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Image / Editorial

Royal baby hysteria? Even Buckingham Palace is commenting on so-called conspiracy theories


by Jennifer McShane
30th Apr 2019
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Meghan Markle’s impending birth has seen the #royalbabywatch reach hyper-levels of coverage. This comes with the territory if you’re in the monarchy in 2019, but how much is too much, Jennifer Mcshane wonders


We are all complicit in the Royal baby watch or, as I deem it, hysteria (largely depending on the source) to some extent. At least, those of us that follow the royal family, at any rate. Even I’m practically complicit in writing this piece; and I love an adorable royal family photo, too. However, no one could fail to notice the constant stream of updated-on-the-hour tabloid pieces suggesting, in the last weekend alone – according to an unnamed member of the ‘inner circle’ – that Meghan Markle has definitely had the baby by now.

A baby is joyous news. Many are just expressing their delight at the news that we get a glimpse a new darling of the Royal Family but the constant barrage of ‘WHEN WILL WE SEE A PHOTO?’ or similar shouted headlines is quite exhausting, even for fans of the royal family, as IMAGE.ie are.

And we haven’t even gotten into so-called conspiracy-theory territory yet.

That’s right. “Conspiracy theories” relating to an innocent, unborn baby.

It’s taken a sinister edge in a way that I can’t recall when Kate Middleton was expecting her children – certainly, the media coverage was more respectful towards the Duchess of Cambridge.

Markle’s has been less flattering; most of which related to her “strangely breaking royal protocol” for wanting to use her own staff, to have a home birth, to hire a nanny of her choosing – to do anything which hasn’t been what Kate has done in the past. Markle is very much her own woman, a fact which seems to terrify the press and it undoubtedly has affected resulting coverage of her.

Buckingham Palace has had to up their stakes; usually silent when it comes to matters of the press, they first announced they would be closely monitoring their social media to stop the stream of hateful comments directed at both Meghan and Kate and now, another statement.

Related: The royal family has issued new social media guidelines for fans

A rare move

Buckingham Palace made yet another rare move: commenting on a conspiracy theory going around that somehow, the Royal Family’s website had already revealed the name of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s baby due to a glitch.

It began among some hawk-eyed fans this week, who noticed, as Yahoo! UK reports, if you search terms like “/prince-Arthur,” “/prince-Alexander,” or “/prince-James,” after royal.uk (the Royal Family’s homepage address) it’ll redirect to the homepage versus if you search for another term, like “/princess-Victoria,” it’ll give you a page not found.

The redirect led some people to conclude – in many, many articles that perhaps Meghan will name her baby one of those names.

Related: Will we ever stop pitting Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton against each other?

But that’s completely off and it isn’t giving away Meghan and Harry’s baby name, a Palace spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo UK. “A large number of search term redirects were set up some time ago on royal.uk,” the spokesperson explained. “This was in order to improve user experience. For guidance, you will note that other names preceded by ‘prince’ or ‘princess’ produce the same result.”

Asides from all this, it’s likely that the baby won’t have a Prince or Princess title anyhow. It’s usually announced by the Queen months before the due date approaches and no such announcement has been made.

Targeted

The past several months have seen Markle subjected to heavy criticism and comparison, such as, exactly how good is she at being pregnant compared to Kate Middleton? Was her style better? And all those articles which have insisted she’s a “natural” when it comes to being pregnant? Therein lies the disconnect between what we see of the glow of famous mums-to-be and the often difficult, draining and emotional reality of having your first baby. And low-and-behold the tide turning when she actually gives birth. What if she loses the weight too quickly (or not quick enough) despite being a new mum?

Related: ‘Meghan Markle is being vilified just as Diana was’

George Clooney himself pointed it out; Markle has been targeted – and not in a subtle manner.

“She’s a woman who is seven months pregnant and she is being pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was, and it’s history repeating itself. And we’ve seen how that ends.”

She is, however, doing things her way where she can. There’ll be no smiling photo from the hospital steps; the couple has decided to reveal details only when they feel ready.

So, at least, Royal baby watch or not, they’ll be too busy focusing on their new family to care too much about it.

Main photograph: @KensingtonRoyal