In a departure from royal tradition, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — otherwise known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — have decided to keep the details about their incoming baby’s birth on the down low. The decision was announced via an official statement. It read: “The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a family.” While Meghan has angered the press core by indicating that she probably won’t take part in the tradition of standing outside of the hospital wing in a gown and holding her baby (she is rumored to prefer a home birth) and therefore hurt the sale of first images, the new Royal offspring still maintain one particular tradition: making a ton of money for the British economy.
Royal babies are a big boon for the British economy. When Prince Louis Arthur Charles was born, the son of Prince William and Princess Kate’s mere presence had, within a week, generated somewhere between $70 and $125 million for the U.K. economy. It’s not like Prince Louis immediately jumped into doing #sponcon on Instagram. It’s simply that the royal brand — and the public infatuation with it — is simply that powerful. By wearing a posh sweater or cute shoes and appearing in photos, Louis makes money for UK brands and publications. There are calendars and commemorative magazines. There are sweaters and shoes. The same is true of the other recent royal children. Prince George earned about $3.6 billion for the British economy.
Charlotte generated the most of all with a cool $5 billion. Economists refer to her economic staying power as the “Charlotte effect.” Yes, a toddler has an “effect.” When the royal Instagram account posted a photo of Charlotte in a certain sweater from John Lewis in honor of her second birthday, the sweater sold out in a matter of minutes. When Charlotte was revealed in a GH Hurt blanket, more than 100,000 unique visitors from over 180 different companies visited the website. Prince George has a bit of an effect, too. When the tiny royal first emerged from the hospital in Kate’s arms, swaddled in a baby blanket from Aden + Anais, 10,000 orders were placed for that blanket alone. The babies have power.
British publications and brands are very aware of this fact. When Harry and Meghan announced their intention to keep a very personal and private matter personal and private, publishers felt it worried about their wallets. In an unsigned letter published in The Sun, one of Britain’s most popular tabloids, a publisher responded that their reasonable right to privacy was infringing upon their “royal rights.”
“Keeping the nation in the dark over details, even after the birth, is a bad look for the royal couple,” the anonymous letter read. “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.” Taxpayers in the UK pay an estimated 88 cents per year per capita to support the royals’ lavish lifestyle.
While this is on a much larger scale, any new parents hounded by their family and friends to post photos of their baby to social media can certainly relate to what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are going through. Still, no matter how long they keep their new baby’s arrival private, whenever the infant is revealed in a photo-op in a dashing swaddling blanket or sweater or hair bow, the money will certainly roll in.