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Dubai’s British expats on the royal baby

Most hail it as a proud moment for the nation, although some find the scrutiny of Kate’s labour intrusive


Dubai: Although many have returned to their homeland for their summer holiday, plenty of what is left of Dubai’s British expat community were on Monday looking forward to the impending arrival of the royal baby, while others shared their concerns over the close scrutiny of the Duchess of Cambridge’s labour pains.

Expectant mum Abby Wilks said she felt the attention on pregnant Catherine was a bit intrusive.

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-Abby Wilks | 
Expectant mum
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“I have loved following Kate’s pregnancy style, being an expectant mum myself and, as always, she has looked amazing.

“However, I do feel a bit sorry for her right now with the world’s media watching her – nobody wants the intimate details of their labour shared with the world.”

One Dubai-based lawyer, who would only be identified by her Twitter account, @Shelo9, agreed.

“I am excited, as a proper Brit royalist should be. However, I feel sorry for the poor woman with all this media focus on her,” she said, adding she’s betting on a baby girl who should be named Victoria or Elizabeth.

Angela Summers was one Dubai-based Briton who was home for the summer and keeping an eye on the news — within reason. “I am a staunch royalist but I can’t say I am obsessive about someone going into labour. But it’s always very exciting to hear of a new birth.”

As for whether Diana would be an appropriate choice of name, should the child be a girl, Summers said it would be “a great tribute”, but said it might also be a nice idea for the couple to “start afresh”.

“I am excited about the royal baby,” said Kellie Whitehead, editor of, a local parenting website. “I am very patriotic and a fan of our royal family — who, contrary to belief work very hard and bring millions of dollars to the UK in tourism spend.

“Not only that, Wills and Kate seem like such a lovely pair. I have a hunch it will be a girl, and my bet’s on the name Victoria Elizabeth.”

South African national Lucinda, a new mother herself, lived in London for 10 years before moving to Dubai three years ago. She expressed disappointment that all the “royal excitement” – the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Diamond Jubilee, and now the birth of the royal baby – has been happening in the years she’s been away.

However, she beamed, “it’s very exciting!” Asked about a possible name, she liked the idea of “breaking away from tradition”, but had an inkling that the baby would be called William.

Linda and her guest Michelle, both from Scotland, said: “It’s wonderful, we’re very excited. I’m keeping up to date on my iPhone. It gives the country a real feel-good factor.”

When asked what she thinks the name will be, Michelle was sure that “they won’t stray too far from tradition. Alexandra, Elizabeth, I hope Diana’s in there somewhere too.”

Rosie Napper, a British national raised in Dubai, was celebrating her own birthday when the news broke of the Duchess going into labour.

She said the birth is “really good for the country – it gives everybody something to look forward to”.

“And it’s going to be born on the best day of the year, which is a plus,” she added. Opting out of convention, Rosie stated her fondness of the name Peter: “Prince Peter. King Peter. It has a nice ring to it!”

It wasn’t all women waiting for the third in line to the British throne. Justin Doo, a Dubai-based British executive, said he was “thoroughly excited to be following the birth”, but couldn’t “think off the top of his head” what the baby should be called.

Dave Cleary, a British DJ on Gulf News Broadcasting’s Radio 2, where he hosts The Pulse, 10am-1pm, said it was a proud moment for the country.

“I think it just adds to great year for Britain, success in sports such at the Lions tour, Andy Murray in the tennis, the Ashes at the moment, and now a royal baby. I think that the new generation of royals such as William and Kate are more relatable. And putting all that aside just gives people an excuse to have a celebration and a party.” As for a name? “Got to be David. I like the sound of Prince or King David.”

Several Dubai-based businesses were making the most of the news of the day. Mirzo Hafizov, General Manager of The Ivy – a British restaurant in Emirates Towers – told Gulf News they were “excited to hear the news”, and that they would be hosting a themed evening once the birth has been announced. Another British restaurant, Rivington Grill, promised a free drink to diners who had the good luck to be eating there when the birth is announced, following the British tradition of “wetting the baby’s head” with a celebratory drink.

Meanwhile Shabana Karim, founder and owner of The Nail Spa, chose Monday to launch a new service — taking her beauty treatments to new mothers in hospital.

“Becoming a mother is one of the most powerful and beautiful experiences a woman can go through. However, there is no escaping that labour is called labour for a reason!

“By offering beauty treatments at their bedside we are making our services completely accessible to new mothers, when they need them the most.”

As for official celebrations, a spokesperson for the British Consulate said that they would hold off releasing a statement or announcing an celebrations until the birth has been confirmed.

— Adam Melone is a Gulf News intern. David Tusing and Natalie Long contributed to this report.

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