The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have given birth to a new prince, and the world is loving it. “Thrice the worry” now, said Prince William sagely upon leaving the hospital with the couple’s new bundle. The tiny baby boy, who was presented to the world for a minute and a half just hours after being born into it, is Will and Kate’s third child, and the fifth in line for the throne. And though we couldn’t see much more of him than a squishy face and wee little fingers, it doesn’t stop us from ogling over video footage and photos of the child’s first moments in what will be a lifelong spotlight.
We ogle, too, at Kate’s flawless appearance just hours after giving birth. And though we recognize how unnatural it is for a woman, just hours after labor, to be standing, much less fully made up, in heels and waving to crowds, we know we secretly are thrilled about it. “Wasn’t she stunning?” we remark. And in being so, she holds up her end of the twisted bargain that we have come to understand is the relationship between royalty and “commoners”: Live out a fairy tale in real life for us, and we will love and honor you.
How far that love will extend, however, remains to be seen as the very public couple makes very private decisions about whether or not to continue growing their little family. Will the bloom be off the royal rose if, for example, the couple welcomes Baby No. 4? Or 5?
Already we can hear agenda-driven rumblings of dissatisfaction. The San Francisco-based organization “Having Kids,” which despite its ironic name actually urges couples to have small families, wrote an open letter last summer urging the couple to limit their children to two for environmental and economic reasons. (The royals announced they were expecting in September.) An article in the BBC on the day of the birth lamented how, while Will and Kate can afford three children, that number is just not practical for most Londoners. Expect such grumbling to only increase should the Duke and Duchess welcome additional little ones.
In the meantime, though, we can rejoice in the lovely pro-life and pro-family example offered to us by Will and Kate and their new family of five. We can delight in the fact that our cynical, divided culture can find a point of unity in photos of our newest Prince Charming. And we are reminded that new life brings hope to our world, for “God created mankind in his image ... and found it very good” (Gn 1:27, 31).
Perhaps, too, we can be forgiven for our gawking. In a day when an act of terror left 10 dead in Toronto, and when a Nashville manhunt was underway following the senseless murder of four young people, and when another little boy was fighting for his life against all odds (see Editorial, Page 19), we long for happy distraction.
The very public debut of this newest royal is a reminder that the happiest distraction of all is found in joyful tidings of new life.
Gretchen R. Crowe is editor-in-chief of OSV Newsweekly. Follow her on Twitter @GretchenOSV.