LONDON – Of the various press rituals surrounding the British royal family, a few are waiting for the vigil outside a London maternity ward, where squadrons of news reporters wait on the street, sometimes for hours or days, for a woman to go into lab.
What follows is booklam: Bookmakers with blackboards, updating the odds on names, tipsy monarchists, and, for a crowd of exasperated journalists, the opportunity to photograph a few inches of exposed baby before the child is whisked away to a palace.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, known to many as Harry and Meghan Markle, announced that they are They were instead "sharing their own photos of the newborn, known in the business as" Baby Sussex, "after they had" had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family. "
The Sun, Britain's highest-circulation tabloid, chided the couple for infringing on "our royal rights."
19659007] "Keeping the nation in the dark details, even after the birth, is a bad look for the royal couple," the newspaper's unsigned leader sniffed on April 12. "The public has come to know about the lives of those largely funded by their taxes. You can accept that, or be private citizens. Not both. "
In interviews, journalists were more raw.
" It's the way Harry is at the moment, he's just got this bee in his bonnet that's all ignored, "Arthur Edwards, 78, a photographer for The Sun, who has the birth of five babies, including Harry at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital.
"Harry used to be the best of all of them," Mr. Edwards say , "We'll get together in a pub and we'll talk about everything, get it off our plate. It would be frank and open, and you never reported it. Now, it's not even 'Good morning.' He treats us just like telegraph poles now. "
The new couple's decision to exclude the baby from their baby's birth is hardly a surprise to anyone who has been keeping track. Last year, Harry and Meghan allowed only one reporter inside St. George's Chapel for their wedding, which came as a crushing blow to this publication.
paparazzi on motorcycles.
The trouble with excluding the press – rewriting the rules of an old, symbiotic relationship – is that the press Has a way of getting its own back. By old tradition, coverage of the royals oscillates between sycophantic and brutal, avidly milking story lines about their laziness, profligacy, debauchery or low intelligence. In the "Sleeping Beauty," she could hope for many years, "The is the shattering of a tradition that goes back for decades." said one senior journalist, who would discuss the matter on the condition of anonymity.
Coverage of the Sussexes, in recent weeks, has not been kind.
"The homespun brand of half-boiled New Age spirituality, spiked with neoliberal politics and inspirational hokum, plays well with fridge philosophers like Harry and Meghan, "wrote the columnist, Jan Moir, who was on the pills, in more earnest tones, for refusing to display the baby to photographers.
" While a new baby is a deeply personal and private event, a royal baby is so a totem of national celebration, a beacon of British joy, "she wrote. "What is the point of royals unless we can celebrate their baby royals in a totally bonkers British orgy of bunting, popping corks and knitted boats? Two or three days later, it just will not be the same. "
Then she went into the kill. "Perhaps Oprah has snapped up the exclusive first-look baby rights?" She inquired. "I would not put it past her. Or them. "
Ms. Markle's supporters push back in frontal American fashion. In February, five of the Duchess's friends defended her against "global bullying" in an interview with People Magazine, a move that reportedly surprised to her royal traders. George Clooney spoke up in her defense, telling a group of journalists that she had "pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was and it's history repeating itself."
This charge rankled even the gentlest of the royal reporters. Valentine Low, who covers the family of The Times of London, derided these allegations as "utter fantasy," and said many Americans fail to understand the traditional push-and-pull of royal coverage.
"The problem is that in some quarters, especially in the US, any negative coverage is seen as racist, "he wrote. "To listen to some networks to gain the impression that the British media is racist, sexist, snobbish and determined to go up on any outsider who has the temerity to join the royal family. "
Mr. Edwards, the Sun photographer, what more mournful than angry.
" I photographed Harry when he came out in Diana's arms, and I would like to have him photographed when he came out with his own baby, "He said.
He said Prince Harry has become extremely popular with readers.
"I feel a bit sad for him," he said. he said. "Because he's becoming morose."