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  • Writer's pictureJuilet Archer

On the Royal Birth

25 July 2013.   A Letter from Lady Catherine

To the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on the Birth of His Royal Highness Prince George.

Your Royal Highnesses,

My character has ever been celebrated for its sincerity and frankness, and in a cause of such moment as this I shall certainly not depart from it.

As well as adding my considerable voice to the general jubilations, I am offering you the benefit of my long and distinguished career as magistrate for the criminal classes, counsellor to the needy and special advisor for some of the noblest families in the land.

First, it has been widely reported that the Duke changed the Prince’s first nappy and that neither of you have any immediate plans to hire a nanny – as if these were desirable events! I beg to differ. I always say that the best recourse with infants is a steady and regular routine, which nobody but a nanny can give. In fact, I recommend that you engage several nannies without delay. I would be honoured to place any of the numerous young ladies at my disposal in such a privileged position. It is wonderful how many families I have been the means of assisting in that way.

Next, I understand that your 21-room apartment at Kensington Palace is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment. I myself am an expert in all matters domestic and would be delighted to review your arrangements. While nothing is beneath my notice, I have been told that I am particularly helpful with cupboards and shelves.

A word of warning, however. Although a 21-room apartment may seem ample accommodation for the foreseeable future, it will soon become exceedingly cramped – especially when one considers not only the nannies but also the additional maids, butlers, chauffeurs, chefs and other household staff required for just one child. I myself have an only daughter, Anne, for whom no expense is spared.

Talking of Anne, I find it is never too early to plan your child’s conjugal union with someone of similar rank. While he is in his cradle, you should survey the remaining European royal families (before they are lost to every feeling of propriety) and identify a suitable alliance. I am excessively attentive to all those things and would be delighted to supply references.

A small matter of regret: while I have rejoiced at the birth of a future King, I would have preferred your firstborn to have been a girl, providing a permanent reminder of the newly changed law of succession to the throne. I see no occasion for entailing estates away from the female line, and it was certainly not thought necessary in Sir Lewis de Bourgh’s family.

Finally, as an escape from the prying eyes of the world’s media, I offer you an extended stay at Rosings, my home in Kent. There I will be able to give you daily advice on every aspect – no matter how small – of your child’s upbringing, while assuring you that I will personally dispatch any photographer who takes up a position within a mile of my boundary walls.

I await your earliest reply.

Yours ever,

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

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