Royal baby No. 3, born Monday morning to Kate Middleton and Prince William, doesn't have the loftiest perch in the royal family tree.
He's fifth in line to the throne and, like his uncle Prince Harry (now sixth in line), he'll amiably—and perhaps gratefully—further descend the ladder when his big brother Prince George has kids. That's just how royal lineage goes in the United Kingdom—there's even a snappy name for it, the spare heir. And this bouncing baby boy, whose name has yet to be revealed, is actually the spare of the spare, his sister Princess Charlotte.
But fusty history aside, he's also the darling baby of the family, welcomed with open arms by kin and country, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's third child is going to be doted on like nobody's business, by Mum and Dad, his nanny and the rest of his sprawling family—which, excitingly, is going to be even bigger by the end of the year.
And though only time will tell whether No. 3 ever turns into a big brother, too, Kate and William's youngest will get to be a big cousin soon enough.
Kate's younger sister Pippa Middleton is reportedly pregnant with her first child, and after already being an invested aunt to George and Charlotte, who served as a pageboy and flower girl at her wedding last year, she's said to be thrilled to be starting a family of her own—especially one that comes with built-in playmates of all ages.
While George and Charlotte have a few young second cousins on their dad's side, Mia Tindall and Savannah and Isla Phillips, Pippa's son or daughter will be their first first cousin, and inevitably Kate's relationship with her first niece or nephew will be a special one.
Amid all the fuss understandably being made about the overhaul Meghan Markle's life is undergoing as she prepares to marry Prince Harry on May 19, there's talk of her inner circle and who's making the transition easier for her as she goes from her former existence as an actress to her new one as a probable duchess, married to the Queen of England's grandson. As Kate well knows, friends come and go, and at least there's texting and FaceTime to stay connected, but family obligations tend to take over once you're married—particularly if you marry into the royal family.
Throughout, Kate's been lucky to have Pippa nearby, the sisters—barely a year and a half apart in age—managing to remain close despite the demands of royal life. Even when Kate became a mom in 2013 (and a royal bride in 2011, and William's girlfriend in college), the sisters' bond persevered in the face of what could have been an all-consuming dynamic.
"I mean, obviously she has pressures that she's taken on and things," Pippa told NBC News in 2014, talking about what she called her still "normal, sisterly relationship" with Kate. "But we spend a lot of time together. We still do a lot together as a family. And I think that's really the heart for all of us is having a really close family that we can sort of be normal with each other, treat each other normally. And that's sort of kept us all, you know, affixed to the ground."
She added, "We're very close. And, you know, we support each other and get each other's opinions and things."
And when Pippa found out she was pregnant, "naturally, big sister Kate and parents, Carole and Michael, were the first people she told—James aside—and they could not have been more delighted," a friend of the family told The Sun over the weekend, noting that Pippa and her husband started sharing the news once she was 12 weeks along.
Moreover, it meant that she and Kate were pregnant together, at least for a few months. While neither sister had ever publicly expressed hope for that sort of cozy scenario, that being far too much personal sentiment to inject into the public conversation (plus, who needs the pressure?), having grown up so closely that has to have just been so much icing on the blessing cake.
Of course Pippa was one of the first people to visit her new nephew, arriving Tuesday morning at Kensington Palace bundled up in a light pink turtleneck and long pink coat (which, if she should have a girl, will be considered in hindsight to be the sign). She spent a couple of hours visiting and flashed a smile at the crowd of photographers who snapped her driving away.
Auntie Pippa first sought to pluck all the heartstrings when George was born in 2013, commissioning silver-cast sculptures of his hands and feet as a reportedly $11,000 christening present, and she went "it's a girl!"-crazy for Charlotte in 2015, buying up a stack of presents from London baby boutique Amaia.
When Pippa married James Matthews on May 20, 2017, Kate did not take on the maid-of-honor role so as not to monopolize the entire occasion in the media's eyes (well, she did what she could), but she was at her sister's side nonetheless—and took on the indispensable job of keeping an eye on George, Charlotte and the other flower girls and page boys who also walked down that aisle.
And now Pippa has an irreplaceable font of advice when it comes to pregnancy, child birth and parenting—as well as access to some pretty snazzy hand-me-downs. Considering Kate's much-admired proclivity for mixing high and low fashion and re-wearing her favorite outfits, it seems as though passing gently used baby clothes and paraphernalia down to her sister would be a given.
While Kate's day job revolves around her in-laws, it's her side of the family that's been more involved with George and Charlotte in a hands-on fashion. Parents Carole and Michael Middleton opened their Bucklebury estate to Kate and William when George was first born while the royals' apartment at Kensington Palace was being renovated, and the grandparents would continue to do their share of babysitting.
If they keep to their every-other-Christmas schedule, Kate and William will be spending the holiday with the Middleton family this year, and there will be two babies enjoying—if not quite understanding—their first Christmas together, a perfect time for Kate and Pippa to start new traditions, play some board games and start imbuing their young ones with that Middleton-family competitive spirit.
Meanwhile, the ever-athletic Pippa has reportedly started a custom nutrition and exercise regimen fashioned by KX gym, which offers a "Pregnancy Support Program," in London's Kensington neighborhood. She was spotted heading to the gym yesterday, getting in a workout around the time Kate was introducing the newest member of the family to the world outside St. Mary's Hospital.
At least pulling herself out of bed hours after giving birth and greeting the masses in style is not something Pippa will have to concern herself with. A visit from her sister will do just fine.