Idiots guide to rearing a royal baby

OPINION

To help Wills and Kate with their royal parenting duties I've written The Idiots Guide to Rearing a Royal Baby.

Getting On With the In-Laws: Kate, dear, everyone has trouble with the in-laws but few in-laws are "gracious" and "noble" as well as "victorious", "happy" and "glorious" according to the national anthem. Now, dear, don't ruin the national anthem by making your in-law "grumpy" and "nasty". Smile. Do what you're told. Oh, that is your job. So far so good. One had the big church wedding. One has written all the thank-you notes for hideous gifts like the Mallee Root lamp and coffee table set and now all one has to do is give birth in a room full of royal physicians to a "happy", "glorious" and "victorious" baby. And don't forget to smile.

Royal Baby Names: Tradition rules but you might try Offa, Egbert or Canute for a boy. Elfrida, Joan or Matilda for a girl. I would avoid Wallis. As a royal bub can have about 20 first names you could throw in some goodwill names from the Commonwealth by mashing up William, Charles, Henry and Edward with, say, Cameroon, Trinidad and Dubbo (for the Aussies).

Royal Child Rearing: One wants to show one's royal baby the world beyond the wall of photographers that follows one everywhere. And one has to teach the royal bub so many things: how to eat up all ones mashed pheasant, how to wear a christening robe that's been in mothballs for two centuries and not to whack great grandmama on the nose with one's play mace. If one is good, however, one might be given Wales for Christmas.

Manners: A royal toddler has to learn that one ought not bite footmen or prime ministers. A preschool royal must be told that despite singing Old King Cole one's great grandmama is not necessarily "a merry old soul" and that the grand old Duke of York never marched his men idiotically up and down hills.

Potty Training: There has been many a bedwetter, stutterer and "lithper" in the royal line. No surprises there. A royal bub isn't potty trained. One gives a command performance. And all those physicians crowding out the nursery don't help. One could cut out the trumpet fanfare. Instructions on how to remove a tiara stuck in a toilet will appear in a later chapter.

Education: A young royal will be educated at home then at a posh school where one will scrape together some fairly ordinary grades. It is hard to throw off centuries of in-breeding. Fortunately, one's future career only involves skills of hand-waving, tree-planting, hand-shaking, medal-pinning and learning which fork to use in a 25-piece gold cutlery setting.

Hobbies: One must adopt a royal hobby which involves hounds, guns, horses and the wearing of a kilt. One should collect stuffed stags heads, vintage Rolls-Royces and coins or stamps of the realm with mummies or, preferably, one's own head on it. Frightfully good fun, all that.

Grandparents: One's great grandmama will smother one with playthings. One gets given one's own pony, regiment of soldiers and aircraft carrier and then there are all the ducky little sailor suits that look cute at 3, weird at 33 and ridiculous at 63. Then one is told one has to "reign over us".

But there is no Modern Monarchy 101 course or Sovereign Studies for Beginners. One has to make it up as one goes along. 

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