THE timing was a little off (unless you were waking up to the news in America) but it took just three words on an Instragram page to announce this week’s Royal birth.

“It’s a boy!” said @SussexRoyal, to its 4.3million followers. Social media is, of course, how we learn about life’s significant events, from births to funerals. There was even speculation that our first glimpse of Harry and Meghan’s new son would also come via Instragram, although as I write this I’ve just seen the TV footage of Archie Harrison's first appearance.

I wonder how many of those who comment on online announcements bother to send a card - an actual card in the actual post - as a keepsake of an occasion like a birth, marriage or death.

I’ve still got the cards my parents received when I was born. I keep them in a drawer, with my first pair of shoes. I’ve also kept cards people sent me at other memorable times, from big birthdays to passing exams.

These days it seems old-fashioned, sentimental, in a Victorian kind of way, to treasure momentos. People build up such detailed, filtered profiles of their lives on social media, and it’s all there - instantly available - for the world to see.

But what will be left of their lives for future generations? When there are no old photo albums to leaf through, or letters or cards to read, how will our descendants, and social historians, get a sense of who we really were?

Earlier this year the Commonwealth War Graves Commission held a roadshow at Bradford’s City Hall, inviting people to bring keepsakes from the First World War. It had the biggest attendance of all CWGC roadshows in the UK, with more than 300 items brought along. Among them were medals, letters, diaries, obituary cuttings, sketches from the trenches and informal photographs of life at the Front - all passed down in families over the past century.

Everything was photographed and recorded for a digital archive, Lest We Forget, by the CWGC and the University of Oxford to preserve items and memories of the 1914-18 war. The archive is now online - - and this week I met up with Elizabeth Smith, Public Engagement Officer for CWGC in the North, who showed me some of the Bradford archive. I was moved by letters from a soldier, John Duesbury, to his mother. In early letters he’s “in the pink” and “expecting a Big Push” with his battalion. His final letter was written from the battlefield where he lay dying in September, 2016: “Dear Mother, I am writing these few lines severely wounded. I am laid in a shell hole with two wounds in my hip and through my back. I cannot move or crawl. I have been here 24 hours and never seen a living soul. I hope you will receive these few lines as I don’t expect anyone will come to take me away, but you know I have done my duty out here now for one year and 8 months and you will always have the consolation that I died quite happy doing my duty.”

John, whose body wasn’t found, is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Thanks to the remarkable postal service of the time, all his letters reached his mother, who treasured them the rest of her life. They were brought to this year’s roadshow by John’s great-nephew.

It is on the Lest We Forget archive that John’s letters are preserved for the future. But if Instagram had been around in 1916, would his words have been treasured in quite the same way? They share a sense of immediacy, but John Duesbury’s letters are a world away from the glossy, stage-managed Instagram posts of 2019.

* THERE has been some speculation about whether the new Royal baby will be raised "gender neutral".

Would the infant be in blue, pink or neutral-coloured swaddling for his first public appearance? In the end it was cream, I think.

I just hope his parents don't dress him in the style that traditionally befalls little boys of Royalty. Prince George, like William and Harry, were in short trousers, white socks and T-bar shoes when they were barely out of nappies.

It doesn't seem very modern for a supposedly modern Royal family to dress their offspring like Little Lord Fauntleroy.

* WHEN I went to see Madonna's Rebel Heart tour in 2015, she kept the audience waiting 90 minutes before gracing us with her presence. People were slow-clapping. Once it eventually started, the show was fabulous but it ended rather abruptly, with no encore.

Madonna also kept us waiting a few years previously, at the same arena. We'd spent a small fortune on tickets, yet my sister and I had to leave well before the end of the performance, to get the last train. It felt like the Material Girl had shown an appalling lack of respect for the little people who'd paid to see her.

Now it's been announced that tickets for her Madame X tour are on sale at a price "scaled between $60 - $760".

Despite loving Madonna since my teens, I'm afraid this is one fan who won't be in the audience.