Sarika Bose, a lecturer at UBC who studies British culture, will be in London for the royal birth.
UBC lecturer and royal watcher Sarika Bose is in London as the birth of the future monarch of Britain nears
All eyes are on St. Mary’s Hospital in London as the due date for the royal birth nears. Prince William’s wife Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, is expected to give birth to the future monarch of Britain in the hospital’s Lindo wing in mid-July. Media are already camped out waiting for the first glimpse of the royal heir, who will be third in line to the throne. For Sarika Bose, a lecturer at UBC who studies British culture, the Royal Family is a source of intrigue.
Q: Why is there so much interest in the royal birth?
The monarchy has been continually functioning for hundreds and hundreds of years. That sense of continuity fascinates people. Where it had been seen as a dignified institution that represented the best of British culture and history, it has since been transformed to a level of fame on par with celebrities in general. Despite that, I think there is a mystique because you can’t attain these things. You have to be born into them. It’s that sense of magic that both frustrates and fascinates people.
Q: How might this royal baby be raised?
In terms of how the baby will be brought up, we have a very different type of family structure now. We don’t have the direct grandmother on the father’s side. We only have one grandmother. This is a middle-class grandmother, which is pretty much unprecedented. The most recent suggestion is Catherine will go stay with her mother in Buckinghamshire after the birth. It’ll be the first time in memory that the baby would go to a middle-class family home.
Q: What challenges face William and Kate after the baby is born?
I think that it’s the same bigger challenge faced by the monarchy today. How do you tread the balance between being dignified enough and representing an institution and also having the human touch that the average person seems to want at the same time? William and Catherine will have to pick and choose where to give and where to take.
Q: Why is everyone so eager to see the baby immediately after the birth?
There were all kinds of stories about the son of James II being an imposter because babies would die back then or there wouldn’t be a male heir. So, you’d have to have a witness. When Prince Charles was born, they ran blue water in the fountains at Buckingham Palace for about a month but no one saw the baby. There were rumours that something was wrong with him. So it’s really important for the nation to see and identify the baby. This is not modern. This is an old tradition.
Q: Why is the British monarchy still relevant?
People seem to think that there are enough things that work. People like to interrupt their lives with something pleasant such as this. Even if they rail against the monarchy for the rest of the year, many Britons plan to raise a glass to the new heir to the throne.