I have some words of advice for the newborn Princess Charlotte (Elizabeth Diana) of Cambridge, the first of which -- get a good first name -- her parents have already taken on her behalf. So she’s off to a fine start.
Much has been made of the fact that she is the first girl born into the British royal family since the British Commonwealth countries that recognize Queen Elizabeth II as the monarch abolished the centuries-old practice of primogeniture in which first-born males succeeded to the throne ahead of elder sisters. Now, it’s only about birth order. Charlotte takes her place fourth in the line-up, currently, behind her older brother George who is, of course, behind his father, Prince William, who is behind his father, Prince Charles.
If you find the British monarchy an objectionable waste of British taxpayer dollars, then it’s still objectionable whether or not the rules for choosing the monarch become less sexist. But if you think of the family as kind of living history -- not to mention a sometime soap opera and lucrative tourism draw for the country -- then, it’s great that Charlotte isn’t being downgraded by her gender.
Tips for Charlotte:
People will, tiresomely, refer to you as the “spare” as in the “heir and the spare” -- you being the understudy to George. Just laugh and say you’re not the spare, you’re the sparess. Or tweet that line whenever you get your first smartphone -- which will be in about six years. The conventional wisdom is that you get to have more fun than the heir. But don't follow in the social footsteps of Uncle Prince Harry, your dad’s spare: Don’t allow yourself to be photographed butt-naked (no matter how hot you are) in a hotel suite in Vegas. And don't go to a costume party dressed as a Nazi.
Do go to university. Finish. Both of your folks did. In fact, they met at school. But leave the country for higher education. And I don't mean Scotland. Spread your wings across the pond. Go to Stanford or something.
Get a career outside the family business -- which, for the women in your family, consists of going around looking royal. Your mother, Kate Middleton, and your late grandmother, Diana (from whom you got one of your many middle names) are and were very good at this. Chances are you would be too. Really, the hardest thing about it is staying thin enough to wear the designer clothes. But just as your place in the royal line breaks with tradition, maybe your job should as well. You could follow your father and uncle into the royal military, but I'm thinking of something a little less regimented. Maybe venture capitalist. (You’ll have a lot of family connections to wealthy people.) Or veterinarian. Or human rights advocate.
But don’t disappear completely from the royal circuit. We want to see you at an occasional gala, ribbon cutting, Christmas morning church service if only (of course, only) to see what you’re wearing and how you get along with William and Kate. So don’t become reclusive and media-hating. Your family thrives because of the media. You couldn’t know this yet. After all, you slept through your first photo opp. But you’ll learn.
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