It’s Saturday and the independent coffee shop I’m sitting in has suddenly erupted with exclamations: It’s a girl! I raise my cup of chai to you, little one. Yours will not be an easy path to walk, what with your birth being announced on Twitter by Kensington Palace, and a 24-hour security detail following your every move from this moment on. As I edit this post, your glowing mother has carried you out to meet the world’s press accompanied by rousing cheers. I hope the Duchess really is as well-rested as she looks. I hope you sleep well. You look like your great-grandmother, HRHTQ. Instead of the London Eye lit up in red, white and blue tonight, as it was two years ago when your brother was born, it will be lit in pink, but don’t get me started on gender stereotyping just yet.
I’m quietly delighted you’re a girl. You see, I have a little girl, and I love her to bits. There was no fanfare when she was born, unless you count the frantic whispers of panicked nurses & surgeons. But she survived this undignified start, and is the princess of my soul. She makes me laugh all the time, but especially this morning. She was slapping around in my jewelled flip flops (quite fit for a princess), although they’re still a smidge too large for her. I told her to lift her feet and glide (as my grandmothers would have). She turned around, and in her inimitable style, said,
“It’s not the bl**dy Icecapades, Mother”.
And continued slapping her way down our (thankfully short) hallway. I never cease to be amazed by her indomitable spirit. She has been to hell and back, physically, emotionally and mentally, and is “unbroken and unbowed”. She is the poem Invictus come to life in all her copper-haired, hazel-eyed, freckled glory. She is kindness, grace and humour. She’s the reason I wake up every day.
So little one, if you ever happen upon this post, here is my wish for you and your mother: use your superpowers for good. Love each other endlessly. Forgive each other; mistakes will be made, often in the unforgiving public eye. Revel in the small delights & time that you can snatch, away from prying eyes. Raise each other up, because others will be waiting to tear you down. Raise others up, because your privilege & titles give you a voice and a platform. Be the kindness, grace and humour we so desperately need. It’s a huge task, but I believe you can do it.