Baby bumps and grumps…

Another royal baby, I can hardly contain the excitement. Oh, hang on a second. That opening sentence has been affected by an enthusiasm malfunction…

Sharp-eyed readers, should such a visitor be standing before this here ledge, will notice a cut-and-paste intro borrowed from Saturday’s blog about the royal wedding – well, we are all told to recycle nowadays.

The baby news was apparently revealed to the inner royal cabal at Saturday’s wedding, but they were asked to keep it to themselves. Instead the pregnancy was announced yesterday as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – just had to check they aren’t the Baron and Baroness of Brighton, or something – flew into Sydney on their first overseas tour.

Meghan’s pregnancy is making headlines across the globe, apparently. And what hope does a sighing man on a ledge have when faced with that reaction?

My usual response to the trumpeted arrival of royal babies can be summed up as: “nice for them, so what for the rest of us”. But this isn’t a popular view. Just now over her morning cup of tea, my wife said: “Well, it will be a very attractive baby.” And that’s the sort of thing normal people say, rather than scowling and muttering out loud at the fuss.

She also said that Meghan couldn’t afford to hang around, thanks to her age. That was in response to my tart observation that she’d done her duty and set about providing another royal sprog in record time.

Easier it would be to surrender and join in the swooning fuss. I like babies, loved our three (still do, naturally) and without babies the world would grind to a halt. Is it just that the arrival of each new prince/princess ensures the survival of the royals? Maybe, but a lifetime of grumbling about the royal family has got me nowhere and seen them thrive. It is hard not to conclude that one of us is wasting our time.

Let’s try to swap that frown for a crown. Harry and Meghan have been given baby presents already, which is nice, although if one thing can be said about royal babies, it is that they don’t need any presents. But baby Ugg boots do sound quite cute, and very Australian – and more befitting than, say, a baby-sized can of Fosters.

Another present comes from the Daily Telegraph, in the form of the gift-wrapped headline: “Heir Dinkum!” Should this news be puzzling to you, we are talking about the Australian Daily Telegraph. Our own Telegraph prefers to splash on whatever self-serving words Boris Johnson has just swilled up in his weekly column (for the writing which, astonishingly, he is paid £270,000 a year; that is approximately £270,000 a year more than I earn on this lonely ledge).

Well, good on that Aussie headline writer – a clever play on words.

The West Australian goes with the more standard newspaper-speak of “True blue baby joy.”

Our own papers are fully of baby-themed purple prose, none more so than the Daily Mail. This leads with the headline “Oh, baby!” and then, rather heroically, manages to fill 11 pages and an eight-page supplement with stories about one woman’s pregnancy.

The Daily Star, a paper best glanced at from behind the sofa, goes with “Meggers preggers” – a headline that manages to be both grubby and unnecessary. Tabloid newspapers have always invented their own language, and sometimes to brilliant effect, although not in this case.

So that’s your lot. Another royal sprog. Read all about it for the next eight months. And that’ll just be the start of it…


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