Britain’s heyday as a colonial powerhouse ended long ago. But that hasn’t stopped the English-speaking world from hanging on every moment of the latest saga of the British royal family — the birth of an heir who stands third in line to succeed as monarch, behind his grandfather and father.
The House of Windsor, headed by Queen Elizabeth II, continues to command the attention of much of the globe, and certainly the affection of the Commonwealth.
By now, if all has gone according to schedule, the new-born future king of England will be snug at home in London’s Kensington Palace in a cradle or the arms of his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, known to the world as Kate.
The baby made his first public appearance Tuesday at London’s St. Mary’s Hospital. His proud pop, William, Duke of Cambridge, described him as “a big boy” who has “a good pair of lungs.”
Before he was discharged, both sets of grandparents visited the infant. Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, pronounced him “absolutely beautiful” as she was besieged by the press on leaving the hospital. William’s father, Charles, Prince of Wales, and his consort Camilla Duchess of Cornwall were a little more stiffly upper-lipped when they later emerged from their visit.
But Charles was earlier quoted as saying something everyone can agree upon: “Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone’s life.”
The royal baby faces a lifetime of intrusive media coverage, but William and Kate somehow contrived to build a little privacy into the event. They got to the hospital at 6 a.m. London time on Monday without being observed or followed, and Buckingham Palace waited four hours before announcing the birth.
Meanwhile, London bookmakers are taking bets on the child’s name and even on his first words. They will possibly have to wait weeks before the name becomes public, and much longer before the first “Mama” or “Dada” is uttered. You could get 5-to-2 on James and 2-to-1 on George on Tuesday.
But if you are an adult royal, you get to choose your own last name. King George VI, the baby’s great-grandfather, styled himself Windsor, like his father, who chose the name of a royal castle. Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip go by Mountbatten-Windsor.
Their son Charles took the name Wales from his title and passed it on to his sons. William and Kate are free to choose Cambridge (their title) if they wish.
Don’t rule out Windsor-Middleton, either. It has a nice ring to it — especially around here.
And while all the king’s men didn’t prevail in these parts quite a while back, even many folks in the former colonies warmly welcome the newest addition to Britain’s royal family.