Kate had won Britons’ hearts well before the conception of her and Prince William’s baby, who raised suspense within and outside the realm, not only for Baby’s sake but the future of the British monarchy.
That’s because Baby will one day sit on the throne, to reign after Grandfather, Charles and Father, William. The House of Windsor has a new child in direct line for succession for the first time in 31 years.
Hugo Vickers, Royal historian, said: “The birth of another generation of the Royal House of Windsor, in direct line of succession to the throne, is what the hereditary monarchy is all about. Each generation brings to it something of their own style, their own upbringing, their own mood of the times and so forth, which is as it should be. That is one of the advantages of a hereditary monarchy, that it has a sort of natural rejuvenation.”
‘Natural rejuvenation’ also known as ‘having babies’, yes.
What’s changed here is that new rules guarantee that this specific royal tyke will get the crown regardless of gender. Elizabeth II only got it because there was no brother, either older or younger, to pip her to the post.
It has been under debate for decades whether to put an end to the ancestral ‘boys first’ inequality. It took some of the pressure off having so many males available as other parts of the real world crept slowly towards perceived social-political correctness.
Queen Elizabeth’s second child was a girl, but Princess Anne was only eligible in eleventh place, her brother’s boys well up the queue. William was born with a royal sceptre in his fist. And if Charles and Diana had had a girl, at the time she’d have had a number rather like Anne’s.
Today’s rules have Charles on deck for when Elizabeth goes, then William as pinch hitter, then Baby! Harry even moves down the list if William and Kate have more kids. Afterwards it’s Uncle Andrew, Edward, their kids and so on.
The new rules are not retroactive.
They break the gender barrier but leave the age logic still soft.
Charles Mosley, ‘royal author’, said: “I don’t see that you are going to get more equality by replacing male superiority over female superiority with age superiority. Why should the eldest have a special right to anything as opposed to the youngest or the middle? It’s absurd. And of course that’s the point about monarchy, we can’t all be monarchs.”
Baby 2013, are you ready?
Don’t hold your breath. Elizabeth’s mother lived until age 101, and she is not fond of the idea of abdicating. Sooo.
Charles has been heir apparent for 64 years. It is his turn next, even though many would prefer William to leapfrog him – so much more modern. Who knows how the Monarchy will look when it’s Baby’s turn?