Last week heralded the arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s third child. Once again the media camped outside St. Mary’s Hospital in London to see a glimpse of the latest royal baby to push Prince Harry further from the crown and admire Kate’s ability to look as though giving birth is easy. But what do we really need to know when it comes to Britain’s newest Royal?
1. Is this really news?
Whether you like it or not, the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s third child is news alright, racking up no less than eighty pages of coverage in Britain’s newspapers the day after the announcement (The Daily Mail, unsurprisingly, had nineteen of these itself – how many camera angles can you really capture a baby from?). Journalists reported a minute-by-minute account of the fifth-in-line’s birth and guns across the city saluted the safe arrival of the new prince. Opinions may be divided, but this little baby is certainly hitting the headlines.
2. Who are the SUPER fans?
“Why these fanatics would purposefully make themselves temporarily homeless to witness something broadcast on screens all over the county is anyone’s guess”
Several Royalist devotees camped outside the hospital wing for weeks, notwithstanding an 82-year-old patriotic pensioner who pitched up for nine days in eager anticipation of the birth. These fans were desperate for the first glimpse of royal baby number three, and were offered showers and porridge from the hospital itself (you can’t help but wonder whether the hospital would offer similar hospitality to genuinely homeless people). Why these fanatics would purposefully make themselves temporarily homeless to witness something broadcast on screens all over the country is anyone’s guess, but you can bet that they were happier than ever tucked up under their union jacks.
3. What’s the deal with *that* picture of Kate?
The photograph of the Duchess emerging from the Lindo Wing, new-born nestled in her arms, triggered a snowstorm of opinion. A forum thread on Mumsnet was inundated with hundreds of comments, many from peeved parents arguing that Kate’s flawless presentation placed unnecessary pressure on mothers to look equally perfect hours after giving birth.
But hang on a minute: how many other mothers are obligated to stand on the steps of a hospital, in front of all the world’s cameras? How many other mothers will be featured on the front page of international newspapers for weeks to come? How many other mothers will have their post-birth image filed away forever in the history of Britain? Let’s cut her some slack: she had a duty to perform, and she performed it in style (literally – her shoes alone cost £513).
4. And finally, why do we care?
“Babies = happiness”
To be blunt, the world can be a pretty grim place. People are killed by cancer or car crashes, families live in poverty, countries are torn apart by war. But babies = happiness. You just can’t hate a baby. They are cute, and wistfully innocent, completely oblivious to the horrors outside their homes. They remind us of new starts and new possibilities.
A royal baby is a special cause for celebration because we can all join in on the excitement; we can all share the joy of watching George and Charlotte totter up the hospital steps to visit their new baby brother. For a moment, we can put aside our anxieties and antagonisms and our judgements and jealousies, and celebrate the fact that for once, something really nice is making the headlines.
It seems Britain – and maybe even the world – really does have royal baby fever. And why not? There’s no harm in joining in with a little celebration, placing bets on the prince’s name (did not see Louis coming!) or replaying Charlotte’s adorable little wave fifty times (just me?). Let’s just be happy for Kate and Wills, and wish them our best as four becomes five.
Featured image courtesy of ‘LABabble’ via Flickr. No changes made to the image. Image licence found here.