Mary Poppins meets James Bond: Will Meghan and Harry hire a Norland nanny for the royal baby?

May 6, 2019, 8:39 AM
Norland Nanny's a cross between Mary Poppins and James Bond (CNN)

(CNN) — Balancing the demands of work and a baby is a challenge for any new parent — let alone one with the hectic schedule of a British royal.

So it’s little wonder that speculation is already mounting about childcare options for Meghan and Harry’s newborn baby boy.

While they’ve chosen to go a different way for the birth itself, when it comes to a helping hand the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may take a leaf out of the Cambridges’ book and hire a Norland nanny.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are rarely spotted without their nanny, Maria Borrallo. She’s particularly easy to identify when wearing her brown Norland uniform.

The eye-catching outfit looks like it’s from another era — and it is. It’s changed color and had a nip and tuck, but in essence it’s reminiscent of its first incarnation, which made its debut way back in 1892.

The uniform is only mandatory during training, but since a Norland nanny is the ultimate status symbol, some families like them to be worn in employment too.

Sewing and self-defense

Norland College has been teaching the nannies of the rich and famous for 127 years.

The depth and breadth of their training — from sewing, cooking and first aid to skid-pan driving, self-defense and cyber-security — means they are seen by some as a combination of Mary Poppins and James Bond.

They finish it all off with an old-fashioned dose of British etiquette, courtesy of experts from Debrett’s.

Janet Rose, the Principal of Norland College, says while the organization is steeped in history and tradition, its four-year curriculum is cutting-edge.

“It’s up-to-date on the latest research on child development, it reflects new information coming out in neurosciences, in brain development, in mental health and emotional wellbeing,” she said.

Demand for Norland nannies far outstrips supply, with an average of seven jobs on offer for each graduate.

For most of its history, the college was the preserve of female trainees. However last year the first two male Norland nannies graduated.

Third-year student Charles Lanzani says he is looking forward to working with a family “that makes me part of their family. I’m not for being just an employee.”

Discretion paramount

One of the mantras learned by students during training is: “A child is never naughty.”

“Usually inappropriate behavior is a result of children trying to express their emotions,” second-year student Theresa Barrows says. “So rather than reprimanding them for not responding in an appropriate way, you aim to discuss how they are feeling, and they can express themselves verbally. ”

Rose says that in keeping with this view, there is no such thing as a naughty step — only a calming corner.

Such views reflect the college’s pioneering founder, Emily Ward, who bucked the Victorian trend that “children should be seen and not heard,” and instead worked to create care focusing on the child.

One thing has changed, however — the salary.

Highly trained nannies can earn about $65,000 within five years of graduating, although it can be significantly more depending on the needs of specific clients.

In addition to passing their degree and obtaining a Norland diploma, all graduates must all stick to the college’s strict code of conduct, which values discretion highly.

So if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex do hire a Norland nanny, you certainly won’t read about it here: Mum’s the word.

For more on Meghan and Harry’s royal baby, click here.

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Mary Poppins meets James Bond: Will Meghan and Harry hire a Norland nanny for the royal baby?