In a relatively quiet week for news, there was a burst of activity when it was announced that the new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, had gone into labour (no, not the political party – that really would be a surprise!) with her first child with her husband Prince Harry. After a revoltingly cute photoshoot with the new-born at Windsor, he was introduced to his grandparents, HM the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, and then finally the name was announced. Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
The name has caused some controversy - yes, it really is that slow a news week. Some praised its down-to-earth nature, or ‘middle class’ as The Telegraph termed it. The choice to only give him the one middle name is unusual for a royal, most have at least three, for example, Prince Harry is Henry Charles Albert David. Also unusual is the fact that Archie is a diminutive of Archibald, but the official name is just Archie. Royals almost always have their official names as full names, even if a diminutive is used frequently in day to day life – e.g. Harry-Henry. Harrison has a simple explanation, it comes from the root ‘Harry’s son’ which, of course, he is.
This rather modern/casual name is all part of the Sussex’s plan to try and give little Archie as ‘normal’ a childhood as possible. However, they seem to be forgetting that, although he will not be given a title just yet, he will eventually, upon the death of his father, become the Duke of Sussex. Duke Archie doesn’t quite carry the weight that one would like from a Duke, its almost verging on a character from a children’s book.
Illustration by Rhiannon Powell
However, the most interesting fallout from the birth of the royal baby came not from the Royal family but from the BBC. The long-serving BBC radio DJ Danny Baker was swiftly sacked by the Beeb after he tweeted a black and white photograph of a well-dressed couple walking hand in hand with a similarly dapper, small monkey out of a building. He captioned this "Royal Baby leaves hospital". Twitter users were quick to point out the racial undertones of such an image considering the heritage of the Duchess. Baker then deleted the tweet and apologised for the mistake, claiming it was a “stupid gag” and that he had not considered the racial element until it had been pointed out to him.
However, the BBC moved quickly and by the end of the day, Baker was out. There appears to be much debate as to whether Baker was aware of what he was doing or whether the BBC overreacted to what was an innocent, if in poor taste, joke. I’ll leave it to you to make up your mind. The BBC’s speedy response to this seemingly shows a new style of discipline at the corporation particularly in the wake of the Saville scandal that took many painful years to be dealt with.
Meanwhile, at Westminster, the cabinet are no longer even trying to hide their rebellion with several ministers openly running for May’s job, despite the fact she is, amazingly, still in position. Foreign Sec Jeremy Hunt and ex-Brexit Sec Dominic Raaaaaab (add ‘A’s to taste) along with Michael Gove have all appeared in long interview pieces in the national press, peppered with glossy photographs of them with their wives in their unrealistically tidy kitchens. Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House and May’s old rival from the leadership competition that put her into office, has also thrown her hat into the ring, suggesting in an interview that if she’d been PM (or at least an avid Brexit supporter like herself) then it all would have been sorted by now.
So, it looks like sooner, rather than later, we will be enjoying all the slime and slander of a Tory leadership competition. Particularly as the Chair of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady has spent all week badgering the PM to announce when she’s going to leave…along with the rest of the nation. But of course, this time, to paraphrase Blackadder, the leadership competition will have to be run on policies, not personalities because none of the candidates appear to have one.
Maybe it can be decided on who has the cleanest kitchen? Probably a more sensible idea than letting Tory MPs decide.
Mind how you go.