From His Grace: On the Royal Fetus

5 Dec

From His Grace (the blogger Archbishop Cranmer):

His Grace would like to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the announcement that they are expecting their first baby. Girl or boy, he or she is destined to ascend the Throne and reign over the United Kingdom (should it remain united) and the Dominions overseas.

But His Grace is puzzled. 

https://i0.wp.com/1.bp.blogspot.com/-2-tnxvg36t8/UL2N9xkGDAI/AAAAAAAALOk/-HZo3q_ugsA/s400/William%2Band%2BCatherine%2Btoast.jpgEverywhere he turns he reads about a Royal baby. Even The Guardian talks of the couple ‘expecting their first child’, despite the Duchess being in the ‘very early stages’ of pregnancy. We are told that the couple ‘are to be parents’, and that this ‘will be the Queen’s third great-grandchild’, and ‘a first grandchild for Prince Charles’. 

And the child’s birthright is acknowledged: yes, he or she is ‘destined to wear the crown one day’; he or she ‘will become third in line to the throne’, which the Prime Minister described it as ‘absolutely wonderful news’. Even Ed Miliband tweeted: ‘Fantastic news for Kate, William and the country. A royal baby is something the whole nation will celebrate.’

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said: “The whole nation will want to join in celebrating this wonderful news. We wish the Duchess the best of health and happiness in the months ahead.” 

And speculation abounds about the name: Charles? Diana? With The Guardian freely referring to ‘their baby’ and already anticipating his or her ‘first day at school’. 

Baby? Destiny? Parents? Great-grandchild? School? Even the Twitter hashtag is #RoyalBaby. 

Surely such ‘pro-choice’ newspapers and journals (and people) should be talking about a bunch of pluripotent stem cells, an embryo or a foetus? For reports suggest that the Duchess is still in her first trimester, so this is not yet a baby; and certainly nothing with any kind of destiny. At this stage, surely, it is a non-person, just like the other 201,931 non-persons who last year were evacuated from wombs in England, Scotland and Wales.

Or are royal foetuses endowed with full humanity from the point of conception?

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