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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Royal baby frenzy the envy of the rest of the world

Royal births aren’t what they used to be. They’re lower in importance and higher on hype these days. Now, ain’t that a funny thing?

Until a few decades ago they had to be witnessed by the Home Secretary. That, to the relief of Theresa May, William and Kate, was ended in 1948. But the roar of public intrusion has diminished hardly at all.

When the Duchess of Cambridge went into hospital to deliver her first child – third in line to the throne, no less – media excitement was instant, noisy and exuberant. Some social media buzzing was sneering, acerbic, downright rude.

As for Mr and Mrs Average on the street, well best guess is that they were mildly interested in being around to see a bit of English history in the making.

Perhaps all that’s more or less as it should be in a 21st century democracy (or nearly), which stands out from the rest of the world by virtue of its complex but well understood relationship with its royals.

Kate’s pregnancy only seemed like the longest of all time because every last detail of morning sickness, bump growth, heel-height and outfit selection has been pored over, analysed, speculated on and made up by a ravenous media anxious to feed perceived public demand for endless gossip.

We’ve been there before. Kate’s late mother-in-law received the same treatment. For showbiz read royalbiz – it became impossible to tell the difference.

There has been less of an appetite for royalbiz gossip since Diana’s death in 1997. The reasons for that are obvious and it has to be hoped William, Kate and their newborn will escape similar torment ... even though in some quarters there’s an attempt to recreate it.

But times change, people – royal and otherwise – move on. Welcoming the birth of a future monarch with a cheer or a sneer barely makes a difference that matters now. It’s the welcome that counts.

You don’t have to be a die-hard devotee of the monarchy to grasp its importance to this country’s unique character, Commonwealth friendships, national stability and appeal to overseas observers.

You don’t need to have a deep conviction for the continuation of royal lines to want to smile for the birth of a child who will, perhaps, one day continue at least some the traditions which have given these islands their enviable heritage.

And we do our own innate intelligence a disservice when, weary of the hype, bored by the speculation, irritated by fawning commentary, we turn on the message of a happy family event in anger because the messengers have let us down.

Whether with sneer or cheer, we greet the news of a new page being turned in the history book of British life, recognition of the turning is unavoidable. And yes, exciting too.

No end of uncomfortable republics would give up their eye teeth and tyrants to enjoy what this country takes so much for granted. It’s too hard to be hatefully critical about a young couple starting a family, happy to shoulder all the responsibilities moving towards them from the unknown horizon.

In fact, it would be plainly wrong. For that reason and because I happen to be one who loves this country and most of what shapes its special personality, I would offer the new little family the same happiness, strength and good fortune I would offer any couple and their newborn.

Congratulations on two counts. A new baby and escape from Theresa May’s delivery room scrutiny.

Have your say

Honestly, who really cares? Most of us here probably won't even experience the baby as a King so who cares?

As others have said, there's thousands of other babies born on that day, before and after it, so good luck to them parents and children just as much if not more than Georges family.

Posted by The Outsider on 6 August 2013 at 17:01

If the Royal family line of succession were to skip a generation, I would respect them more. A divorcee on the throne as head of the Church of England is unacceptable. One of the 10 commandments is 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' William should be next in line for the throne, not Charles!

Posted by Stemax1960 on 30 July 2013 at 08:13

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