Princess Beatrice hires a £1,000-a-week nanny five months before birth. How pragmatic of her

People will mock, but any mother who has tried to hire a peak-season bouncy castle will salute her

Princess Beatrice with her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozziconi. Photograph: Pool via Getty

Princess Beatrice with her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozziconi. Photograph: Pool via Getty

 

News has emerged that the pregnant Princess Beatrice has hired a £1,000-a-week nanny a full five months in advance of the birth of her baby. Some said she was too organised for her own good, but anyone who has tried to hire a bouncy castle during First Holy Communion season in Ireland can only admire her pragmatism.

All parents must go through the rite of passage that is the realisation that organising any child-related service is a blood sport. I had my own wake-up call when I tried to arrange our eldest child’s First Holy Communion celebrations. We had planned a big family day at home, with visitors, food and the de rigueur bouncy castle.

The communion was in May. In March, I started calling bouncy castle providers. The first phone call went badly. I could hear the woman on the end of the phone doing that thing that tradesmen do when they want to break it to you that the job is going to be painful and expensive. That sucking in of air through the teeth. “You’ve left it a bit late,” she said.

How could two months ahead of time be late? I suppose my experience of booking things until then had been restricted to holidays, restaurants and hairdressers. I asked if she could recommend anyone else. “Well, I could, but you’ll find the same problem wherever you ring. You’ve left it very late,” she said again, helpfully.

There’s a particular flavour of stress attached to not being able to give your child the thing that every other child is having and knowing it’s all because you weren’t sufficiently organised. It brought to mind the time when everyone seemed to have a fidget spinner (the toy craze of 2017) except for my child. By the time I got the memo, you couldn’t even buy them on the darknet.

I refused to give up. I went through every listed and unlisted bouncy castle hire provider on the internet, each one looking more dodgy than the last, each one including more and more insurance caveats. But even they were all booked out.

I changed gear and engaged my fail-safe response to any problem: throw money at it. I looked up bouncy castles for sale. I mean, how expensive could they be?

Let’s just say I was on a steep parenting learning curve that day. I eventually found a mini-bouncy castle at Smyths. Two babies were pictured on the packaging. It was clearly one of those weedy bouncy castles that children would have to take turns on, but it would have to do.

As the guests arrived at the house, a handful of boys piled on to the bouncy castle and proceeded to tear it apart. Luckily, the castle came with DIY patches and some heavy-duty thread. And thus I found myself darning a deflating bouncy castle on my son’s communion day while the boeuf bourguignon simmered on the stove.

I vowed I would not find myself in the same situation for our younger son’s communion the following year, so when the date was announced I whipped out my list of bouncy castle providers and dialled in earnest, luxuriating in the smug knowledge that I would surely be amongst the first to call. This would be better than securing a ticket to Electric Picnic, I thought.

“You’re very early,” came the deadpan reply. “Call back in October.”

Sometimes you just can’t win. People may mock Beatrice for hiring her nanny so early, but I can only salute her.