It turns out I’m not and am unlikely ever to be a Prince. I just don’t have the skills; I’m useless at small talk, I look terrible in a hat so a crown is a complete no-no and most importantly of all I fall a long way shy of William Windsor’s expertise in placing a car seat with added freshly born baby into the back of a motor with aplomb.
This is probably exactly the sort of activity that the royals have intensive training in in a small part of the Highgrove gardens, near the bins. However, in a freezing hospital car park, as I was surrounded by a sleepy baby Elsa, a wife who had given her mental and physical all over the previous couple of days and a Skoda with busted central locking I realised I was nowhere even near recreating the second-in-line’s triumphant moment, live on international TV, with George earlier this year.
Just as his seat clicked in with all the smooth perfection of a glossy television advert I spent ten minutes pushing, pulling and muttering mild swear words before it was all safe for that petrifying journey home, precious cargo secured.
All of this is just so much preamble because, as you may have picked up you little Sherlock you, Elsa Marjorie Coulson was born on Tuesday night at 10:35 and totally and utterly changed our world for the better. We still look at each other and ask whether we really could have jointly made something so beautiful and perfect. I half expect a knock at the door any moment from some heavy employed by the NHS to take her back to her rightful owners.
I expected that I’d cry the first time I saw her (it’s a bone of contention that I remained dry-eyed throughout my wedding day so I did feel a little pressure to prove that I don’t have a shrivelled, black heart) but I didn’t expect to become the kind of blubbering wreck that I now most certainly am. Of course it may well be the sleep depravation but every time I look into her eyes, each squeeze of my finger in her tiny hands and even writing this sentence brings that hot, stinging sensation to my eyes. I could cuddle her forever if it weren’t for the fact that she has to occasionally feed and also being in close proximity to some of the nappy contents that we’ve encountered so far for any expanse of time must come with a high-level toxicity warning.
With the unconditional love, though, comes the almost overwhelming weight of responsibility too; this treasured package relies on us for everything. Actions have consequences for the helpless little mite and that was preying on my mind as soon as that car seat clicked into place. I was transporting the most valuable consignment I’d ever placed inside my vehicle and it certainly showed; the journey home made Driving Miss Daisy seem like The Fast and the Furious. But I’ll bet you any money that exactly the same thoughts were racing through Prince William’s mind too. See, perhaps we’re not that different after all.
**Update: I’m writing this a year on, here’s what I’ve learnt***