celebrity

Royals shouldn't try to be 'normal'. Harry and Meghan's birth plan will backfire.

The tabloids are p**sed. Seriously, we’re not sure they’ve ever been this mad. See, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have decided to keep the birth of their first child “private”. No photographs on the steps of the famous Lindo Wing, with the new mum trying to ignore the fact her groin is on fire, that she is suddenly responsible for a human life and may never sleep well again.

Instead, the world’s most famous couple has chosen to lay low after the arrival of the newest Royal.

“Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private,” Kensington Palace said in a statement last week. “The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”

The move is completely understandable. But that doesn’t mean it’s smart.

Video by Mamamia

The gossip mags, heck even ‘serious’ news outlets, won’t sit back and wait patiently for the Duke and Duchess to drop snaps on their newly created Instagram account. They won’t suddenly respect the world’s most famous couple’s wish for space and privacy on what will likely be the biggest day of their lives.

That’s not how tabloid media works, and they know it. The press and the Royal family have a symbiotic relationship. It’s why the staged photo calls exist, and have done for the past four decades – to control the narrative. Give them a little taste every now and then, they’ll be satisfied. Starve them, and they’ll turn rabid.

By keeping mum on the details, they will indirectly set loose swarms of reporters and photographers on every building with birthing facilities anywhere even vaguely near the Royal residence. London’s midwives and doulas and nurses and obstetricians will be hounded for clues and potential leaks.

“Keeping the nation in the dark over details, even after the birth, is a bad look for the royal couple,” Britain’s biggest tabloid, The Sun, spat in an editorial earlier in the week. “The public has a right to know about the lives of those largely funded by their taxes. You can accept that, or be private citizens. Not both.”

Jan Moir was a tad more polite in her column for The Daily Mail: “While a new baby is a deeply personal and private event, a royal baby is also a totem of national celebration, a beacon of British joy. What is the point of royals unless we can celebrate their baby royals in a totally bonkers British orgy of bunting, popping corks and knitted bootees? Two or three days later, it just won’t be the same.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Amal And George Clooney attend the royal wedding. (Image: Getty)

Harry and Meghan need not look far to see the lesson in this. Their friends, George and Amal Clooney, chose a similar tactic for the birth of their twins in 2017. And it did nothing but increase curiosity.

The paparazzi instead used whatever means necessary to feed the public's hunger for images of the couple with newborn Ella and Alexander. Some even scaled the walls of the couple's Lake Como property to covertly photograph the new family - a gross and reprehensible intrusion.

The sad reality is, had they shared a photograph on their own terms (even without the children's faces), magazines and websites would not have compelled photographers to go to those lengths. For the sake of cost-saving, if nothing else.

And with the Royal couple the same will likely be true.

Of course, no one is expecting a Facebook stream from inside the birthing suite, or that Harry live-Tweet the labour... though let's be honest, we'd follow ("Hour 16: 8cm dilated. Inhuman noises. Much swearing. My reminders about breathing no longer welcome.")

But whether or not you believe the Royals "owe" us details or photographs of their baby, it seems clear it would sap some of the strength from the savage tabloid scrum. And goodness knows, that's a good thing.

READ MORE:

00:00 / ???