Has royal parenting changed?
Although we might think royal children have everything they could ever ask for, traditionally their upbringing was often quite strict: Their parents had to dress them a certain way, teach them how to behave like little adults—no temper tantrums here!—and generally be hands-off, with much of the caregiving left to nannies. Today’s younger royal parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for example, are relaxing the rules to allow for a more “normal” childhood for their little ones. Princes William and Harry want to continue the changes begun by their late mother, Princess Diana. Among the rules Princess Diana changed for good: Hugs were allowed, warmth was encouraged, and everyday experiences like eating at McDonald’s or going on amusement park rides were part of their upbringing.
Yet even as things are changing, some parenting traditions remain, and there are still etiquette rules everyone in the royal family must follow. “Even the Queen in the ’50s said she wanted her children brought up as normally as possible,” Ingrid Seward, author of Royal Children, told People. “But it’s a fantasy [to say that].” Here are the rules Prince William and Duchess Catherine, and Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan must still follow.
They must announce their children
From the moment their children are born, royal parents have to follow certain customs. First off, the sovereign, currently Queen Elizabeth II, must be the first to be notified of the birth. Then, a royal proclamation is placed on an easel in front of Buckingham Palace; today, that traditional announcement is made at the same time as posts on the official royal social media. A few days after the birth, the public is granted a viewing of the new addition with the royal parents. For the births of Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s three children, this meant appearing on the steps of the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London, where Princess Diana also appeared with her newborn sons. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, however, elected to make their appearance with baby Archie Mountbatten-Windsor at St. George’s Hall in Windsor Castle.
Duchess Meghan has made a firm friend among the senior Royals. Guess who?
They must baptise their children
The British monarch is also the head of the Church of England, so of course the royal children—including the future heir to the throne—must be baptised. (The Duchess of Sussex, formerly Meghan Markle, was even baptised herself in the Church of England before her wedding to Prince Harry.) The royal parents also must have their children wear the traditional christening gown, a replica of the one first worn by Queen Victoria’s daughter in 1841. The Cambridge children—Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—and their cousin Master Archie have all worn the gown.