Belfast Telegraph

Hand that rocks the royal cradle will belong to Kate

Aisling O’Connor

So, the 'Great Kate Wait' is finally over – and boy did she deliver. The Duchess of Cambridge was named as one of the most influential people in the world in Time magazine in 2012 – mostly owing to her style and the phenomenal 'Kate effect'. But, after the birth of the future king, what does the future hold for her as a mother?

For all intents and purposes, she has done her duty from a traditional perspective. The young duchess has smiled at the constant presence of the media in her public and private life; through a nasty nude picture scandal and a physically and emotionally draining first trimester.

Wearing her signature swirly hats, decorative coats and nude pumps, Kate livened up many a public appearance until her maternity leave in June. And, on Monday, she gave royal subjects a boy. Job done.

The future of the most talked-about mother and child since the summer of 1982 is now the focus of speculation, where once the obsession was, 'What Kate Wore'.

The royal couple's 57-room Kensington Palace apartment is still under construction, so where home is for now might just break with royal tradition.

The new Prince of Cambridge is set to spend the majority of his first days not at a palace, but in the slightly more modest surroundings of the Middleton family homestead – a £4.7m mansion in leafy Berkshire.

Perhaps the royal couple-plus-one are, indeed, better off there. Royal sources and experts reckon that Kate and William do not intend to employ full-time nannies to raise their children, so they'll be leaning on her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, in this challenging, early period of motherhood.

And why no royal nanny? Charles and Di kept in line with the institution when it came to their two sons' care. William and Harry were as close as blood with their nannies.

The late Olga Powell helped weather the storms of the messy divorce and their mother Diana's untimely death in a Parisian underpass.

Conceivably, Kate's down-to-earth upbringing, combined with the strength of their marriage, has restored William's faith in the traditional family unit.

She is said to be dedicated to providing as much normality as possible for the baby. When they do move into their renovated home, it is reported that they will have a small housekeeping staff and a part-time nanny and the support of Kate's parents, when she returns to public life in early-2014.

On the official front, the 31-year-old duchess is no longer a face, flowing locks, sleek threads and a slim pair of pins to bedazzle the cameras and crowds: she is a mother – and a mother of a future king at that.

Up until the birth, Kate played ball with the media and the Queen. Feasibly, the duchess now has more influence – on both sides of the royal palace gates.

It is unlikely that the media will give the new family much breathing-space to get their arms around this life-changing experience. Any snaps of the royal rug-rat – ahead of the official portrait – will be worth their digital size in gold.

As her instincts kick in, no doubt Kate will do whatever it takes to protect her son from the constant attention she has experienced living in the eye of 24-hour media.

So, will this mean a turning-point in the number of public appearances?

There is an official trip to Australia and New Zealand for the family on the books. However, Kate now has a job bigger than any ribbon-cutting ceremony.

She will unquestionably keep up her charity work, but for the sake of her child's privacy, one would hope that Kate will give all parties as much as she deems fit. For what she gives will never be enough.

Nor was it for Diana. The red-top Press will intrude on her privacy wherever and whenever it can.

And what of that world-famous style? She may go through that post-pregnancy mumsy sartorial phase, dressing a little more like Camilla than her sister Pippa for a while.

But here's to Kate using her sensible nude pumps to tread softly, while wielding her new-found clout.

After the birth, she might have less freedom.

But, overnight, Kate has become one very powerful woman indeed.

Belfast Telegraph

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