6 May 2019

UK: Duke and Duchess of Sussex have become parents to a boy

Finally – finally! – Buckingham Palace announced today – 6 May 2019 – that the Duchess of Sussex had given birth to a boy, born at 05.26 a.m.:
The Duchess of Sussex has been delivered of a son

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex was safely delivered of a son at 0526hrs.

The baby weighs 7lbs 3oz.

The Duke of Sussex was present for the birth.

The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Earl Spencer have been informed and are delighted with the news.

The Duchess's mother, Doria Ragland, who is overjoyed by the arrival of her first grandchild, is with Their Royal Highnesses at Frogmore Cottage.
The press statement was first wired to the media and was immediately published some time before 2.30 local time before it was released on the Royal Family's social media accounts as well. Half an hour earlier or so it was announced that the Duchess was in labour. The statement said: «The Duchess of Sussex went into labour in the early hours of this morning. The Duke of Sussex was by Her Royal Highnesses’ side. An announcement will be made soon.» The wording of the statement suggested that the birth had already taken place, something the follow-up statement revealed. Of course, Buckingham Palace had in its «operational note» of 11 April stated that one could expect two press releases – one when the Duchess went into labour and then the second one after the birth had taken place and «once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family». Releasing the first statement several hours after the birth had taken place only made the press department look silly. It could very well be that the ducal couple kept the press department in the dark for some time before it was allowed to prepare the statement. In this regard one can understand the complaints made by the press. Richard Palmer of the Daily Express tweeted for instance: «Not that it will matter to most people but for journalists, the palace’s handling of that announcement was an absolute shambles. It would help if the press office spent more time worrying about keeping journalists informed and less time on Instagram and overseas organisations.» Then again, thinking of how the British media was sulking after the ducal couple made its birth plans known I guess thay didn't deserve any better. Anyway, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was allowed to celebrate the arrival of their son for quite some time just like they had wanted it. We got the happy news soon enough anyway.

It was certainly a wise move by the Duke to give a few comments on camera outside Frogmore Cottage later on. As earlier promised, a photo call would take place in a couple of days and the Duke seemed to suggest that the names of the newborn baby would be made known at the same time. They were still thinking of names, the Duke claimed.

A notice of the birth was also displayed outside Buckingham Palace. The text read: «The Queen and the Royal Family are delighted at the news that her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex was safely delivered of a son at 0526am today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well. 06 May, 2019.»

I would like to make a few points. First, it was not explicitly stated where the birth took place. I find it a bit odd that this relevant information was not released, but it is quite possible that the Duchess delivered the baby at home at Frogmore Cottage as the media has speculated about for quite some time.

The baby boy, who is no. 7 in the line of succession to the British throne, has – as I commented on last month – not received the title of prince, but will by courtesy be styled Earl of Dumbarton, which is the Duke of Sussex's second (lesser grade) title. The birth also means that the first 20 in the line of succession now are all descendants of the Queen.

I will not enter a guessing game about the names. Some observers expext that the new parents will chose a traditional name for the one to be used daily. Others have pointed out that the child is so far from the throne that the ducal couple would feel less burdened by tradition. I suppose there will be a good mixture of names the couple likes and names from both side of the family. So maybe Alvin or Frederick or Isaac would be combined with a name or two from the British royal family?

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