Now that the Duchess of Cambridge has been 'delivered of a son', as they say across the pond, has posed with the newly minted Lord of the Manor and his father Wills for the obligatory photo-op, and headed for home, whichever castle that may be, it is time to open the wrought iron gates to the flood of well-intended advice, all of it unsolicited, that will roll through the palace doors in the coming days.
Kate hasn't asked, but I'm offering, my tried and true, well-worn golden nuggets of parenting advice to help her get her high-heeled footing back in these early days as a family of three.
1. First, and most important of all - sleep. I know, every mother was gifted this priceless piece of advice, and everyone I know, including myself, disregarded it. Who sleeps when the little prince is snoozing and there is laundry to do and bills to catch up on.
22 years later, I wish I had slept for days after the birth of our Alexander. I didn't know then that laundry mutates, and will ALWAYS be there. Ironically, the sleep deprivation was the first thing I forgot when I had our two princesses. The Duchess may not opt for a nanny, but for the love of God and country Kate, use the night nurses, your mother, Camilla, the Queen, and any other Lord or Lady in waiting willing to hold his royal highness while you catch up on your beauty sleep, even if someone else pays the bills and folds the laundry.
2. Ditch the bulky diaper bag. Don't even think of picking one up. I had dozens, in the cutest of colors and designs. Even the pockets had pockets. Young mothers today are risking shoulder injury as they lug those things around. How many baggies of cheerios, fishies, bottles of formula, diapers, extra changes of clothing, teething rings and toys will Prince Cambridge need? Isn't that what the Court Jesters are for?
3. Save the family photographs for the royal archives, not Instagram or Twitter. As your young royal will soon find out, social media will be useful and fun, but even an adoring nation of subjects will tire of every little burp and bump with hashtags. It's too soon now, but at some point, when he's approaching his pre-teens, sit him down for a chat about his uncle Harry's infamous romp with a camera in Las Vegas.
4. His Royal Highness won't break. I promise. Oh sure, there may be a torn ligament or fractured limb down the road after a fierce polo match, but relax as his adoring grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins fawn over him like a piece of English bone china from great-great-Queen Victoria's hutch. And remember, this dovetails nicely back into rule number #1, which may make it possible from time to time to sneak off for a quick Corgie nap (no cats at Buckingham).
5. Mind his manners, but massage his tender heart more. The English have cornered the market on the important skill set of social graces. His royal highness will be in good hands. But generations of royals appear to have lacked the affection all children crave, something Grandfather Charles found difficult to display at all, but William's late mother, Diana, worked tirelessly to overcome. If a picture is worth a thousand words, judging from today's 'unveiling' to the world, I would say the young chap is off to a very jolly good start, cradled in the arms of loving parents who seem determined to model a new modernity of royal family. And that 'Manners A lot'!