What Will Baby Sussex’s First Year Look Like? Very Private, if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Have Their Way
The new royal baby will have a childhood unlike anyone else in the world. Here’s how it might play out.
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Last week, a Twitter user wandering in Windsor Great Park, which the Frogmore Estate where Harry and Meghan now live adjoins, posted a gorgeous picture of some of the deer that live in the massive park munching on grass glistening with early-morning dew. It was a powerful illustration of the stunning natural surroundings which Baby Sussex will grow up in.
There is little doubt that, like all new parents, Harry and Meghan want to create a perfect environment for their new baby, which is, presumably, at least part of the reason why they have moved to the bucolic splendor of deer-stocked Frogmore.
Their new home is kitted out with everything a new couple could want and more, both inside and outside.
Palace sources, seeking to play down rumors of a feud between the Sussex and Cambridge encampments, have stressed to The Daily Beast that the move to Windsor was particularly born out of a desire for private outside space for their new child and any brothers or sisters that may come along, but we have also been told that Meghan has developed a passion for the British countryside.
It was what first drew her and Harry to rent a cottage in the countryside near Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds, and, when that bolthole proved impractical to keep, the same thirst for green space, and lots of it, prompted the surprise move to Frogmore.
The extent to which the couple have guarded the privacy of their child during her pregnancy, in stark contrast to the way that William and Kate consented to be photographed on the hospital steps, suggests that a fierce and ongoing attempt to protect the baby from prying eyes and the long lenses of the press will be the family’s first priority.
Of course, their rural location will make this much easier. Although Frogmore Cottage can be glimpsed from Windsor Great Park, this is a relatively easy area to police. Unwelcome intruders can be easily moved on, because, although it is open to the public, the park is completely owned and controlled by the Crown.
It’s much easier to manage security at your own home, so don’t expect the royal baby to leave the compound much in the first years of life, apart from when the royal parents undertake overseas tours, which will probably provide one of the few opportunities for photographs.
It’s hard to imagine Meghan leaving the baby behind as Kate sometimes did. We’ll probably see fewer joint engagements for the couple in the first year; in fact, in what might be a test run, next week Harry is scheduled to make a two-day trip to the Netherlands to launch the forthcoming Invictus Games.
Security and privacy concerns will likely mean that potential playmates will come to Frogmore, rather than the baby going to them, although as older parents Meghan and Harry might struggle to find local friends her own age with kids.
The closest royal babies in age are Prince Louis, and Zara Tindall’s youngest child, Lena. Cienna Finch, the 11-month-old daughter of Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs, a close friend of Prince William and the founder of Beulah London, could be on the guest list for any baby birthday parties as well.
While royal babies have traditionally been cared for by a platoon of nannies and night nurses—and there are rumors that Meghan is looking for a male American Manny to join the staff—Meghan is resurrecting an older tradition: having her mother over to help.
Doria Ragland has been a great source of comfort and reassurance for Meghan as her relationship with her father, Thomas, has exploded very publicly. Although sources have sought to downplay suggestions that Doria will move to the U.K. permanently to be by her daughter’s side, it seems certain that she will be a regular if not constant presence in Meghan’s life.
Sadly, it seems inevitable that Thomas Markle will play no part in his grandchild’s life. Meghan has made it clear she has no intentions of rebuilding relations with her father.
Meghan has been widely reported to be using the natural pain-management technique of hypnobirthing as she prepares for the birth, and given her and Harry’s interest in physical and mental wellness, it seems likely they will be adherents to the latest trends of infant development.
For example, their luxuriously refurbished home contains a yoga studio where the baby will likely be introduced to baby yoga by its mother (and grandmother).
It has also been reported that Harry and Meghan have created a gender-neutral nursery for Baby Sussex. This may not just be to discourage gender stereotyping; there is evidence that babies predominantly see in black and white, and therefore find more visual definition in grays, whites, blacks and chalks, which makes these colors more soothing.
We are unlikely to see Meghan and Harry rushing their kid into nursery or preschool; more and more evidence has built up to show the benefits of delaying the start of schooling as long as possible. They may even avail themselves of another old-but-new-again trend of bringing tutors into the house to teach specific skills.
But the biggest issue for Baby Sussex’s guardians will undoubtedly be privacy. It remains to be seen exactly how and how often the happy parents will post baby pictures on their new Instagram feed, but don’t expect it to be more than two or three times in the first year.
The palace this week released three pictures of Princess Charlotte taken by Kate to mark her 4th birthday. Charlotte was wearing a blue floral Liberty print dress, with a white Peter Pan collar in one image and a gray cashmere cardigan in another.
She looked adorable, but it was interesting to note how Kate’s highly conventional style is expressed and reflected in the clothes she chooses for her daughter.
Meghan, as we all know, has more glamorous tastes; how she chooses to dress her child and present it to the world will likely be a subject of fascination for years to come, and a key clue to how the newest royal parents will approach the unique task of raising a royal child.