Dear Royal Baby,
Welcome to the bright spotlight, baby boy!
You have been in the headlines since before your birth, and there are media trucks parked outside your house. The whole world just wants to get a glimpse of your face and watch you grow up.
It is a bizarre place to be, under the glare of those hot, white lights. I know, I’ve been there since before I was born, too.
As the first “test-tube baby” born in the US, I feel almost as if it is my duty to share with you some of the things I’ve learned as a member of the press myself, and as the intense focus of it.
You will have to find your own way to cope with the attention you’re going to get from here on out. It won’t be easy. But it will slowly become just another part of your life.
So, if you’ll indulge me for a bit longer, here are four kernels of truth I hope will help you when you’re old enough to realize that your life is tabloid fodder:
You are going to take every word written about you and your family personally. The only slice of comfort you will get is that no one really knows you. You’ll be called too fat or thin. Too short or tall. Smart or foolish. Your clothes will be judged, and God forbid you hit that awkward teen phase and wind up with both glasses and braces (I did!), because it’s just going to be hard to swallow. All of it will hurt at some point. You’ll get sick of it and want to escape. But there is no escape. This is your life. You must learn to accept that You are a talking point for people — a topic for idle chitchat over coffee. That does not mean you are not important. It simply means people don’t know anything about you, so they will dissect any shred of information they think they can get their hands on. Remember, they don’t know you, or what it is like to live your life. It is your job to show everyone who you really are, which is more than the title of “royal baby” could ever portray.
You will never feel good enough. You will live in that ugly area below your standards because your standards are impossibly high. Your parents didn’t place them there. Neither did the media attention. You did. Only you can take them away. I know that sounds backward now, but I know that it is true. My parents have never wanted me to be anything more than what I am: imperfect, bad at math, short, and feisty. Don’t let your own high standards intimidate you so much that you don’t strive for whatever you want. Be willing to fail. Know that your imperfection is what makes you human. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, but that’s the truth.
Don’t hide in the traditional sense of the word. You may not want to be on camera or be interviewed, but it will be worse if you don’t speak. The calls for interviews will seem unending, and you’ll probably never get used to doing a stand-up via a satellite feed. That is OK. You don’t have to get used to it, or even be that good at it. You just have to know that once in a while, if you let the media in to tell your story, it will actually help give your perspective on the role you play in other people’s lives — because believe it or not, some people will be glued to your every single hiccup. Not because they are stalkers; just because they are curious. Don’t hold it against them.
My last piece of advice is very simple: Do think very carefully about your actions and who is watching, so don’t throw a keg party at the palace when your parents are on holiday.
Elizabeth Comeau can be reached at email@example.com.