Bringing Up Royalty
07.23.13 8:45 AM ET
How Different Is Raising the Royal Baby From a Typical American Child?
What do you get the baby who has everything? It’s a question that’s never been more appropriate as the world celebrates the arrival of the royal baby. Will and Kate’s wee one, who was finally born on Monday afternoon, will have no normal upbringing, after all. Only the finest, most lavish baby products will be used to raise the future king of England—a stark contrast from the more economical and practical tools used by the typical American family. In other words, while you’re pretending your plastic spoon is an airplane while feeding your baby mushy cereal, Kate’s crowning achievement, we can only imagine, will be eating pureed organic produce off an engraved, gold-plated spoon.
So just how different will the royal baby’s upbringing be from your average American kid’s? We spoke to royal experts, researched what Princess Diana used to raise her boys, and trusted our royal intuition to find the stroller, bassinet, and other products Kate and her fellow caretakers will likely be using. To compare, we dug up the most popular baby products purchased by Americans. The difference is … well, take a look-see:
Kate’s likely version: When it comes to stroller swag, the Bugaboo is a serious statement piece. Mothers-to-be covet it like a Birkin bag, and celebrity moms are known to splurge on it. Gwyneth Paltrow wheeled her daughter Apple around London in a Bugaboo pram. Harper Beckham hangs out in a pink one. And Kate is rumored to have bought a blue one, which hints that she may have known for a while now that a strapping young lad would be joining the royal family. She reportedly told a group of Army wives at a drinks reception about her purchase, though she likely didn’t disclose how much she shelled out for it. Top-of-the-line versions are priced at nearly $2,000.
Typical American version: The most popular stroller on Amazon is the First Years Jet Stroller, which retails for just $49.99. Not exactly a Bugaboo, sure, but it does have a nifty one-hand folding feature and weighs only 11 pounds. Plus, it comes in this super-cool butterfly pattern.
When this is how you're announced to the world, it's hard to be a normal baby.
Kate’s likely version: The duchess and her mum have already taken care of where the third in line to the throne will lay his head after leaving the hospital. The two settled on a white wicker Moses basket—“baby cot,” in Brit speak—from Blue Almonds, a luxury nursery shop in posh South Kensington. Off-the-shelf versions like the one Kate purchased go for £295—roughly $500. But given that the shop also makes customized baskets that cost up to £1,000, you could say Kate was being relatively frugal by choosing one without frills. Sort of.
Typical American version: While a Moses basket is certainly precious, it’s far more practical—and, let’s face it—easier for a family to lay their newborn on the floor on top of a nice, comfortable baby blanket. This JJ Coles Essentials blanket, at $29.95, is among the most popular. And when it’s time for bed, quality bassinets can be purchased for less than half of what Kate spent. The First Years 5-in-1 bassinet sleeper/baby carrier is a bargain at $159 and is much more portable than the cumbersome (though pretty) Moses basket.
Kate’s likely version: Even if Wills is wary of outfitting his child the way he was dressed—prepped out in seersucker shorts and crisp collared shirts—the little prince will likely wear the same $70 Start-Rite “Lottie Sandals” that Diana strapped on both of her boys (never mind that they’re meant for girls). It’s estimated that the royals have worn more than 1,500 pairs of shoes from the classic English brand, which was granted its “Royal Warrant” in 1955. Naturally, Victoria Beckham is a fan.
Typical American version: Fortunately, teeny-tiny baby shoes are adorable no matter the brand or cost. Case in point: these slip-ons from Luvable Friends, which are just $9.42.
Kate’s likely version: It’s safe to say that this babe will be clad in the chicest (read: expensive) bloomers and booties. Think $69 smocked bodice jumpsuits or $250 cashmere ones from French designers like Jacadi and Bonpoint. Even if Kate often likes to keep a low fashion profile, wearing more modestly priced Reiss dresses than she does Burberry frocks, we’re fairly certain the queen will command fancy clothes for the baby, at least for pictures.
Typical American version: Why splurge on designer baby gear when your pint-size pride and joy is just going to puke all over it? That’s why most practical families stock up on these Gerber onesies, which come in a five-pack for just $8. Want something a little more personable? A five-pack with cutesie patterns and phrases is just $5 more.
