IT’S going to be a difficult thing to explain when the child is old enough to understand, maybe nine or 10.
How do you tell your son or daughter that their unborn presence led to the death of one of the women employed to care for them?
As the child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge gets older, perhaps it will grow to feel guilty about the death of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who took her own life after being duped by two Australian DJs.
It would be sad, but perhaps inevitable, if the yet-to-be-born future monarch were to assume some of the responsibility for the demise of the mother-of-two.
There is plenty of blame to go round for last Friday’s tragedy but it should go without saying that the three-month-old foetus bares none of it.
The two people most responsible for this awful tragedy are the DJs themselves, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who phoned the King Edward VII Hospital last week pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles.
“It was designed to be stupid,” Ms Greig told Australian TV this week, showing she does at least have a level of awareness about the quality of her work.
Even without the tragic consequences of the DJs’ so-called joke, surely they must reflect that phoning people up and pretending to be someone you’re not is no way for an adult to make a living. Bart Simpson used to do it a lot, but he had the excuses of being 10-years-old and fictional.
But the two DJs are not the only players in this blame game. Presenters don’t decide whether a recorded piece of audio goes on air – that’s the job of producers and editors.
There are people higher up the food chain at 2DayFM in Sydney who are at least as culpable as the two presenters for last week’s tragedy.
Another group which must share the blame – and I don’t like admitting this in the post-Leveson era – are the newspapers who took the nothing story of a prank call and turned it into front-page news.
Would Mrs Saldanha have taken her life if the hoax call had been aired on a radio station at the other end of the world and never heard of again?
There’s only one person who can answer that and, tragically, she’s no longer with us.
But the blame for the nurse’s death does not end there.
You may not want to hear this, dear reader, but I think it’s your fault too.
Your fault if you watch endless hours of TV reporters standing outside a hospital talking about nothing. Your fault if you buy a newspaper when it has a picture of Kate Middleton on the front and don’t buy it when it doesn’t.
Your fault if you’ve already purchased a novelty mug celebrating the arrival of a baby who is yet to be born.
Those two DJs and all those royal correspondents are only supplying your demand.
It was the insatiable appetite for any news about the pregnancy which turned the prank call story into a front-page splash.
After all, there’s only so long you can go on reporting: “This just in: Duchess still pregnant” before even the most ardent royalist gets bored.
One day all this will have to be explained to the yet-to-be-born offspring of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
He or she will have to learn some other strange things about themselves, like the fact they were born to reign, that an accident of birth means they are never to have a private life, never to know the simple pleasure of walking down a street unhindered.
Given the bizarre upbringing that awaits this child, what chance does it have of becoming a well-rounded adult?
The unborn baby’s grandfather is often described as an oddball, a bit of a weirdo.
But Prince Charles has been told all his life that he was born to do a certain job, that he must train for decades to do this job and that he will only get this job when his mother dies.
It’s hardly a recipe for a well-rounded personality. And the same fate awaits Charles’ first grandchild.
I see no prospect of Britain becoming a republic – the only real hope for a normal life for this child – but we could at least all help our unborn future ruler by taking the interest in its progress down a notch.