The Blog

Born to Rule: The Impending Price of Royal Privilege

An entire life is mapped out for the royal baby. One day he will be the King of England and everything from now until that day will be designed to protect this privilege. He will be rich, but he may never be wealthy. He will be followed even if he has no desire to lead.

Though not all newborns are royalty, all newborns ought to be treated royally. So the eyes of the world are on the royal baby who many celebrate as the future heir to the British throne, while others see yet another freeloading, state-funded member of the elite British monarchy.

As the firstborn son of William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, enjoys his final moments of relative anonymity, the world is once again polarised by the birth of... a baby.

In fact, not since the birth of Blue Ivy Carter, born to musical royalty - Jay Z and Beyoncé - has an infant generated such intense media analysis. There are, of course, marked differences between the two, notably that Blue Ivy is merely privileged while the royal baby has been born into the House of Windsor and, therefore, lifelong royal privilege.

The privileged are set apart by their surnames while those born into royal privilege are set apart by their sovereignty. Noble by nature, the royal baby is blue blooded where Blue Ivy is merely noble and blue by name. However, in the event of tragedy, whether royal or regular, all of us bleed the red blood that Diana did in the extravagant death that was the closing to an equally extravagant life.

From cradle to the grave, many would argue that the being born into lifelong royal privilege is the perfect gift, but as Edward VIII proved when he abdicated the throne on 11 December 1936, royal privilege has its regal drawbacks, one being the inability to marry a divorcee without the added tag of shame: "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love."

The Duke of Cambridge's father Charles and his mother Diana Spencer also encountered the price of royal privilege on 28 August 1996 when, following a groundbreaking interview with Martin Bashir on BBC's Panorama the future king and queen were granted "an early divorce" at the behest of Queen Elizabeth.

Diana paid a high price for royal privilege, when on 31 August 1997 she was killed in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris alongside her companion, Dodi Fayed. Charles is, of course, currently married to a divorcee called Camilla Parker Bowles, of whom Diana remarked in that interview with Bashir: "there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded". Proving that the price is high, neither Diana or Camilla, despite their desires, will ever be known as the Queen of England.

Since Louise Brown in 1978, over five million children have been born through IVF. In the USA, 22% of all children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level; in the UK that figure is currently at 30%. These figures prove that as much as (natural) pregnancy is itself a privilege, the ability to provide for one's offspring is too. The baby that is born into royal privilege or to the fiscally privileged, often, receives worldwide piety. The baby that is born into poverty receives worldwide pity and protection, at least, from the scrutiny that all newborns are, at some point, subjected to.

We have all peeked into the pram and seen a wrinkled ball of flesh curled up and wailing back at us. We have all formed inappropriate opinions that we have kept to ourselves, convinced that the baby will grow into or grow out of his or her looks. Rarely are regular children open to such scrutiny as regular mums push the strollers with their regular babies and observers push their shopping trolleys and opinions in opposing directions and regular children are relatively protected by their own impoverishment from the disparagement regal children encounter daily on a mass scale.

The sad fact is, one day Blue Ivy will read the comments that called her androgynous or suggested she was not 'normal' and the royal baby will read the ridicule he was given before he was given a name. Of course, impoverished children face uglier ills than being called unattractive, ugly and other odious things one should never assume of a child, but not many children born to regular parents today will be able to log onto the internet in 15 years time and have their regular eyes opened to the corporeal abuse that a billion trolls threw at them when they were but babies.

Blue Ivy has been harassed for everything from (wait for it) actually carrying a strong biological resemblance to her father Shawn Carter, for being dressed like a boy and for her hair, which has been denounced as nappy rather than fêted for being natural.

It is almost as if the trolls expected the newborn to have spent the nine months prior to 7th January 2012 in hair and wardrobe, not the womb.

Whether privileged or born into royal privilege, babies of the famed face a lifetime attempting to become like their subjects and stans while their subjects and stans, ironically, attempt to grow into them with the riches, royalty and rule breaking that they believe comes along with being the children of entertainers or the offspring of establishment.

King (of Pop) Michael Jackson went to extreme measures to protect his children. He put masks on their faces, allegedly denied them his DNA, dyed their hair and sheltered them from everything and everyone around them, because Michael Jackson was not worried about what the world thought of his children, Michael Jackson was worried about his children finding out what the world thought of him. It was him who inflicted on them the greatest damage when he died in 2009, leaving them fame but taking away their father.

An entire life is mapped out for the royal baby. One day he will be the King of England and everything from now until that day will be designed to protect this privilege. He will be rich, but he may never be wealthy. He will be followed even if he has no desire to lead. He will be hounded, slandered and learn of the brutal death of the 'queen of people's hearts'. He will be manufactured and engineered by establishment and raised to believe that royalty comes before reason. He will live in a palace but he may yearn for poverty. Whether it be with privacy, persuasion or preference, the newborn king will pay the price of royal privilege.