Express with Ann Douglas 09 May 2019
Relaxed, chatty and clearly excited, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex offered a contrasting image from those we have come to expect outside St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, of a highly polished Duchess of Cambridge posing for pictures with her children.
This was a more intimate conversation and, even though they walked into the glare of the camera lights, Harry and Meghan seemed oblivious to all except the swaddled baby in his father’s arms.
The proud father, clearly relishing his new role, was beaming and bouncy.
Meghan, showing post-pregnancy swelling and tottering on high heels, looked like many a new mum, albeit one dressed in a bespoke designer dress and expensive jewellery.
In fact part of the charm of the occasion was that they both looked like any other couple dressed up to see the grandparents with their new baby.
Except this couple were on their way up to the Queen’s private apartments in Windsor Castle to show off their son to the 93-year-old monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh.
That meeting a short time later produced the most striking image of the day: the great-grandparents looking on with glee at meeting their eighth grandchild for the first time as Meghan held Archie with Harry and the Duchess’s mother Doria Ragland looking on.
“I know everyone there thoroughly enjoyed it,” a royal source said later.
Back in St George’s Hall, the magnificent state apartment created by George IV and then rebuilt after the disastrous 1992 fire, Meghan smiled and could not take her eyes off her baby, stroking his head at one point and giggling at another.
She did not cradle the infant, leaving that to Harry.
Palace officials are still not prepared to confirm reports that the couple had to dash to the Portland Hospital in central London in the early hours of Monday despite suggestions that they had wanted a home birth.
But she did seem relaxed holding Archie when they met the Queen.
It was most likely that Harry was cradling the baby for the photo shoot simply because that is just how they roll and nobody thought that the royal convention was for the mother to hold the baby for these photographs.
Outside the private Lindo Wing at St Mary’s, William has been photographed standing next to his wife and child at each birth. In 1977 Princess Anne thanked hospital staff while a nurse held her infant son, Peter Phillips
Ann Douglas, a best-selling Canadian parenting and baby author, said yesterday’s photocall heralded a new generation of feminist royals who would share parenting duties between them.
The Cambridges might disagree of course – William is certainly a hands-on father but it is Kate who more normally builds her days and weeks around being available for the children.
Ms Douglas said: “I think we can take away from this morning that Harry intends to take a really active role in parenting, and that he recognises parenting as a gift, rather than an obligation.
“He intends to treat parenting as something he does jointly with Meghan but it’s going to be at the centre of his life, because you get the sense that this is something he’s been building towards.”
She praised the couple’s equal banter in front of the cameras, which she said showed there no hierarchy between them.
“They weren’t doing stiff upper lip, formal signalling stuff you might have seen in the past,” she said.
“They were saying: ‘we’re doing this differently, we’re a different generation of royals, we’re a different generation of parents, and we want to share our baby with you too.”
Little Archie may have a pampered life compared to most but for a few moments yesterday his mother and father looked like parents around the entire planet coming to terms with the way their world had changed in just a few hours.
For Meghan, her guy had turned into “my guys”.