How well will William cope now Kate's got a new No.1
08:15 GMT, 5 December 2012
Morning sickness — in poor Kate’s case, an appallingly extreme version — is only the first indication of a shocking new reality that all parents must come to terms with: from now on, life’s no longer all about you.
As far as the Duchess of Cambridge is concerned, I imagine this is a lesson that will come easily — for two reasons.
The first is that, like most new mothers, she’ll find her new son or daughter is the most beautiful, fascinating and diverting baby ever to have existed.
Giving: Kate has selflessly acceded to William's every wish, from wearing Diana's engagement ring to making Kensington Palace their permanent London home
The second reason is that — unlike most new mothers — she’s already quite used to the concept of putting someone else first. Her life has revolved around William’s from the moment they started dating.
When they began their relationship nine years ago, he was just 20 and painfully aware of his responsibilities as a future king. In addition he’d endured not just his parents’ acrimonious divorce but the trauma of his mother’s early death.
As a result, he needed steadfast love and support — and in Kate he found someone happy to supply limitless quantities of both. She’s selflessly acceded to his every wish, from wearing Diana’s engagement ring (which I’m convinced she’d never have chosen in a million years — apart from its morbid connotations, it’s absolutely not her style) to making Kensington Palace their permanent London home.
But if Kate will adapt seamlessly to the new priority in her life, how will William cope when the baby usurps his position — which it inevitably will — and he is no longer number one
William has made no secret of his longing to have a normal family life. It’s one of the reasons he adores spending time with Kate’s parents, because the stability and security of a happy family is what he always craved and never knew.
Even the most ordinary of new fathers finds the arrival of a new baby hits them with sledgehammer force. After the pride and elation comes not just physical exhaustion — crying that will not stop, sleepless nights — but also the dawning realisation that as far as your wife is concerned, you are no longer her first priority.
Expecting: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting the first truly classless sovereign Britain has had in more than 1,000 years of monarchy, but how will Will feel about no longer being number one
The second priority isn’t you, either. It’s sleep. And conversation, such as it is, revolves around nappies, feeding and what’s the best way to treat colic.
If there’s a father who doesn’t at least slightly resent all this, I’ve yet to encounter him. Certainly, Prince Charles struggled.
It’s easy now to forget that when William was born, in June 1982, his parents were still very much in love, and Charles seemed determined that parenthood should not impinge on his duties or his marriage. The following January, he and Diana went skiing together, leaving six-month-old William behind; and although they took him on a six-week tour of Australia and New Zealand three months later, they sent him home with his nanny while they enjoyed a ten-day holiday in the Bahamas.
Loved: At home, William's adoring wife Kate has always lavished him with care
At the end of that break, they were off again, this time on a three-week tour of Canada, during the course of which they missed William’s first birthday. On their return, they went straight to Highgrove to see their son — but later that same day Charles went off to play polo and then stayed the night in London.
William and Kate will want to be far more hands-on parents.
Nevertheless, William is used to having his every whim attended to. Wherever he goes, he’s surrounded by people who want to please him, while at home his adoring wife has always lavished him with care.
Until now they’ve lived in quiet solitude in a remote farmhouse on Anglesey, where Kate has been an exemplary housewife. Not only does she spend considerable time experimenting with new recipes, shopping for ingredients at the local Waitrose, she’s even said to ensure a hot bath awaits him when he returns home from a 24-hour shift as an air-sea rescue helicopter pilot.
It won’t be long before his steaming baths are a distant memory. And if he doesn’t want his marriage to get into similarly hot water, he needs to start weaning himself off Kate’s undiluted attention — right now.
The honeymoon was terrific while it lasted, but like all new fathers, William will now find he has some growing up of his own to do. If he can manage it, he’ll be that Royal rarity: a model father with not just the happy family he longs for — but a happy marriage, too.
News that the Christmas online shopping frenzy has begun coincides with a survey predicting that the number of unwanted gifts expected to be received this year is a staggering 21 million. Given that so many of us are buying online, this figure’s not surprising. The internet is fast and convenient. But it doesn’t provide inspiration, make you feel Christmassy or compensate in any way for lack of time, care and thought.
Nurses could learn a lot from Dr Lucy
Popular: Lucy always made time for her patients, joked with them and radiated concern
Anyone who watched the excellent Junior Doctors series earlier this year, which followed a new intake of just-qualified medics in their first months at London’s Chelsea And Westminster Hospital, will remember the wonderful Dr Lucy Hollingworth.
