PATRICK JEPHSON: The future Queen Catherine is such a relief after the shocking spectacle of the runaway Sussexes
Happy Mum, Happy Baby is a modest, moving, educational and fully life-confirming exploration of young motherhood, as told by the most famous – and certainly most important – young mother in the country.
It is sometimes said that the greatest strength of the Monarchy is that it survives generation after generation, no matter what. His primary task is to survive, and his secondary task is to reproduce.
The Duchess of Cambridge seems to have effortlessly achieved these two goals while looking dignified and royal.
But here, in her own words, we learn that what seems effortless is only achieved through hard work, sleepless nights and the curse of morning sickness, not to mention periods of fear and doubt.
The Duchess of Cambridge gave the tell all interview to the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast organized by Giovanna Fletcher
The future Queen Catherine offers us a cheerful alternative to the nasty spectacle of her brother-in-law and sister-in-law who are affecting their royal status in North America.
In the process, she reminded us that the Windsor succession is not only safe, but also flourishing.
So Catherine, whose voice few British could claim to know well, achieves additional impact with this podcast because we’re not used to hearing her speak.
In an era where everyone seems determined to hold the microphone, it is refreshing to hear her unfamiliar and unhealed voice in Central England speak in self-confident tones about a topic that is so dear to her.
The duchess calls on all of us to “find ways in which we can unite people to work together.” Amen on it.
With this project Catherine resembles her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, who devoted herself to the use of her profile and influence to draw attention to those at the bottom of hope.
Although Diana identified with those who she believed shared her sense of exclusion from regular life, she never forgot her patronage of mother and baby and charities for children such as Barnardo’s, the Pre-School Playgroups Association and Wellbeing of Women (formerly Birthright).
Catherine, whose voice few British could claim to know well, achieves additional impact with this podcast because we are not used to hearing her speak (pictured alongside Prince William with George (bottom left), Charlotte (bottom right) and Louis (in William’s arms)
Diana’s instinctive understanding of what children need to thrive was often what sustained her through the turmoil of her own divorce, leaving a powerful and unintended lesson in courageous motherhood to the most forgotten but deserving women in the country.
The demands but also the rewards of motherhood gave her a rare experience of unconditional love, perhaps compensating for the sad absence in much of the rest of her life. Hence her special care for childless couples, the motivation behind her support for fertility research.
There is a famous photo of her who throws her arms around little William and Harry when she is reunited with them at the Royal Yacht Britannia in Canada in 1991, which perfectly reflects the spontaneity of her affection for them.
She was determined that loving hugs should be a natural part of their lives, knowing that formality would inevitably rule much of their time in and out of the public eye.
She also knew that their father had grown up in a more subdued tradition in which love – though no less sincerely – took on a less demonstrative form.
It is hard to imagine that Diana made a podcast about motherhood, but if she had, she might have focused on her experience of combining these two very different styles of parenting, and proving that a combination of both possible and necessary in view of the royal duty to which their children were born.
Catherine will hopefully never undergo the betrayal and isolation that William’s mother has experienced. Instead, she has chosen her own way of using her position of privilege for young mothers in need of support.
In this way she meets the expectations that all princesses must bear and, by personalizing it through the website 5BigQuestions.org.uk, she has taken on the task of bringing the project to a successful conclusion.
My respect is deepened by Catherine’s repeated belief that good provision for early years contributes to building national unity. What better message can a future queen offer mothers and fathers today? The future of the Monarchy is clearly very safe in the hands of Middleton. Lucky Windsors. Lucky us.