Boy or girl, UK royal nursery is underway

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Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, have chosen to keep the gender of their unborn child a surprise, sources close to the royal couple said.

Boy or girl, the child will inherit the British throne after the UK parliament passed ‘The Succession to the Crown Act’ on April 25 this year. The new law ends the principle of male primogeniture, so that men will no longer take precedence over women in line to the throne.

While William and Kate can be assured their child will be third in line to the throne, not knowing the baby’s gender can pose a challenge when designing the nursery.

Al Arabiya got exclusive access to a royally-inspired baby room designed by the company behind Princes William and Harry’s nurseries.

A London hotel teamed up with Dragons of Walton Street, the company with which Princess Diana worked closely, to offer a glimpse behind the palace’s walls.

Lucinda Croft, managing director of Dragons, told Al Arabiya the trend in nursery design is for more muted, soft colors.

For the hotel suite dubbed ‘Suite Dreams’, she chose a gender-neutral pale yellow color scheme with bespoke hand-painted furniture.

Croft expects Kate’s fashion style to be reflected in her design choices for the nursery.

“Her taste in clothes, I’m sure, will be echoed in her nursery,” Croft told Al Arabiya, referring to Kate Middleton.

Croft said the main the difference between Princess Diana’s style and that of Kate Middleton would be the color palette .

“Thirty years ago, the colors were much brighter for children. That’s what they thought you’d have in a nursery and play area, big poppy colors; whereas now, it is much quieter, much more muted,” Croft said.

Kate is following in Diana’s footsteps and taking a very hands-on approach to nursery decor.

Croft says Princess Diana visited the Dragons shop frequently when she was designing Prince William’s nursery.

“I remember when [Diana] would come into the shop on several occasions, she was so beautiful and lovely, my mother and Diana worked very discreetly together on what she needed before Prince William was born,” Croft said.

Kate’s decorating has included a number of shopping trips to luxury retailers in London’s South Kensington area. She was seen eyeing curtain fabric at one retailer and purchased a white baby basket at ‘Blue Almonds’ nursery store.

Blue Almonds owner Izabel Minkiewiz told Al Arabiya she decided to launch her own version of a royal range after the Duchess’ visit.

“We are launching a royal collection, our own interpretation of what royal style means to us,” Minkiewiz said. “The atmosphere will be pure white with silver hints very pure and good for a boy or girl.”

Minkiewiz is hoping the ‘royal baby range’ will prove popular with her Arab clients who often come into her London store or request shipments to their residences in the Gulf.

Croft of Dragons is also trying to woo the Arab market. She said she caters to requests, including hand painting children’s names in Arabic on nursery furniture.

She told Al Arabiya that she recently shipped a Ferrari themed nursery to a family in Saudi Arabia complete with a car-shaped cot, adding that she plans on opening an outpost in Abu Dhabi later this year.

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