From the Huffington Post, a story so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.
A “no gifts” policy just makes sense if you’re the Prince of England. First, you’ve already got a ton of stuff; besides that, you’ve got a ton of fans. There is no need, and there is no room for all the bawbles which your enthusiastic subjects would offer to your new baby, heir to the throne of England.
So Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, don’t accept gifts for special occasions. That means that newborn Prince George didn’t get truckloads of new rattles and blankets and nappies and onesies.
But young Prince George’s parents made one exception: They proudly accepted a painting by Somerset artist Tazia Fawley, who has Down’s syndrome. Fawley had spent six months creating the painting, titled Rupert Flies Over the Suspension Bridge. The work features Rupert the Bear, a favorite childhood character, standing on the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, watching as hot air balloons pass in the sky overhead.
Fawley’s painting was discovered by Heart and Sold, a nonprofit organization which supports artists with Down’s syndrome. Heart and Sold offered the painting to Kate and William as a baby gift, hoping they’d hang it in the nursery.
Suzie Moffat, director of Heart and Sold, was excited to receive a note from St. James’ Palace to say that the Duke and Duchess would like the painting and that they wished to thank the artist, Miss Fawley, for it and send her their best wishes. Moffat spoke to TODAY about the importance of the gift:
“In England, there always has been a stigma attached to (Down syndrome), and now that is washed away by the fact that the Duke and Duchess have accepted that painting. For this to happen, it’s kind of turned that negativity around.”
The 43-year-old artist, Tazia Fawley, gets plenty of support and encouragement from her family, who are successful artists in their own right. Her father was a lighting director at the BBC, her brother is a Creative Director in Sydney, and her mum is a sculptor.
Fawley’s mother, Gylda Thomas, told TODAY.com how much she appreciated the royal couple’s support. “We felt absolutely delighted,” she said.
“It was a lovely thing that they did. Since Taz has had this publicity, I’ve gotten loads of emails from people, usually parents with Down’s children, saying how wonderful Taz is and what kind of a role model she is.”
Fawley herself talks about the painting on her website, Taz Paintings:
It is such an honour for this to happen, and I’m sure that the baby will love it. The colours are amazing. It is large. 36 x 12 inches and painted with acrylic paint.
Fawley sells other works as well as greeting cards, and accepts custom orders at her website.