Jean Broke Smith is a grooming and etiquette expert who worked as the Principle of the Lucie Claton grooming school for 30 years training politicians, royalty and TV stars. She is a regular expert contributor in the media for all things royal and has travelled all over world making hit shows, including Ladette to Lady, Australian Princess and American Princess.
Following the arrival of Prince George, Jean teamed up with Persil to create a tongue-in-cheek ‘Guide to raising your baby like a royal’. She sits down with ! Online to talk about the newest addition to the royal household.
How likely is it that William and Kate will hire a nanny
I would think they would need some help of some kind. Possibly not like Charles and Anne etc – they had their special nannies, who were very traditionally there. So did William and Harry. I think she might want to continue to be ‘the mum’ – but we are talking about Kate; she will have to go on lots of occasions with him. It depends of course whether William wants to take on more official duties. If that happens, I think they will have to have somebody to help. I’m sure they will have a housekeeper, I know they are interviewing. So whether they have housekeeper who is also a little bit of a nanny as well…
It was very touching to see Prince Charles in the days surrounding the birth. He is clearly going to be a devoted grandfather.
I was slightly surprised! I think that in the situation when William was a baby, lots of things were different then – but he was rather like a little boy himself, so excited. It was lovely.
I often wonder because of his background – I mean not many people have a mother who happens to be the queen! I think she was a closer mother than we think. Just recently – with the birth of her grandchildren/great grandchildren – we are starting to see more pictures of how she was then. But I thought Charles was delightful, and, of course, Camilla who is already a grandmother herself. Prince Harry seems to be delightfully enthusiastic about being an uncle. He’ll be great fun! They will all rally around the couple.
Looking back on tradition — the Queen, who had nannies obviously, she straight away was a young mum. And of course Diana was an extremely young mother, whereas kate is a little bit older. She’s a little bit more mature. Diana was very very young to have two small children. It’s interesting how things through the generations are changing, and I think they have to for today’s world.
Kate is very close to her family, and William himself is incredibly fond of them. There is no doubt that they too will play an important role in Prince George’s life.
Absolutely. He’s obviously very close to them, and of course he lost his mother when he was still at school.
My son — who is now 30, he’s between the two princes — actually went to Eton as well. And I’ll never ever forget seeing William just after he’d come back from his mother’s funeral. He was so brilliant, standing there with all the other boys, trying to carry on. I thought he was tremendous; you could see the pain, but he was still trying to be one of the boys at school. So I think, from the point of view that he did lose his mum when he was young, and the fact that he’s now got a very close relationship with the Middletons, it’s fantastic.
I personally think that’s why, even when people said they should have stayed in Kensington Palace after the baby was born, he appreciates that they are a very close family. I think it shows his own fortitude. And it’s a very touching family dynamic.
In your guide, you discus the importance of keeping in touch with the family legacy through relatives, in particular grandparents.
It’s very important, in every way, for the new baby to bond with family, including grandparents, and even great grandparents – which in George’s case is the Queen and Prince Philip. That’s some legacy! Everybody has a family legacy – I think it’s good for the family to be involved. Obviously we are looking at a couple in the 21st century, a slightly different couple than most first-time mums and dads, but whoever the parents, its important to remind every child where he or she comes from.
I think William and Kate are sensible. They are gently bringing this baby into this big wide world— and he is such an important baby, who will likely reign over all of us one day. As a mum myself, the first thing I thought about when I started working on this guide is how precious those first few weeks are. It’s such a special time. I am sure William is a very hands-on father, and there will be times he can help out with bathing the baby, enjoy playtime with the child. All these things, I found as a mother, were so special and peaceful.
We saw William expertly fitting the car seat himself before driving his new family away. It certainly seems like he is going to be a hands-on dad.
I have to tell you I was quite surprised; he managed to fit it, he didn’t flap… I was so impressed! I don’t think anybody — mother or father — knows how to fit these things! And when he jumped into the drivers seat I thought ‘wow’. It was fantastic. I would have said it was his choice. He wanted to be in control, because there will be times when life takes over. I personally think if they travel, they will take the baby with them. As Diana did.
What part do you think William’s own childhood will play in his approach to fatherhood
I think it is why he’s so protective of Kate. Obviously he has thoughts about media involvement in his life. And I think that’s why that little hand guiding her when they came out of the doors at the Lindo was very sweet. Even though he is heir to the throne, I think he wants to be – that terrible expression – a hands on father, and will be doing that as we speak.
While Prince George’s birth was first revealed in a press release, William and Kate also announced the news on an easel at Buckingham Palace. It seemed the perfect balance of royal tradition and their roles as 21st century parents.
Absolutely. One has to stick to the traditions of royal family but they also announced it in today’s world. One has to move forward.
I think they will be very much a 21st century mum and dad. I think William had that to a point, but not to the extent he will want it with his son.
What did you think of Kate and William’s very first appearance with their son on the steps of the hospital
I thought it was tremendous. I think they looked extremely happy – which obviously they were. I was actually quite pleased that they didn’t let the media know – they had three or four hours just to bond with baby George. I think that is really, really lovely. And I thought she looked amazing.
I also thought it was very touching to see William looking after her – there was the protective hand just guiding her as they left the Lindo wing. And well done to her for coming out the day after giving birth!
Are you impressed with how well Kate has adapted to life in the spotlight
I am very impressed. I think it’s good at the moment they are having time again to be with the royal baby out of the spotlight. It’s very important. If she decides to stay with her family (now William is back at work), one has to respect that it’s her first baby. It’s understandable – she’s going to be in the spotlight forever.
I think it’s fantastic the way the press have behaved too, not hounding her and sitting outside the home. There’s going to be so many years to come!
But there is such a fondness towards them. It’s really lovely to have something we are really proud of. You talk to people from other countries and they are all so enthusiastic.
I am really looking forward to George’s next appearance and seeing what he looks like! I loved that little wave at the hospital, it couldn’t have been staged better. It was very very sweet. I think everyone is excited to see the royal baby again. Watch this space!
Etiquette expert Jean Broke-Smith has teamed up with Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure to create a light-hearted guide to ‘Raising your baby like a royal’ – download it at www.facebook.com/comfortZoneUK. Look out for Limited Edition Royal packs of Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure in all good supermarkets now.