This post originally appeared on my Facebook, and I love it so much that I want to shift it over to the blog for posterity's sake. I wrote this on Monday, May 6, the day Archie was born.
Okay, okay, I'll admit it. It was always William's poster I had up on my bedroom wall. When I dreamed of marrying into the Royal Family as a little girl, it was always to him. But, as your mother once said, your brother may have been born to be King, but you - you were the one to watch.
And today, this morning, I did watch you, as you stood outside your home on surely one of the best days of your life - the day your first child, your son, was born, so happy, so overjoyed, so filled with delight that you could burst. And you deserve this. You walked through fire to earn this moment.
You are only two years older than I am, and, because my mother was literally obsessed with your mother, I've been following your life since I could comprehend who you were. I saw you as a rambunctious child. I saw you walk behind your mother's casket, only 12 years old. I saw your handwritten card to her on her casket - one word, so simple, but so profound - "Mummy." I cried for you, because in that moment you represented anyone who'd ever lost anything too soon, anyone whose heart had ever broken into a million seemingly irreparable pieces. I saw you spiral. I saw you make mistakes publicly. But then I saw you rise. I saw the pieces of your heart be put back together, slowly. I saw you serve your country. I saw you find charity work that moved your soul. I saw you come into the man that you are now. I saw you embrace your role as the spare - the oft forgotten second son. I saw you use your freedom in that role to do good.
And then I saw you fall in love.
I saw you protect her when she was chastised in the press, like a good gentleman would do. I saw you hold on to her, protectively, as you announced your engagement. I saw you get emotional on your wedding day, standing at the altar, surely your entire life flashing before your eyes - the good, the bad, the ugly - and how it all, blessedly, led you to this astoundingly beautiful moment with this astoundingly beautiful woman. How it all worked out. How you came from the depths of despair, heartbreak, self-destruction - and did it all while the world was watching - and refused to settle for that. You have fully evolved into a man we'd all be lucky to know - a man whose love, kindness, and grace were on full display this morning as you spoke to the press about your son's birth. I know you will raise him as your mother did you, to be royal, yes, but to be REAL; to see and embrace life outside the palace walls; to do all you can with the life you've been given to make the world better.
I saw you, and she - your mother - she surely saw you too, from whatever corner of Heaven she is watching from. This is a happy day for the world, and a happy day for her, because, after all, she was right - it turned out to be you, Duke of Sussex, that was worth watching all along.
Congratulations, Rachel - a lifelong fan