Thursday 17 October 2019

Royal Fab Four are no more - but baby Archie's birth could unify all

Royal baby: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is introduced to the public. Photo: Getty
Royal baby: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is introduced to the public. Photo: Getty
So happy: Prince Harry and wife Meghan at a photocall with new baby Archie. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

The British royals' Fab Four are officially no more - but the birth of the seventh in line to the throne has the potential to bring them closer.

Since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry moved from Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace earlier this year, rumours of a feud between the couple and Prince William and wife Kate have spread. But what better time to break the ice than with the arrival of a new baby?

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was welcomed into the world on Monday and much of this week's news cycle has been dominated by details of his birth, his name, his personality. But already he has become a unifier.

The Sussexes did their due diligence as royals and took part in a photocall showing off their bundle of the joy. But, despite the immense public interest, it will be the last time we see Archie for a bit.

Meghan will reportedly take an additional three months off her royal duties before returning to work in August. And she will spend every precious moment she can with her newborn - which means more time than ever away from cameras and prying eyes.

Despite how she strategically wanted both the birth and photocalls to be announced before 1pm in order to appear on American morning chat shows, Meghan is still a new mother finding her feet. The only difference is that she's savvy enough to realise that if she has to show her two-day-old baby to the world and throw on high heels in the process, she'll get maximum reach for it.

But both Harry and Meghan have been vocal in their determination to give their baby more boundaries and we can expect something more in line with how Zara and Mike Tindall live with their daughters - they're often pictured at major events, but other than that, details of their lives are kept under lock and key.

The family's next appearance will be at Archie's christening, in about two months' time.

While Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis were all christened at St James's Palace and the Church of St Mary at Sandringham, it's more likely that Archie will be christened at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. The venue works for a number of reasons: firstly, it's near their home at Frogmore Cottage, it's where they married last May, and it's also where Harry was christened in 1984.

With most European royal families, christenings are always a public affair; but it's clear from the get-go that the Sussexes are carving their own path with their baby and Harry is hellbent on giving him the chances of a normal life he never had.

It's likely to take place sooner rather than later, least of all so that Meghan's mother Doria Ragland, who is currently residing in Windsor, can be part of the celebrations.

In the meantime, it was already back to business for Harry, who flew to the Netherlands for a pre-planned trip to formally launch the Invictus Games in the Hague.

And in a further sign that the Sussexes and Cambridges are determined to improve public perception of their relationship, they launched a new mental health initiative Shout.

The timing was carefully considered and choreographed: with all the hype around Archie's birth, it was an opportunity to finally put those persistent feud rumours to bed.

It aligns with their shared passion of advocating for mental health while also subtlety reminding people of the work they've done so far.

It offers an opportunity for royal watchers to observe the Fab Four at work and once again believe in the unbreakable bond between Harry and William which many hope will extend to their wives.

Irish Independent

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