TORONTO – While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were still given the traditional 41-gun salute to welcome the royal baby into the world, here’s a look at some of the ways Will and Kate are modernizing the protocol before, during and after the royal birth.
1. A baby shower
Kate Middleton’s sister, Pippa, organized a baby shower to celebrate – marking the first time a royal participated in the American tradition. It was held at Kate’s family home in Berkshire, and Queen Elizabeth II reportedly gave her blessing.
2. Lining up for baby gear
Instead of sending aides to do the shopping, the royal couple are said to have visited baby stores together for clothes and furniture, with Kate even letting slip her preferred brand of baby stroller.
3. No nanny?
While nannies have been central to bringing up royal babies—especially Tiggy Legge-Bourke, nanny to William and Harry, who frequently appeared in the news—the Duke and Duchess haven’t made any public announcements about hiring a nanny.
Some speculate Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton will have a large role in helping raise the baby, and that the couple themselves will be more hands-on than royal parents of the past.
4. No royal treatment for paternity leave
Prince William is taking the standard two weeks of paternity leave issued to every other father in Britain, and will be the first royal to receive statutory leave since its introduction in 2003.
Under British law, William is entitled to two weeks off at a flat pay rate of just under 137 pounds ($206) a week. His job as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot is among British employers that pay more, so he will receive his full salary during his time off.
5. Hospital birth with father present
Though it’s breaking with past tradition, Will and Kate followed in Charles and Diana’s footsteps by giving birth in hospital with the new father present.
The custom among royals before Princess Diana was to give birth at home. Queen Elizabeth II was born at 17 Bruton Street in London, a private family home, and she gave birth to her sons Charles, Andrew and Edward in Buckingham Palace. Her only daughter, Princess Anne, was born at Clarence House, also a royal property.
When the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) went into labour with Charles, her husband Prince Philip was playing squash in the palace – out of restlessness, not indifference, noted Charles’ biographer Jonathan Dimbleby.
With files from The Associated Press
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