Royal baby: William and Catherine get Finnish baby box

Contents of the 2013 pack Contents of the 2013 pack

Changing the nappy at Kensington Palace, when the moment comes, may be easier thanks to a gift to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from the Finnish government, writes Mark Bosworth in Helsinki.

When the Magazine wrote last month about the baby box given to all expectant mothers in Finland - and the role that it may have played in helping the country achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates - people from all over the world contacted the social security service Kela asking to buy one.

The duke and duchess were not among them, but as they will shortly have a use for the clothes and other mother-and-baby items inside the box (there is even one item for dad) Kela decided to send one to the expectant parents.

"Kela wanted to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge," says spokeswoman Heidi Liesivesi. "The maternity package gained such a positive response from all around the world. The timing was perfect that the royal couple are having a baby."

Contents of the box

Baby asleep in one of the maternity boxes
  • Box itself doubles as a crib
  • Range of clothing including snowsuit, romper suits and leggings
  • Hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, nappy cream, wash cloth
  • Cloth nappy set and muslin squares
  • Picture book and teething toy
  • Bra pads, condoms

Kensington Palace has confirmed that the parents-to-be received the box last week. "We were delighted to receive the very kind gift of the maternity package from the Finnish government. It was a very thoughtful gesture and we're very grateful for it," says a Kensington Palace spokesman. "I'm sure the Duke and Duchess will be very interested to see the contents."

The palace does not accept gifts from commercial organisations, but is happy to receive presents from individuals and foreign governments.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are the second royal couple to receive a baby box from Finland. In February last year, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden were given one to celebrate the birth of Princess Estelle.

As well as containing essentials, the box can also be used as a bed because it comes with a fitted mattress. Many Finnish babies have their first sleeps in these cardboard cots. So will the royal baby sleep in a cardboard box? It's hard to imagine, but anything's possible. And what about the nappies? The Finnish government disapproves of disposable nappies - so if anyone sees cloth nappies hanging out to dry on the palace washing line, let us know using the "send us a letter" form on this page.

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