Well hello to Baby Sussex
Just in case you have been living under a very large rock for the last couple of days there is a new addition to the British royal family. As yet – though this may change as Wednesday rolls by – there is no picture of the infant and no news as to what he might be called, or even whether he will assume any royal title a move that is in the sole gift of the Queen. Babies pop into the world every second of every day everywhere in the world without much by way of fanfare beyond their immediate families, but young Sussex is a bit different and for better or worse he is going to remain a bit different for the rest of his life, and depending on how he lives that life well beyond his demise. He is already a part of history, and it is a burden he may not thank his parents for down the line.
Unsurprisingly the British media went into overdrive, as did, at least briefly, the media in other countries as well most notably the United States ‘cos baby Sussex is not only part American he is of mixed race, a fact that has inspired some of the most tasteless racist comments I have seen published in many a year. Our screens were filled by the hapless royal correspondents of assorted channels who had to hang around outside Buck House or Windsor Castle and blather on interminably about what rapidly became non-news. Non-News? Well there was very little to say because the parents had decided to limit how much they put in the public domain, and they did it very well. There were no leaks, no bedside anecdotes from those that attended the birth, and those royal correspondents were left with nothing to say except a rehash of whatever it was the last time their slot came up on the regular bulletins.
All this nothingness went down like the proverbial lead balloon with the Brit media accustomed as they are to post-partum photo-shoots with bundle on the steps of wherever the child had entered this mortal coil. Oh dear me were they huffed. Even the BBC royal correspondent who has been covering this stuff since King Arthur was born noted the ‘change in protocol’ as if Mum and Dad Sussex had not every right to keep whatever they wanted to themselves.
There has been further apoplexy over the invitation to the natal photoshoot that has been extended to an American network, CBS, one of whose correspondents just happens to be an old mate of Mrs Sussex and who will now join a very small band of snappers for a look in. No names yet on who that might be but there will be fulmination in the pics departments of every publication that did not make the cut, and who will be obliged to share the pool piccies with credits as and when they appear. Oh dear. How sad. My heart bleeds for them. Not.
As an exercise in media management it is so far game, set and match to the Sussex’s. Clearly any number of hard lessons have been learned by the Sussex household, and there is no love lost between Mr Sussex – whose mother died being pursued by the wolves of the Fourth Estate – and grubby journos grifting for a headline. He has delivered the royal equivalent of an upwards pointing middle digit with the ‘suck on this’ caption. Oh deary me…protocol huh? Yup…defenestrated.
With the rest of the royals who happened in front of a camera post to the event there was a similar smiling set of passive platitudes. Not a hint of red meat and they were obviously in on the Sussex’s playbook and stringing along nicely. Wonderful things, families. Sometimes.
The poor child will now enter a life of privilege no matter how hard Mum and Dad try to play that one down. He will learn to adapt to being the umpteenth in line for the throne there needing to be a cull of Romanov proportions to see him ever sit there, and he will go to school, perhaps have a brother or sister, be forced into the ridiculously 50’s clothing favoured by the royals for their kids and then photographed and eventually come out the other end, hopefully alive and kicking to make his own way.
So let us wish Baby Sussex well. He did not ask to be born after all, none of us did. His is not going to be an easy life, money does not insulate you from cruel jibes and intrusive snappery and there is going to be plenty of both as soon as he puts his nose out of the door of the nursery. And for those of you who have welcomed a newborn in the last few days well just count yourself, and your offspring, lucky to be enveloped in anonymity. Tootle-pip!