I’ve been married to Jamie long enough to know very quickly when I’ve disappointed her. Within a split second of uttering the words, I knew I’d messed up.
Jamie’s mother is originally from Northern Ireland and that connection to the United Kingdom has spurred Jamie’s interest in the Royal Family. A TV show about Princess Diana will keep her glued to the set. May 19 has been circled on our calendar for months in anticipation of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This is one of Jamie’s things.
This, however, is not one of my things. While I hold nothing against the Queen of England or any of her family members, they have just failed to capture my imagination. My knowledge of them is very shallow.
That’s what led to me referring to the Duchess of Cambridge as “that princess lady” and getting a head shake of disappointment from my wife.
I am a big believer that you should at least know a little something about the things that interest your spouse. You don’t have to be a trivia-level expert, but at least show an interest. If you can be conversational about it, even better. There’s no need to turn “your thing” into “our thing” for the sake of marital bliss — and, in fact, having your own thing can be quite healthy — but you should at least make an effort to understand.
And that’s all I was trying to do, really. It was quite impossible to ignore the news April 23 that Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, had welcomed their third baby to the world, a boy weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces. Jamie was overjoyed; I had, quite honestly, forgotten a baby was on the way.
“Oh! OK. Cool,” I said, as I went on with my morning.
I didn’t think much more about the royal baby until later that afternoon when Jamie shared a video on Facebook of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge emerging from the hospital to greet the media on the very same day the baby was born.
Now they had my attention.
I have been present for many births, including four children of my own, and I cannot imagine asking the mother to stand up, go downstairs and greet people hours after delivering a baby. It seems downright inhumane. And she was actually smiling while she did it.
This caught Jamie’s attention, too.
“How did she just give birth this morning,” she asked. “I would be walking out looking like I just got out of a hot yoga class.”
I’ve never done a hot yoga class, but I know how I look after regular yoga, so I can imagine. Jamie’s friends shared, hilariously, in her incredulity. I’m generally not a truther in any way shape or form, but when someone wondered if she’d really been pregnant and another friend suggested it was a doppelganger showing off the baby, it didn’t seem far-fetched. I’ve yet to meet a mother who would’ve wanted to walk that postpartum red carpet on the same day as delivery.
I just wanted to have a chat about that with Jamie and said, “Can you believe that princess lady was walking around for the media the same day she gave birth?” I won’t make that mistake again.
Now it’s time for me to brush up on my knowledge of the royals. Like the fact that the youngest sibling is joining big brother Prince George and big sister Princess Charlotte in the family. And that even though we don’t know the baby’s name, we do know his title is His Royal Highness Prince (Name) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
We also know that the new baby is technically born a commoner — that part really confused me — and that he his fifth in line for the throne, which means he will probably never be king. I was born third in a family of four kids and so, even though we clearly weren’t a royal family, I know that the littlest prince will be reminded that he’s No. 5 for the rest of his life.
He and I will share that experience: fellow commoners, picked on by older siblings.