Kate’s likely version: While William and most royal children have had a fleet of caretakers, it looks like Kate and Will might buck tradition and forgo a full-time nanny, with the baby’s grandparents taking on diaper duty much more than royal grandparents have in generations past. Still, the child will have at least a part-time nanny for security purposes. Skilled nannies and governesses in the U.K. can demand up to £1,500 a week, or more than $2,000, according to specialist agency Royal Nannies.
Typical American version: There are, of course, many options for child care in the United States, whether it’s one parent staying at home, full-time center-based day care, or a combination of the two. According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, the average cost of center-based day care in the U.S. is $972 amonth, or $11,666 ayear. While that’s no small chunk of a change, it’s certainly nowhere near the astronomical cost of a full-time child-rearing staff.
Kate’s likely version: Where will His and Her Highness be sending their little darling for school? Back in 1985, Princess Diana broke tradition by sending Will and Harry to The Minors Nursery School in Notting Hill. It’s not clear where Will and Kate plan to enroll their child in preschool, but there are several early favorites for kindergarten. According to The Daily Beast’s Tom Sykes, the frontrunner is Acorn Nursery, also in Notting Hilll, where fees run approximately $3,000 per term—for a half day. To call the establishment exclusive is an understatement: Madonna’s son Rocco was rejected from Acorn. Other contenders include Minors Nursery, which is less celeb-crazy, and Chelsea Pre-Prep and Nursery, which counts ballet, French, and animal care among its extracurricular activities.
Typical American version: During the 2011-12 school year, 28 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded preschool program. Other popular options, like a YMCA preschool program, can cost in the range of $57-$110 a week, depending on whether the child is enrolled for a full or a half day. Then, of course, there’s the most economical preschool option: plopping the tot down in front of the TV for a marathon of Dora the Explorer.
Kate’s likely version: If the newest royal is going to follow in his dad’s footsteps, expect enrollment in Wetherby School, which both William and Harry attended as kids and where tuition runs about $20,000 a year. But Sykes suspects that “William and Kate will not replicate any part of their own schooling,” and therefore the primary school favorite is Garden House School. According to the school’s press materials, “Literature filters through the curriculum; we are inspired by the history, the architecture, the style, the greenness and busyness as well as the nearness to the River Thames.” If that’s not enough to keep the the royal progeny occupied, the school also boasts a world-class art collection—and costs roughly $10,000 a year.
Typical American version: Public school is free, y’all.
Kate’s likely version: Though stepgrannie Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was already gifted a crate of baby food from a popular organic brand, former royal chef Darren McGrady said he doubts this child will dine on anything packaged. McGrady pureed organic fruits and veggies for William and Harry. Surely this baby will eat the same fresh chicken and pea mush as his father, complete with a diamond-encrusted spoon.
Typical American version: Who needs a royal chef? A 12-pack of Earth’s Best organic baby food is just $10.99. Options like chicken tomato pastina and harvest squash turkey and beef sound pretty delectable, too.
Kate’s likely version: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby’s christening will feature some spectacular fashion—especially on the rosy-cheeked crumpet himself. The boy will wear a replica of the ornate gown worn by Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in 1841, according to The Mirror. Prince Charles and his two sons all wore the original.
Typical American version: Dressing poor, helpless infants in mortifying, frilly christening gowns is as much of a ritual for families in the States as it is for the royals. While many families do pass down outfits from one generation to the next, it’s likely that their gowns aren’t modeled after one worn by a princess in the 1800s. It’s even more likely, however, that a family will head to the local department store to buy a christening dress, which can be found for as little as $25 or $30.
Kate’s likely version: Prince William was only 3 the first time he got on a horse—a miniature pony named “Smokey,” to be more precise. Even though Kate is allergic to horses, she’s reportedly taking riding lessons (because you can’t be a member of the royal family and not know how to participate in the old-fashioned English “sport”). If Wills has any say in the matter, their boy will have his very own Smokey, too. Mini ponies go for a cool $4,000 if purchased from a specialist breeder.
Typical American version: Let’s be real. This is the closest most American children will ever be to owning a horse.