It wasn’t just the viewers who fell in love with her: her elderly patients all did, too.
No matter how busy or exhausted she was, Lucy always made time for them, joked with them and radiated concern, warmth and care. On Monday night, BBC3 updated us on the juniors’ progress.
One of Lucy’s fellow medics said he’d pay her to look after his mum if ever she fell ill, while another said he was honoured to be her friend.
Following this week’s very welcome news that nurses are at long last to be judged on their compassion, I’d suggest Lucy’s appearance on the programme be made required viewing for every nurse.
It will tell them all they need to know.
In a controversial new book, In Praise Of Messy Lives, American author Katie Roiphe writes that our twin preoccupations of children and health are killing creativity and fun.
Roiphe has a somewhat messy life herself. She’s the single mother of two children by different fathers, so her insistence that chaos is preferable to order is perhaps understandable.
But as the singer and drug addict Pete Doherty said in a recent interview: ‘It’s not actually all that exciting to feel f***** up all the time. The rush that you get from having a good night’s sleep is so exotic.
‘I can completely see the necessity of having a bit of self-control now.’ Chaos is a prison — an ordered life will see you free.
Carla Bruni says that her husband, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has made her feel more of a woman because ‘he devoured the little boy in me’. I’ve absolutely no idea what she means but I’d always thought that if anyone was doing the devouring it was Carla, a maneater who’s loved and left a string of men from Clapton to Jagger.
But given the sort of pretentious drivel she spouts, perhaps I got it wrong, and they dumped her.
Sarkozy, on the other hand, is a politician — and, therefore, quite practised at listening to meaningless rubbish.
Lisa's so wrong about weight loss
Keeping quiet: Lisa's refusing to say how much weight she's lost on the show
Lisa Riley, whose joyous smile never fails to light up Strictly, says 42 per cent of British women are a size 16-plus and shouldn’t be pressured into going on diets.
So she’s refusing to say how much weight she’s lost on the show, and insists that if she puts on another three stone once Strictly’s over, she won’t be bothered.
All I can say is that she should be. Because most women who are as overweight as she is aren’t dancing on primetime TV or acting in soaps, but sitting at home feeling fat, unconfident and miserable.
Lisa would be doing them a far greater service if she admitted — as Nigella just has — that the only way to get away with eating what you like is to exercise.
With Craig being bafflingly soft and Bruno increasingly over-the-top, it’s dawned on me that the judge whose opinion I really care about is Darcey Bussell. She’s uncompromising, immensely knowledgeable and frequently rather witty. After reading some lacklustre interviews with her before this series began, I said that she needed to find some personality, fast. Well, she’s certainly found it. And if Craig doesn’t get his act together, she’s soon going to eclipse him entirely.
Online date from hell
New research shows that the British use online dating more than any other nation in Europe.
I’m all for it — a long-divorced friend of mine met her second husband online and is blissfully content — but for anyone thinking that a computer’s all you need to find love I offer this cautionary tale, as told in a phone-in to Capital Radio’s breakfast show yesterday.
Fed up with being single, Zoe went to an online dating site and was soon exchanging witty banter with a man she liked the sound of. He didn’t display his photo, which she thought odd, but he was so amusing she decided that appearance mattered far less than character and agreed to meet for lunch.
When she arrived at the restaurant she was horrified to find waiting for her at the table . . . her boss.
Enough to put any woman off internet dating for life.
Mary roasts Pippa’s tips
This week an extract from Pippa Middleton’s party book, Celebrate, advised us that ‘drinks parties are a great way to entertain a crowd for a short time in the early evening’.
This penchant for stating the obvious, badly, is why even Jilly Cooper, who famously never has a bad word to say about anyone, has condemned the book as ‘terrible’. If Pippa really wants to be a domestic goddess she needs to study Mary Berry, who manages always to be both interesting and helpful.
At the weekend the magnificent Mary gave a brilliant piece of advice: cook your roast potatoes and parsnips the day before, leaving them slightly underdone so that on the day they just need crisping up. As I’ve never yet managed in 20 years to serve Christmas lunch on time, this tip is a genuine revelation.
And that, Pippa, really is cause to celebrate.