The Royal Baby – media round-up

Across the nations this morning many people will be celebrating the birth of a future monarch - the as yet unnamed baby Cambridge.

Across the nations this morning many people will be celebrating the birth of a future monarch – the as yet unnamed baby Cambridge.

For the Newsletter in Northern Ireland, the birth has served as another reminder of the dignity with which William and Kate have conducted themselves thus far. Extending the paper’s own congratulations, its editorial has observed:

“And this, too, is an important and accurate observation.

“Wills and Kate have endeared themselves to the country with their unfailing warmth and their instinctive sense of duty.

“They charmed people in Belfast in April 2011, on a UK tour ahead of their marriage, and have been winning hearts wherever they travel with their curiosity and near permanent smiles.

“It places them firmly in a recent Royal tradition of tireless public service to the people of Britain.”

The paper continues:

“But the hereditary principle only works when the monarch has the respect of his or her subjects. When that respect goes, as it has in many parts of the world, Royalty is an institution that finds itself quickly in perilous waters.

At the Belfast Telegraph meanwhile, the events of the past few days should make even the fiercest republicans realise that “the House of Windsor is without parallel.” Its editorial on the subject explains:

“There is no business like royal business, to paraphrase an old adage. The birth of the new prince showed the huge global interest in all things connected with the British monarchy.

“Even an empty easel in the grounds of Buckingham Palace drew throngs of sightseers anxious to learn of the new arrival.

“But it was the accompanying pomp, the 42-gun salute, the pealing of bells at Westminster Abbey, the visit of relatives of Prince William and Kate to the hospital and, of course, the first glimpse of the baby which confirmed that when it comes to putting on a show, the royal family does it better than anyone and seemingly without effort.

“Even ardent republicans have to admit that the House of Windsor is without parallel.”

It is a message, however, that seems not yet to have penetrated the mind-set of Ian Bell, the columnist at The Herald in Scotland. In setting himself up as the grumpy Scot in the corner of the room, he today writes:

“Before the ear-bending starts, let me state that I wish no ill to any child. All new parents have my best wishes. But thrilled? Not exactly. No insights into the tenacity of constitutional monarchy are needed to find the scenes in England’s capital a bit depressing. The appetite for a republic has diminished: so much was self-evident. Who knew that a fertility cult was preferred?

“The airwaves are full of happy chatter. Much of the noise has been generated by the House of Windsor’s surfeit of heirs to the throne. Soon enough there will be three chaps waiting in the wings. If you believe some commentators, the supply of monarchs is guaranteed for at least another century.

“Thanks to bitter experience, the royals know that things are rarely so simple. The value of one’s mystique can go down as well as up. Stuff happens; times change; gratifying opinion polls breed complacency. For now, nevertheless, the republican threat, such as it ever was, has been seen off. Happy thoughts have trumped rational thoughts.”

He continues:

“In theory, Mr Salmond cares a great deal. When he spares us the historical nonsense of a “queen of Scots” he has plenty to say about issues such as the privileges of the Crown Estate. He doesn’t always join the dots, however, between his sentimental regard for the monarchy and royal realities. As republicanism retreats, the SNP’s convenor prefers affection, loyalty and deference.

“He seems sincere enough. Since the Windsors are more popular then ever, according to the London chorus, the First Minister would probably be unwise to adopt any other position. But the bald facts of royalty’s resurgence conceal an interesting sub-text where Scotland is concerned. It is pointless to pretend that we live in a republican redoubt, but the idea that Scots are as loyal and true as the Home Counties is far wide of the mark.”

Declaring that “for now” the Windsors may be “winning”, Bell concludes in his column:

“For now, the Windsors are winning. There is no point in denying it. You can’t compete with an infant any more than you can reason with a mob. Sixteen years ago I was one of those listening to Elton John and the Anglican liturgy in Westminster Abbey. Had you told me the royal house would recover triumphantly from the funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales, I would have asked if you hallucinated often. It might even have gone into print. Once the Queen was gone – I was certain about this – they were finished. Scandinavian discretion and reduced circumstances were their best hope. The idea of Charles badgering ministers with intemperate letters behind the scenes, far less being allowed to keep such letters secret, was unthinkable. But like a lot of people, I didn’t think hard enough.

“Happy monarchists should pause, nevertheless. If the monarchy’s revival seemed absurd in September 1997, its plight, thanks to Charles and Diana, would have sounded unimaginable just a generation before. Arguments are not settled by the arrival of children.”

At Walesonline meanwhile, Dan O’Neil has a somewhat light hearted assessment of the royal birth as a great excuse to knock Prince Charles off the headline. Writing last week he observed:

“I’m a sucker for conspiracy theories. So I reckon it’s no coincidence that just as we should be taking to the streets to protest at Charles’ attempts to influence government policies while apparently fiddling his tax returns, along comes another royal sprog to numb the nation’s critical tendencies.

“Conspiracy? Listen, late last September three judges ruled that the petulant princeling’s flood of memos to ministers should be published to show ‘how and when Prince Charles seeks to influence government’. Too right, they should. Here’s the heir to the throne telling democratically-elected politicians what he thought they should be doing and how he believed he could do it better…

“A real can of worms. Remember that was September 2012. Nine months ago. Think about it. So, anticipating problems, Charles turned to Number One son. ‘William’, he said. ‘those judges have dropped One in it. One might hold them off for a while. If…”

Yesterday Left Foot Forward looked at the life chances of the other 2,000 babies born on the same day as the Prince.

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