victoria’s approaches to guiding their extended families.