Once upon a time—July 22 to be exact—people around the globe rejoiced at the birth of a prince. England gained a new heir, and the world fell in love with a tiny baby.
His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge is just over one month old, but the infant has already changed history. The baby’s arrival meant that, for the first time since 1894, three generations of direct heirs to the throne are alive at one time.
Thanks to the increase of social media, His Royal Highness had the most anticipated birth in recent history. How many people get their own Wikipedia page before their first birthday?
It all started when the fairy tale romance of Prince William and girl-next-door Kate Middleton swept fans off their feet. By the royal wedding in 2011, a generation was captivated as history was written before their eyes.
UMHB junior English major Sarah Tipton spent seven weeks in England this summer. She recalls witnessing the nuptials on television.
“I remember getting up at four or five in the morning with my mom and sister to watch the royal wedding,” she said. “I watched the entire ceremony with so much anticipation.”
The moment William and Catherine tied the knot, excitement for the birth of an heir commenced. When the news broke on Dec. 3, fans of the couple rejoiced. Estimates for the due date, name and
sex of the child were speculative. People began placing wagers on everything from the birth date to the baby’s future career. British bookies brought in well over $1 million.
The traditional royal birth announcement was displayed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace, but the baby’s arrival was officially declared first in a palace press release á la 21st-century.
Gun salutes and the ringing of bells filled the country. Iconic landmarks lit up blue to signify the birth of a boy. Photographers staked out St. Mary’s Hospital waiting for the picture-perfect moment.
While she appreciated the excitement surrounding the prince’s arrival, Tipton found the media obsession a bit extreme.
“Every news station wanted to be the first to catch a glimpse of HRH and it became a bit of a circus,” she said. “But I did enjoy how people celebrated the royal baby.”
Two days after the birth, William and Kate selected their son’s name.
While designating a princely name seemed notable, it is the smaller decisions William and Kate make that will likely infl uence others. The royals will certainly be scrutinized as they raise their son.
“I think Will and Kate’s parenting choices are already having an impact … Doubtlessly many mothers will take into account what choices (Kate) makes with her son,” Tipton said. “Prince George will definitely have a unique childhood, but Kate and Will obviously want him to enjoy both of their worlds.”
In his first interview after the baby’s arrival, William said that driving his wife and son home from the hospital was important to him. The new father buckled his own son into the car seat and personally escorted his family home, a move that resonated with fathers everywhere.
Fans are already wondering if the future holds any more heirs.
“I would be surprised if they did not have at least one more child,” Tipton said. “I’m holding out for a girl next time.”