Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Thoughts of Diana not far away amidst royal baby celebrations

Never forget: Princess Diana
Never forget: Princess Diana

She has barely featured in any of the finger-in-the-ears, head-sunk-into-a-cushion rolling news coverage. Which is surprising, really, given the reporters' increasingly roccoco efforts to stretch out their one news line – young woman giving birth to future king – into hour upon hour of television.

And yet for many of the public she remains a key member of the cast. Diana, Princess of Wales, may have exited the stage early but the memory of that world-conquering royal performance still lingers and in houses across the nation she will be talked about again. Maybe it's not so much that she has been deliberately airbrushed from history, rather that on such a happy occasion there are those who think it seems kind of jarring to mention the tragedy. And yet it's impossible not to think of Diana now. As all of us – royal or not – know, it is precisely at such key moments in any family's life that an absent loved one is missed most.

That's the rub. William is sure to reflect upon his mother when Prince Charles sees his son for the first time – it's the other introduction that won't be made.

What sort of a grandmother would Diana have been? Always a natural with children and a devoted mum, she'd undoubtedly have been thrilled at her grandson's arrival. What kind of advice would she have given Kate? And how would she have got on with Carole Middleton? There'd have been style wars in the Press, and long ruminative articles on who would have the most influence on new mum and child.

Aptly, too, the frenzy outside the hospital owes much to Diana, who tethered the nation to such royal occasions by being as ordinary as possible.

One day this boy will be father of the nation. We've a right to be involved in this human drama from the beginning.

And everyone loves a baby.

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