The Duchess of Sussex was “over the moon” at having her husband next to her “in dad mode” as they presented baby Archie to the world, the Press Association’s royal correspondent said.
Alan Jones, professionally known as Tony, interviewed Harry and Meghan at the eagerly anticipated photocall in Windsor Castle on Wednesday.
He said it was clear that the couple and their newborn “just adore each other” and said Meghan was proud to watch Harry cradle their son in his arms.
Mr Jones said there was “nervous tension” before the couple and their baby entered Saint George’s Hall, and he said that as the minutes ticked past the arranged time: “You could feel the twitchiness amongst the press.
“So it was a real case of, not quite a cold sweat, but it was definitely gulping and slightly sweaty palms moment.”
The new family of three were a little late arriving at the photocall, perhaps because they bumped into the Duke of Edinburgh on the way.
Mr Jones said the press pool was at one end of the hall and “a hush” fell over the space at about five minutes to midday, which was the allotted time for the photocall.
“We sort of stayed in that frozen moment, as it were, just waiting for them. And we were waiting and waiting and waiting and then eventually we got the nod from their head of press that they were coming.
“It was actually quite quiet. You’d have walked in and heard a pin drop,” he said.
Mr Jones said the stand-out moment of the interview for him was the “touching” way Meghan spoke about her husband and son.
“It’s probably her first few words from Meghan, when she said something along the lines of about having ‘my guys’. Just the phrase ‘my guys’… it’s very touching.
“It brought it all home how, in a few hours, her life has changed, and now she’s a family of three and she’s got two people that will mean the world to her. And it was just very touching to see that and for her to tell us about it.”
During the photocall, Mr Jones asked Harry if the press could get a clearer look at the baby, whose name was later announced as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
“Harry was cradling the baby in his arms and he probably just didn’t realise that we couldn’t quite see it, all we could see was the top of its nose.
“So I just thought, the world has been waiting to see the baby, we’re here to capture that moment, let’s see the baby, so I just asked him politely, can we just take a peek at its face?
“And he was quite happy to do it. I knew that this was a proud dad and proud mum and they’d be quite happy to do it, no problem,” he said.
Mr Jones said the couple could not take their eyes off baby Archie for long.
“As I was talking to them they were answering the questions but then glancing down at their son, so it was almost as if they were trying to talk to him.
“And he was oblivious to all this, asleep in their arms, but they were sort of joining him in the conversation as it were, between the four of us in a way, because the son was there asleep.
“I’m sure in years to come they’ll be showing him this, so it’s nice that he was involved in the whole thing,” Mr Jones said.
The royal reporter said Harry and Meghan “looked like a very sweet, happy couple, all dressed up going to see the grandparents”.
Mr Jones said he could tell they were “very loving and protective” of their bundle of joy.
He said he had a feeling it would be Harry holding the baby, describing the prince as being “in dad mode”, adding: “And she was quite proud to see her son being held by her husband.”
Mr Jones said Meghan was “very effusive” about her emotions, adding: “She couldn’t keep anything hidden.
“You could tell she was over the moon having her son and her husband next to her.”
The royal correspondent laughed when asked if he was tempted to ask if he could hold the new baby.
“No, only because there was so many people around. If it was a bit more intimate and there was a few of us, I’m sure they would have said yes, because that’s the natural thing to do,” he said.
He said he believes Meghan’s tendency to put her hand on Harry’s back is a sign of both affection and reassurance.
“It’s just the bond between them,” he said, adding that it is a gesture that says “it’s the two of us”.
Mr Jones added: “It’s very much their trademark in a way.
“They’re very happy to be openly affectionate to each other but the new element now is the baby, so it’s almost like a three-way… she was reassuring Harry, putting a hand on his back, and then touching the baby’s head and Harry’s looking down at the baby and looking at her.
“And then at one point he even picked a bit of fluff off the baby’s hat and flicked it away.
“So it’s all very natural and very easygoing between the three of them.”
“You can tell that they just adore each other,” he added.
Mr Jones compared Wednesday’s small photocall with the world’s media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington for the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children.
“This was a bit more intimate, a bit more – not easygoing, but probably a bit more relaxed.
“And that probably reflects the fact that Harry is not in direct line to the throne, he doesn’t have to do these set pieces,” he said.
Mr Jones found himself faced with the prospect of interviewing Harry on Monday at very short notice when the baby’s birth was announced.
“When I spoke to Harry on Monday, there wasn’t really much pressure because it was so last minute at that event. I only really realised I was going to interview Harry when I saw him in the car park at Windsor Castle and he said hello.
“And then one of his press team said, we’re going to do an interview, and I said, when?’ And they said, in the next couple of minutes. I said, when is this going out? And they said, it’s live, and I said, really?
“So I had about two minutes to prepare for a live interview with Prince Harry that was going to go across the world. So I had a couple of minutes to think, but it was too soon to be nervous.
“And today, because there was a bit more of a lead-up to today, I was probably more worried about the questions and what I was going to ask.
“But actually, when it happened it was fine,” he said.
Mr Jones said members of the press at the pooled photocall were told to wear suits, so he suspected that would mean that Harry and Meghan were also opting for smart outfits.
Mr Jones has acquired a level of fame since interviewing Harry on Monday and has even been stopped in the street and asked for a selfie.
“It’s a bit surreal. Working for a news wire you don’t get recognised much, but it’s probably more family and friends who have been texting me saying, is that you on telly, and then making jokes.
“And others have been going crazy, sending me clips of what I’ve done this week. And I’ve even been recognised by a woman in Windsor who wanted a selfie with me.
“So I’m not used to this. I’m not a broadcast journalist who gets spotted in the supermarket.
“I’m more of just an ordinary reporter, so it’s been a bit of a surreal few moments of fame, which I guess will pass once this baby’s grown up and everyone’s forgotten about it,” Mr Jones said.
The royal correspondent has been covering the royal family for the Press Association for just over a decade.
Mr Jones follows members of the royal family around the UK and the world.
“It’s quite an interesting varied job. There’s a lot of travel. You could be writing about Prince Charles and the environment one minute, and then dresses that are worn by Kate the next,” he said.
Mr Jones said his interviews with Harry and Meghan this week are likely to be among his career highlights.
“Probably, I think once I look back at it. At the moment I’m still stuck in this whirlwind of royal baby news. And everybody seems to be more excited about it than I am.
“I usually just try to put it to one side and just get the work done, otherwise if you get a bit starstruck, you get stuck in the moment, because tomorrow they might ring me up again and say there’s somebody else needs to be interviewed, come and speak to the Prince of Wales.
“So I suppose I’m a bit easygoing and take it in my stride, where my girlfriend’s been texting me every five minutes saying, I’ve seen you on telly, and everybody else has as well, but I’m just a bit blase about it.”
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