Excitement is mounting in the Royal Family as Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank await the birth of their first child.
It will be Her Majesty the Queen’s ninth great-grandchild.
Eugenie, who married Jack in 2018, shared their big news last September by posting a photo of some baby booties on Instagram.
Ingrid Seward, author of Prince Philip Revealed: A Man Of His Century, says the new baby will be protected from the pressures of royal life.
“I think Eugenie will want to shield her child and offer as normal a life as possible. I don’t think the child will face any responsibilities within the family, as he or she will be too far down the line,” she says.
Eugenie, 30, and her older sister Princess Beatrice, 32, have a close relationship with their parents, the Duke and Duchess of York.
“They spent most of their time with their mother Sarah, and are very loyal and loving to her,” says Ingrid. “They were pretty indulged as children and had everything they wanted. I think they had a garden shed just for their Barbie dolls.”
Describing Sarah as “an extravagant person”, Ingrid explains, “Eugenie is quite the opposite of her mum. She won’t spoil her child, but I think she’ll want her child to be her friend.”
Here, we look forward to the royal baby’s birth – and what could come next…
The official announcement
The Queen is traditionally the first person to receive news of a royal birth, usually in a telephone call. A statement is likely to be posted on the royal household’s official social media accounts.
As is tradition, a notice will also be displayed on an easel just inside the gates of Buckingham Palace. The announcement will reveal the baby’s gender, time of birth and the wellbeing of mum and baby.
Ingrid adds, “Eugenie announced her pregnancy on social media (below) and I think she’s likely to share the birth of her child in the same way, especially now – because we’ll probably be in lockdown still!”
It’s rumoured the couple have moved out of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor (loaned to them by Harry and Meghan) and will raise their child at Ivy Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace.
The princess is said to have renovated the three-bedroom property, which is packed full of photos, including a shot of an elephant taken by her mum Sarah.
The nursery could have an animal theme, a popular choice among the royals. This would also reflect Eugenie’s support of wildlife charities.
Eugenie was the first royal baby to have a public christening. Her parents chose to baptise her at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate.
Princess Charlotte was christened here too, while other royal babies were blessed at the Chapel Royal in St James’ Palace.
Eugenie wore the Honiton christening gown created for Victoria, the Princess Royal, in 1841. The item was retired in 2004, but a replica has been worn by every royal baby since.
It’s likely Eugenie’s baby will also wear it.
“I would think the new baby will be christened at Windsor, in the private chapel,” says Ingrid. “But times are so uncertain. Eugenie may even opt for a private service at Royal Lodge instead, where Beatrice got married.
Regardless, I don’t think they will have a large christening. It just wouldn’t look right during a pandemic.”
The Baby’s title
These days, it’s common practice for any royal not directly in line to the throne to be free from a royal title. As the titles are traditionally passed down the male line, Eugenie’s new arrival won’t be a prince or princess, or use the HRH style.
But the new baby won’t be alone. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided to forego Archie’s HRH title, despite him being seventh in line to the throne. And Princess Anne’s offspring Zara and Peter also lack royal titles, despite being the Queen’s grandchildren.
Along with her charity work, Princess Eugenie makes a living as a director at the London art gallery Hauser & Wirth. Jack works in the hospitality industry and is the European ambassador for George Clooney’s tequila brand Casamigos. If the pair return to work, they may require a nanny to take care of the royal baby.
Nanny Alison Wardley looked after Eugenie until she went to nursery, and her elder sister went to school. Meanwhile, Kate and William chose to hire a nanny from Norland College – a prestigious nanny-training school – for George, Charlotte and Louis.
Nanny Alison Wardley looked after Eugenie until she went to nursery, and her elder sister went to school.
Meanwhile, Kate and William chose to hire a nanny from Norland College – a prestigious nanny-training school – for George, Charlotte and Louis.
The inner circle
Eugenie and Jack boast many celebrity friends, including the Beckhams, George and Amal Clooney, Sir Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding.
Any one of these stars could be picked as godparents, or the honour could go to Prince Harry, who has a close relationship with the princess.
"Cressida Bonas is a possibility, as is Harry. The prince will be tipped because it would be nice for her to have a tie with him," says Ingrid.
Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda, friends of the royal pair, had a baby, Beau, last year who would make a great play pal for Eugenie's little one.
Eugenie's friend Karlie Kloss is also expecting, as are Zara and Mike Tindall, so the baby will have lots of buddies to grow up with.