St George’s Day royal arrives to cheer up UK
Will a royal baby — and Prince Harry’s wedding — help fix Britain’s woes? The UK is mired in crises over Brexit, the NHS and immigration laws. For some, royal news is a welcome distraction.
The unofficial town crier stood outside the steps of the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London just after 1pm yesterday. “Oyez, oyez, oyez!” he called. A new prince has been born, “on this, St George’s Day, 2018”.
The baby is the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child, and fifth in line for the throne. In its official announcement, Kensington Palace gave more details: he was born at 11:01am, weighs 8lb 7oz, and he and his mother are both “doing well”. Later, the family appeared outside the hospital to pose for the world’s press.
The boy’s name is still unknown, although bookmakers have Arthur, James and Albert as the three frontrunners. Thanks to a law introduced in 2013, he is the first prince who will not jump ahead of his older sister in the line of succession.
The news delighted some and bored others. Fans who had been camping outside the hospital chanted: “It’s a boy! It’s a boy!”
Meanwhile, journalists complained about the tedium of another day waiting for news. “I shall be spending much of my day looking at a brown door…” tweeted ITV’s royal editor Chris Ship in the morning.
There is more royal news to come. Next month, the baby’s Uncle Harry will marry Meghan Markle. There will be rolling coverage of the day’s events, with street parties held up and down the country. Journalists are already reporting every detail they can find about the dress, cake and guest list.
For some, the good news has come at just the right time. Three-quarters of Britons think the country is becoming more divided. There are crises over how best to leave the EU; how to solve a “year-round crisis” in the NHS; and who was responsible for the “hostile environment” that led immigrants from the Windrush generation to be threatened with deportation.
Will news of babies and weddings help bring the country back together?
Yes, say some. Yesterday, one finance consultancy predicted that the new prince could boost Britain’s economy by £50 million in one year. But more importantly, royal babies and weddings give people a chance to share in the simple joy of good news. Even if you don’t care about the Royal family in particular, new life and love stories are always worth celebrating. In troubled times, that spirit is more important than ever.
Breathless coverage of the Royal family is a distraction from more important news, argue others. The questions facing Britain today are difficult and uncomfortable, but they are vital to the country’s future. They also impact people’s lives far more than a baby boy who will probably never be king. Britain will only truly come together once it has confronted these problems head on, found solutions, and come out the other side.
- Do you care about the third royal baby?
- Is the Royal family good for Britain?
- Many of today’s front pages led with the news of a new royal baby. Produce a front page for your own newspaper, leading with what you consider to be the most important story of the day. Compare with your classmates. How many of you chose the royal baby?
- Class debate: This house believes that Britain should abolish the monarchy.
Some People Say...
“In looking at royalty we are always looking at what is archaic.”Hilary Mantel
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- The baby’s official title will be His Royal Highness Prince of Cambridge. He shares a birthday with William Shakespeare and St George’s Day. In Britain’s history, only one third child has ever inherited the throne: William IV, who was the third child of King George III and Queen Charlotte. He ruled between 1830 and 1837, after his older brother King George IV died without an heir. His second eldest brother had died three years previously.
- What do we not know?
- The baby’s name. When his older brother and sister were born, the Royal family waited two days to announce their names. If this sounds like a long wait, imagine how you would have felt in 1948, when the Queen (then still Princess Elizabeth) waited a month to announce the name of her first son, Charles.
- The man, Tony Appleton, is the official town crier for Romford in Essex. He calls himself an “independent town crier” and he is not affiliated with the Royal family. The official announcement of royal births happens when a notice is displayed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace.
- A traditional call for attention used by town criers, meaning “hear ye”.
- Next month
- Saturday May 19, 2018. (The same day as the FA Cup final.)
- Markle has reportedly chosen a designer. However, the choice will probably not be confirmed until the day itself.
- This will be made by Claire Ptak, owner of London’s Violet Bakery. It will be a lemon elderflower cake.
- Guest list
- Around 600 people have been invited to the wedding. Although the guest list is not confirmed, we do know that political leaders will not attend.
- According to an Ipsos Mori poll for the BBC this month.
- Year-round crisis
- These are the words of the British Medical Association earlier this month.
- Windrush generation
- Immigrants who arrived in Britain between 1948 and 1971 from Commonwealth countries.