LONDON — Of the various press rituals surrounding the British royal family, few are sillier than the vigil outside a London maternity ward, where squadrons of news reporters wait on the street, sometimes for hours or days, for a woman to go into labor.
What follows is bedlam: Bookmakers with blackboards, updating the odds on names, tipsy monarchists, and, for a crowd of exasperated journalists, the opportunity to photograph a few inches of exposed royal baby before the child is whisked away to a palace.
The only thing worse, it seems, is not being able to photograph the newborn at all.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, known more widely as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, last week announced that they were canceling the traditional photo opportunity, and that they would instead share their own photos of the newborn, known in the business as “Baby Sussex,” after they had “had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”
This did not go down well with the press, which reported the decision as a departure from more than 40 years’ tradition.
The Sun, Britain’s highest-circulation tabloid, chided the couple for infringing on “our royal rights.”
“Keeping the nation in the dark over details, even after the birth, is a bad look for the royal couple,” the newspaper’s unsigned editorial said on April 12. “The public has a right to know about the lives of those largely funded by their taxes. You can accept that, or be private citizens. Not both.”
In interviews, journalists were more raw.
“It’s the way Harry is at the moment, he’s just got this bee in his bonnet that all the media are to be ignored,” said Arthur Edwards, 78, a photographer for The Sun, who has covered the births of five royal babies, including Harry.
“Harry used to be the best of all of them,” Edwards say. “ Now, it’s not even ‘Good morning.’ Nothing. He treats us just like telegraph poles now.”
New York Times