Queen Elizabeth announced (or rather, had her people announce) that the soon-to-be born baby of Prince William will be called His (or Her) Royal Highness the Prince (or Princess)– of what? Royal watchers think it will be Cambridge, since Prince William was made Duke of Cambridge at his wedding in 2011. This is a burning question in England. I seem to remember that one of the lowest blows Princess Diana sustained during her divorce was that she was stripped of the all-important “Her Royal Highness” or “HRH” designation. The Queen herself was named “Her Royal Highness the Princess of York” when she was born, because her father was the Duke of York.
I find all this just a little annoying. But mostly I find it endearing. The British doggedly stick to their traditions. If we didn’t have real live holders of titles walking among us, we’d have a hard time imagining the nobility of the past. To me, the titles, though shopworn, are living history. Titles have their practical uses, too. Crowds turn out to see the royals, especially the more likable ones. Vast sums are raised for the charities they support. And items like tea towels are manufactured and sold in great quantities, providing jobs.
I once attended a ballet performance in London where Princess Margaret, the late sister of the present Queen, was the honored guest. I must admit it was a thrill to watch her sweep through the lobby with her entourage. And it was fun to see her sitting in the center of the balcony (no tiara, but plenty of jewels and taffeta).
I won’t be posting much about the new royal baby when he or she arrives–our magazine covers will be doing more than enough of that for all of us. But I salute Prince WIlliam for marrying commoner Kate Middleton and bringing a breath of fresh air into the British Royal Family. May they all keep their feet firmly on the ground.