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Now watch Meghan reinvent the royal role for the modern era

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07.05.2019

Few birth plans survive contact with the random reality of childbirth but the arrival of infant Sussex went spookily in accordance with predictions: an Instagram announcement and a mixture of limelight with calls for privacy. Prince Harry praised women in tactfully vague terms for doing “what they do” on these occasions (not that we have much choice, as I remember).

The bank holiday surprise was a masterclass in royal communications — off-the-cuff yet supremely controlled. So much so that there was no announcement of the labour until several hours after the royal nativity. A family defined even a few decades ago by its distance from ordinary life edged closer to it. Harry’s “over the moon” and “to die for” colloquialisms were a winning transatlantic mash-up. Even the royal accents are modulating gradually towards the well-spoken, rather than gratingly posh. Harry these days sounds less Etonian and more akin to the kind of affable chap who calls colleagues “you guys”.

The skill is in sounding so at ease while getting your own way. Somewhere among Harry’s sharing moments we were firmly told that the baby circus was to be suspended for a couple of days, allowing the new family at Frogmore Cottage time to sort out the business of dealing with a squalling bundle of sheer wonder. For a royal often painted as good-hearted but not cerebral, the Duke was doing a fine early example of setting boundaries.

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