It’s a boy, says Prince of beaming smiles
The first major member of the royal family to have African-American blood. An emotionally literate father. A mother who campaigns for gender equality. Does the new baby mark a real change?
Every minute, there are about 250 babies born in the world. “All human beings are born free and equal. You are worth the same, and have the same rights as anyone else,” says the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed in 1948 by the United Nations’ General Assembly.
Given decent medical care and nutrition, all babies will thrive equally too, regardless of race or geography. “It doesn’t matter where you are living, it doesn’t matter what the colour of your skin is, it doesn’t matter what your race and ethnicity is. At every single stage we’ve shown that healthy mothers have healthy babies, and that healthy babies all grow at exactly the same rate,” said the leader of a team of researchers from Oxford University who tracked the development of babies around the world earlier this year.
And then, yesterday, there was baby Sussex. A very special boy.
He was born with lots of cosmic attention. The Sun and his ascendant make him a double Taurus, the zodiac sign known for its resilience. Yet he is one of the first of a new generation of Taureans who are born with forward-thinking Uranus in their birth sign. He is more likely to be an innovator than a traditionalist.
And his birth is the main story on thousands of front pages all over the world.
The favourite headline is a quote from the beaming father (in a zip-up jumper). “This little thing is absolutely to die for. I’m just over the moon,” said Prince Harry.
Hundreds of onlookers watched from outside of Buckingham Palace’s gates as the bulletin announcing the birth was unveiled. The framed message read: “The Queen and the royal family are delighted at the news that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex was safely delivered of a son at 05:26 today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”
“We really are a ridiculous country,” tweeted Caroline Emma Criado-Perez, recently awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen for her work on equality for women. “The announcing of the birth of a baby in the 21st century on a placard in a gold frame in the forecourt of a palace is [expletive deleted] ridiculous.”
But the majority of comments today are happy and positive. Many praise Harry for protecting Meghan from the traditional presentation of the baby to the breathless media on the hospital steps.
Many praise Harry, too, for his emotional maturity and his ability to show simple joy and love for his wife and child, despite coming from a family where upper lips are as stiff as embossed cardboard.
As for the symbolism of racial progress represented by the first part-Afro-American baby born into the royal family, there is a sharp divide.
Hope and change?
“Every time we can break a barrier and be, as black people, somewhere where we’re not expected to be that is to be celebrated. So, to be royalty should be normal,” says Michelle Ebanks, head of the company that publishes Essence, a US magazine for African-American women.
Let’s not turn this child into another “Great Mixed-Race Hope”, says John Blake of CNN. We’ve seen this story before. A mixed-race person is elevated to a position of prominence. They’re touted as proof of racial progress, part of a Brown New World in which racism will inevitably collapse in the future because there will be so many interracial relationships.“But I no longer believe in the redemptive power of interracial unions, though I am the product of such a relationship. It’s a tired story. And it’s a dangerous one. We can’t procreate our way to racial equality.”
- Should we make such a fuss over a baby?
- Are all human beings worth the same?
- Write a letter to the new baby. Give him some advice that he can read later in life and treasure. Make it advice from your own experience, not something you have been told by adults or anyone else!
- Write a poem to mark this birth. Be as controversial as you like.
Some People Say...
“There is now a member of the royal family who should eventually be eligible to run for US president.”Newsweek magazine
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new son will not be titled His or Her Royal Highness (HRH) unless the Queen intervenes. Harry and Meghan’s baby boy is not officially a royal, despite being seventh in line to the throne, after George V limited titles within the family during World War One. HRH status normally lapses after two royal generations — except for the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the monarch, which is Prince George. But the Queen decreed all of William and Kate’s children should be HRH — which is why Princess Charlotte is not Lady Charlotte, and Prince Louis is not Lord Louis.
- What do we not know?
- The name! Huge suspense. The Duke and Duchess may decide to go with a traditional name like James, Edward or Arthur. However, the pair are forward-thinking royals and may decide to surprise everyone. Canadian-born Autumn Phillips, and husband Peter Phillips, opted for a non-traditional name for their daughter Savannah (the Queen’s first great-grandchild). The Duchess may also seek inspiration from her friends. Her confidante and stylist Jessica Mulroney has twin boys called Brian and John, who were pageboys at the royal wedding. In the US, the most popular name is Liam for a baby boy. In the UK, the most popular name for a boy is Oliver.
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- An historic document which outlined the rights and freedoms everyone is entitled to. It was the first international agreement on the basic principles of human rights. It laid the foundation for the human rights protections that we have in the UK today.
- Technically, your rising sign (also known as the ascendant). It is the astrological sign that was rising over the horizon at the exact time you were born. In astrology, though, your rising sign is also the sign around which your entire birth chart is oriented. It determines the point where your birth chart begins and, therefore, all the other houses in your astrology chart too.