8 Things To Expect While Kate's Expecting
Royal Baby Fever is set to seize the world for the next year, at least. Are you prepared?
1. "Diana" will probably be somewhere in the baby's name.
To be royal means that you have an ungodly amount of names. Like, three or four, instead of just a first and middle name like normal people. So, William's full name, excluding his last name, is "William Arthur Phillip Louis." His dad Prince Charles's full name — "Charles Phillip Arthur George" — is so complicated it was famously bungled by Diana when they got married. (She said "Phillip Charles Arthur George" during the ceremony, which seemed like a great reason to cut back on the number of names these people have, but royals don't like to edit tradition, you know.) Whether or not the royals smoke something crazy and decide to give Kate's baby two names like their commoner mother (Kate = Catherine Elizabeth. SIMPLE.), they'll have opportunity to work "Diana" in there somewhere if Kate births a daughter.
Royals expert Diane Clehane, author of Diana: Secrets of Her Style, says she doesn't see them giving the maybe-daughter "Diana" as a first name, "but I see Diana's name in there somewhere." Of course it would be pretty awesome if they had a girl and Diana WAS the first name! "I sort of have this fantasy in my head they'll have a girl and they'll name her Diana," Clehane says, "and she'll be queen and Diana will have had her revenge in the end."
2. Kate's pregnancy will be totally different from Diana's.
The royal family has been very welcoming and protective of Kate. Things were very different for Diana, who had no one when she was 20 years old, married Prince Charles, and suddenly folded into royal life after dating the prince for just months. This combined with Camilla's continued presence in Charles's life led to a disastrous end to their marriage that disgraced the royal family.
"There would be no Kate if there had not been Diana," Clehane notes. "The royal family learned a very tragic lesson with Diana — this is what happens when you try to force the hand of a relationship that looks good on paper but isn't meant to be." Clehane thinks that this is partly why the royal family was open to William marrying a commoner like Kate.
Kate is getting a lot more coddling from the palace than Diana ever did, because the future of the royal family rests on her and William and their children. Keenly aware that you can't have a "royal family" without the "family" part, the palace has taken great care of her up until now to make sure the marriage succeeds. That ought to only continue while Kate and William are royally pregnant.
3. This is going to be the most highly documented bump watch of our time.
"I wrote a book on Diana, and when I was doing the book I found reams of photographs — there were rooms of photos at photo agencies that had never been looked at," Clehane says. But Kate, "is going to take a step from her door to her car and it's going to be published [immediately]." But you knew that — you're breathlessly reading this post, after all, and demand for we Internet content creators to serve you!
4. The palace will probably release enough information about the pregnancy and birth to satiate the public's appetite for Kate news — but nothing salacious.
Since the royal wedding, Kate has made enough appearances to let people know that she's around, wearing pretty coats, being a great princess/duchess, etc. but would never come close to reaching off-putting, Kardashian levels of exposure. "She makes enough appearances to satisfy people's curiosity, but not too much," says Clehane, who expects the palace to smartly manage news about her pregnancy, as they did the royal wedding with a pretty website that had lots of useful information about what fabrics the Duchess's dress was made of, and things like that. "Every morning TV show had a [royal wedding] website but none came as close to being as well-produced and packaged as the palace's," Clehane says.
Now, today's announcement was surely not ideal; Kate is reportedly less than 12 weeks pregnant (most high-profile pregnancies are not announced until the first trimester is completed). The Daily Mail reports the queen didn't even know that Kate was pregnant until the decision was made to take her to the hospital. Anyway, rather than be secretive about it, the palace just came out with the information, which suggests they'll be reasonably forthcoming moving forward.
One thing you won't hear about is any Blue Ivy-type extravagance, like that the baby got a solid gold rocking horse toy or that Kate had a diva-style birth that involved closing down an entire hospital wing and installing special bullet-proof doors. Even if that's how the Duchess and Duke roll, they're not going to be tacky and let the public know the baby nursery is totally saturated with diamonds and has a few small thrones inside.
5. The media will probably respect Kate's privacy, for the most part.
The British papers, which are merciless, didn't all publish the topless photos of the Duchess that came out in September. Nor did American tabloids, who want to maintain good relations with the palace, and seem to have a protective attitude toward Kate. As long as the palace gives them enough information about the baby to keep the public satisfied, the press should maintain as respectful a distance as the relentless pace of internet media will allow. "But it will be a challenge," Clehane says. "This is the story everyone's been waiting for."
6. Kate is pretty much guaranteed to have a photo op on Christmas.
Per tradition, the royals will all go to Christmas mass. Provided Kate's well enough to go, expect some nice shots of her to come out. So before you rush to the Christmas tree when you wake up on December 25, roll over and google "Kate Middleton" on your phone and see what she wore. It'll give you something really fun to talk about over Christmas waffles!
7. Her maternity clothes will sell out.
But don't expect them to emerge for a while. When Kate makes appearances, "nine times out of ten she's wearing something she's worn before," Clehane says (which, of course, does not stop all of us from freaking out about all her outfits). "I think we'll see her wear a lot of the clothes she's had for as long as she can." But whatever she wears for her first clear BUMP moment is going to become an instant sensation and sell out everywhere, like the white Reiss dress she wore for her engagement portrait, Clehane suspects. "Certainly she's going to become the poster girl for the yummy mummy." Sorry, Jessica Alba! Your reign is THROUGH.
8. Kate's stroller and diaper bag will become instant sensations.
"The opportunity she'll have to be a style setter is when she's photographed with the baby paraphernalia," Clehane says. Think strollers, diaper bags, etc. I expect baby-sized crowns and scepters to also fly off shelves. But mostly, whatever stroller she's pushing her kid in will probably sell out. But no matter what, big waves in the world of baby things will soon be made.