Already feeling sorry for the royal him/her/them

Last updated 12:30 08/12/2012
Prince William leaves the King Edward VII hospital with his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Reuters
CRAZY WORLD: The foetus is not even 12 weeks old and life is already complicated.

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OPINION: Seven months before the royal he/she (or possibly even they) take their first breath, the coverage is already breathless.

The fact that everyone knows exactly what that paragraph is referring to illustrates the saturation international interest in the unborn child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or William and Kate, if you don't want to stand on ceremony.

The world's media certainly do not.

Outside King Edward VII's Hospital in London, where Kate has been treated for acute morning sickness this week, they camped for days, lenses trained on anyone unfortunate enough to be coming or going.

Facial analysis became a science. Prince William's set expression after one visit was said to show concern; a faint smile the next was "spoke volumes" about the worst being over.

At least when the smiling duchess herself emerged from the hospital, such analysis was thankfully made redundant by actual words: "I'm feeling very much better."

Acute morning sickness, or its rather grander name hyperemesis gravidarum, also became an unlikely hot topic with experts and sufferers wheeled out in TV studios around the world. Apparently it could indicate twins.

You can't just blame the media for the hype though.

Within moments of Twitter getting the news through a royal tweet from Clarence House - the first British royal pregnancy to be announced on the micro-blogging site - there were up to 1000 congratulatory tweets a second pinging around the world.

Every celebrity worth their cellphone got into the action, from Kim Kardashian ("awww, how cute") to journalist and TV host Piers Morgan (Hearing rumours William & Kate are considering Piers as name for their child. Humbling.)

Discussion groups have been set up to debate likely royal names - Elizabeth or John - and even the most unlikely - Shaniqua or Luke Skywalker were among the early non-favourites.

Some American comedian with far too much time on their hands even registered a spoof Twitter account @RoyalFetus, a year ago, and tweeted: I exist! at the news.

Such an avalanche of attention for an unborn child makes you wonder about the frenzy around his/her/their birth.

It's enough to make you feel a bit sorry for him/her/they.

The pros are decent enough: very nice parents, fabulous wealth, a palace for a home, world travel, and being heir to the throne, even if it's a girl - thanks to changed laws that finally bring equal opportunity into royal succession.

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The cons though are formidable: all that flash photography documenting your every public move and a few that should remain private such as when you are relaxing on a hotel balcony or playing strip pool in Las Vegas.

All those tea parties, speeches, handshakes, waves. And having to visit the colonies - again.

Not being able to go anywhere without minders.

All from the accident of birth into a family that once had real power, and now just has star power.

He/she/they might get a real job, but it seems the main occupation of the royals these days is public relations, making ordinary people feel a bit happier.

A new baby will do that, but it's an awfully heavy load for Elizabeth or John to carry growing up. Luke Skywalker, though, might be able to pull it off.

- The Nelson Mail

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