The Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth any day now.
A royal baby on the way means two things.
Firstly, monarchists like me will be giddy with excitement. We’ll be speculating on whether it will be a boy or a girl, what name the little one will get and anything else we can think of. For the record, I’m hoping for a girl: HRH Princess Sophia Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge. Yes, I’ve already chosen a name. You’re welcome, Your Royal Highnesses.
Secondly, others will start grumbling that there are much more important things to think about than the fact that some woman is pregnant.
Of course, the realists are absolutely right. “Woman has child” is the most ordinary, uneventful piece of news. It happens all the time. Move on, get over it.
What the dull realists are forgetting, however, is that the most important things are also the most ordinary. What could be more wondrous than the creation of an entirely new human being? What is more worthy of celebration than the blessed birth of a child — a unique human person made in the image and likeness of God!
The regularity of these everyday wonders dulls our senses to their splendour.
But the birth of a royal baby can help bring some of that wonder back.
About 150 years ago, the English constitutional scholar Walter Bagehot wrote,
A family on the throne is an interesting idea also. It brings down the pride of sovereignty to the level of petty life.
I think Bagehot is quite mistaken. A family on the throne doesn’t bring the majesty of monarchy down to merely “petty life”. It simply reminds us that that “petty life” has an inherent majesty and glory all of it’s own.
It helps us to remember the most precious and powerful things in the world are the ones of everyday life, the hatching, matching and dispatching that keeps the world ticking over. It’s the holy unfolding of each human life and it’s worth a million David Attenborough documentaries.
This is one of the great blessings of a monarchy and a family on the throne. It means that a family will always be at the heart of national life.
Another royal baby is a reminder of the dignity and beauty of every human life, royal or not.
(But seriously, what would you call the new royal baby??)