By Henry Chu
Los Angeles Times
He’s the boy without a name but with a gilded destiny.
The one baby to rule them all – at least the people of Britain – was born to Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, on Monday, setting off celebrations among the royal couple’s future subjects over the arrival of a new heir to the throne.
Barring tragedy – or revolution – the infant is bound to reign over Britain and the 15 other nations, including Australia and Canada, that recognize the British monarch as head of state. The baby is third in the line of succession after his grandfather, Prince Charles, and father, William, muscling aside Prince Harry, who has been demoted to fourth.
William said he and his wife “could not be happier” over the new arrival, who weighed in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces at St. Mary’s Hospital, an exclusive medical facility in central London. British politicians and leaders the world over, including President Barack Obama, sent their congratulations. London Mayor Boris Johnson announced that the fountains of Trafalgar Square would run with blue water for the next week to mark the event.
In a sign of the new century that the royal baby has been born into, announcement of the birth was made to the world first via email and social media networks such as Twitter, ahead of the traditional method of posting the news on a piece of paper mounted on an easel at Buckingham Palace.
The language, though, was still archaic – almost biblical – with its proclamation that Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, “was safely delivered of a son” at 4:24 p.m (3.24am NZ time).
“It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine, and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy,” Prince Charles, the heir apparent to Queen Elizabeth II, said in a statement. “I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time, and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future.”
Word of the birth capped weeks of an international media frenzy, with photographers and journalists staking out the hospital around the clock for even the briefest of glimpses of the pregnant duchess being whisked inside.Speculation surrounding the unborn baby’s gender now shifts to his name. It took a week for William’s name to be unveiled after his birth in the same hospital in 1982. The bookmakers’ favorite choices for the new “prince of Cambridge,” the child’s official title, are George and James, with 500-1 odds on the name Hashtag.
The Sun, Britain’s bestselling scandal sheet, changed its front-page masthead in Tuesday’s editions to read: “The Son.”
William was by his wife’s side, palace officials said, just as his father was in the room when he was born. By contrast, Prince Philip was off playing squash when Charles was delivered in Buckingham Palace.
In another up-to-date touch, William will take two weeks of paternity leave from his job as a military helicopter pilot. He and Kate are expected to be more involved in their child’s upbringing than previous generations of royals were.
“This is going to be the first royal child that’s going to be raised without a team of nannies, without royal footmen,” said Ingrid Seward, the editor of the monthly magazine Majesty. “People all over the world will be watching as to how they raise this child, because they’re celebrities, aren’t they? They have a following.”