Can we all just take a moment to give props to Kate Middleton for being a total badass?
At 6am on Saturday, she arrived at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. At 8.34am, Kate gave birth to her daughter, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana weighing 8lb 3oz and at 6.10pm, she emerged on to the steps of the hospital, new baby in her arms, to face the world’s media.
This piece isn’t about Kate’s buttercup print Jenny Packham dress, her perfectly coiffed hair or even the fact that she was wearing heels. It’s about the strength of character it must have taken to go through the profound and intensely private experience of childbirth and still have the good grace and true grit to present herself and her vulnerable newborn to the hungry press and entire planet in the name of ‘duty’.
Ask any woman who’s ever given birth and, even if the experience was hitch-free, she’ll tell you it’s no picnic. But at least once it’s over, she gets to cocoon herself away from the rest of the world, preferably wearing slippers. Those first tentative hours and days with a new baby are fuelled by raw emotion. I remember cautiously stepping out of the hospital doors with my own daughter for the first time and wanting to generate a force field around her like Violet in The Incredibles, to protect her from what felt like a particularly big, noisy, scary world.
Which is why I have so much respect for Kate Middleton. Yes, there is a certain amount of responsibility and decorum expected of the Royal Family but just because we expect it, does not mean that it’s easy. Her serene, smiling demeanor belied any suggestion of the squall of emotions that she must have been feeling.
Of course Kate set this exemplary standard when she first presented Prince George to the world in 2013 so I understand why there seems to have been complacency second time round. I understand but I don’t agree! This isn’t a ‘so-what-no-biggie’ situation.
The Private Eye got it right with the front cover they printed when Prince George was born: ‘Woman has baby’. Yes, the headline was meant to undercut the hype that had surrounded the first royal baby but I didn’t read that in a reductive way. On the contrary. Having a baby is a headline-making moment in any person’s life and in this instance, we need to remember the person and not just the public persona.
Kate, you’re a badass - we salute you.