The new third in line to the British Throne is already set to
be one of the most talked about, written about, analysed and
critiqued babies in the world - months before he or she is
Royal baby fever is sweeping the Commonwealth - and likely
further afield - with the announcement this week Prince
William and his wife Catherine are expecting a child.
Book-makers are offering odds on the baby's name, sex,
weight, hair colour, date and time of birth and its
godparents; and forensic artists have already generated
pictures of what the baby could look like.
The announcement has been highly anticipated since the
couple's wedding in April last year and recent speculation
the 30-year-old Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant. The
announcement is a fitting one to end the Queen's Diamond
Jubilee year, and will ensure the continued popularity of the
Royals, already enjoying a rebirth through the glamorous
duchess and her well-liked husband, and the pomp and ceremony
around the successful jubilee events and tours.
Despite the global excitement, and the joy the news must
bring to the couple and the rest of the Royal Family, there
is no doubt the couple face a tough road ahead, not helped by
the worrying start.
The announcement was made prematurely because of the duchess'
hospitalisation for acute morning sickness, and it is early
days in terms in the pregnancy, when there are still risks
involved. Despite such an intensely personal experience,
which is also physically and emotionally demanding, the
couple continue to have the full glare of the world media
spotlight on them.
While they will both have been fully aware of the interest
the news would spark, it is to be hoped people will respect
their privacy and they will not be hounded. Certainly, public
opinion polls have shown the couple should be allowed to stay
out of the limelight while they start a family, and a
''prank'' call made to the King Edward VII Hospital in London
by two Sydney radio show broadcasters - in which a nurse gave
details of the duchess' condition - received world-wide
While there was more respect for royal privacy and press
ethics in the wake of the car crash that claimed the life of
Diana, Princess of Wales, and British press behaviour has
changed in light of the Leveson report into press standards,
there is still no guarantee media in other countries respect
such privacy - as the recently published topless photographs
of the duchess prove.
As well as public pressure, the couple are also likely to
face periods of separation as Prince William continues his
commitments as a search and rescue helicopter pilot with the
RAF. But the duchess will be well-supported by her own family
and the Royal household.
Changes to succession rules will mean the couple's child is
guaranteed third in line to inherit the Throne - after Prince
Charles and Prince William, and before Prince Harry -
regardless of its sex. There will now perhaps be further
calls for Prince Charles to step aside, leaving the Throne to
Prince William and then his child. Whether that happens
remains to be seen.
In the meantime, wellwishers the world over will be hoping
the duchess recovers and the rest of her pregnancy goes
smoothly. And then, as the big day approaches, the middle of
next year is likely to see the birth of complete media mania
in the rush to publish the first pictures of the new royal.
And another thing
Otago and Dunedin cricket fans are rightly proud of the
sporting exploits of Brendon McCullum. The boy who first
turned out competitively for the city's Albion club is now
one of the most highly regarded players on the international
scene, especially in the limited-overs forms of the game.
However, no matter the outcome of the saga surrounding the
captaincy of New Zealand's national cricket team, the
subterfuge of the past days has been a poor look for the
game's administrators in this country, and for coach Mike
It could, and should, have been handled better.