The modern toff’s guide to parenting
by TIBBS JENKINS Former Social Editor of the Tatler – Grazia 20th May 2019
Ah, the life of a royal ( or indeed any toff), born into privilege and private schools, shooting weekends and muddy wellies.
Their first gasp of air taken at the likes of the Lindo Wing. Their maternity nurse waiting patiently at home with strict rules and sound advice for Mummy. And Daddy’s old nanny at the ready to take over.
But no Lindo Wing for Baby Archie. Instead, the equally grand, a little more expensive and a tad more celeb, Portland Hospital. or so rumour has it. After all, Meghan and Harry have firmly kept details of the birth private. And, as much as is possible, a life of privacy is what the couple want for their child, just like their good friends, the Clooneys, who’ve never shared any pics of their twins, Alexander and Ella.
A passport then to play dates with the A-list and a sec of friends who Meghan can lean on, and who don’t consider Ascot the highlight of the year. But despite this, it’s a given that Archie has also been born with a front row throne in the arena of toffery – and with that comes a lifestyle. This upper-class style needn’t be considered a burden though, or a threat, to Meghan’s parenting style. Mcghan isn’t revolutionary – she’s modern, as are many of her aristocratic counterparts. Nowadays, many posh parents are more into meditation than a jolly day’s shooting, and most -including the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa – opt for zero screen time and an organic and sugar-free diet for their baby.
And it’s still true that you only have to walk the streets of Kensington to find the smartest babies dressed in rompers from Little Alice London and Amaia Kids. Call it the tribal gee-up of the well-to-do child (as chosen by ‘Mummy: never ‘Mum’, btw). But gender-specific outfits are a look Mcghan is unlikely to go for. It’s already been reported that the woke Sussex offspring is to lead a fluid childhood, with the nursery at Frogmore cottage done up in neutral tones.
When it comes to schooling, the privileged will already have the registration date for their chosen school in their diary. At Thomas’s Battersea, Prince George’s school, it’s 1 September three years before entry. But will they board? There’s an aggrieved generation of angry parents, whose bible; is Boarding School Syndrome, Joy Schaverien’s searing account of the damage done by that system – see Prince Charles at Gordonstoun. Nonetheless, Eton is besieged by prospective parents – Elton and David among them. But will baby Sussex be going to the local comp or an American school? It’s only then the revolution will start.
Because it’s in the playground that little darlings meet PLU -‘people like us’. But play dates (which happen either at home to minimise germs or at a members’ club, such as West London’s The Hurlingham) will be overseen by nannies. After said play date, the little treasures, will send a thank you letter on the personalised letter heads Mummy got them at birth, drawn by Fine Fellowes. Manners, after all, maketh man, and you can be sure baby Sussex’s will be immaculate -just like his mothcr.