Tabloid speculation about the state of Kate Middleton‘s belly has run rampant ever since she married the future King of England last year. This morning, Buckingham Palace made it official: The duchess and her husband, Prince William, are expecting an heir to the royal throne. Squeee!!!
Tabloids and other publications have gone feverish with pregnancy speculation in recent months. Last week, “Royalist” columnist Tom Sykes posted a creepy, but ultimately accurate, list of 11 signs Kate Middleton is pregnant. His reasons: Her slightly puffy “preg-face,” her sipping of water, and the fact that she and William recently moved into a new house. “IT”S TWINS!” screamed Star magazine in September.
It’s impossible to put a price on a baby’s head, and it’s tacky to reduce a pregnancy to a career move. That said, this will seriously be the most famous, valuable baby of all time, you guys. If Kate weren’t already a worldwide celebrity, this cements her place in the pantheon of most-watched, most-beloved women in the world. Not that she has any need to turn that celebrity into cash — she’s above that, natch. But if fame and adoration are a kind of currency, Kate is now just about the richest woman in the world.
Of course, becoming famous isn’t Kate’s professional responsibility. But in a weird way, having a child is. As Slate puts it, “There’s still something amazingly retro that it’s actually Kate’s job to get pregnant…. The monarchy may not ask its employee to continue the kind of grueling publicity tours Diana undertook when she was pregnant with William. But those are minor modifications to a very, very old-school public ritual.”
And think of the industry this little heir will be responsible for: He or she will indirectly employ hundreds of tabloid reporters, photographers, TV producers, Twitter server maintenance workers, and tchotchke manufacturers, to name just a few. Oh, and the little one will also be heir to the British throne whether the baby is a boy or a girl. Six months after the royal wedding last year, Britain changed the rules of royal succession to make it so sons no longer take precedence over daughters. The end of men, indeed.