Anti-Monarchists: Royal Baby 'Great News' for Cause

'Nonsense of hereditary public office' has new U.K. republicans 'signing up in droves,' group says.

Prince William and wife Catherine travel to Buckingham Palace past crowds of spectators following their marriage at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England.
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The British activist group Republic on Tuesday reacted to news of the pregnancy of Prince William's wife Kate by saying the baby's impending birth is helping their cause.

The pregnancy, announced Monday, was greeted with joy from media and ordinary joes around the world. But Republic says the announcement has also riled up anti-monarchy feelings.

"Like thousands of other parents-to-be across the country, Kate and William must be thrilled – but their news just highlights the absurdity of hereditary office and focuses minds on what kind of future we want for Britain," said the group Tuesday.

"People are rightly asking: 'Why doesn't every child have the chance to be head of state?' That's why they've been signing up in droves over the last 24 hours."

[PHOTOS: Royal British Babies Through the Years]

According to the group, "A royal baby is great news for the republican movement as it raises serious questions about the future of the monarchy, ones the royal family would rather avoid."

Issues noted by the group include "the nonsense of hereditary public office," "the absurd possibility of a child head of state," and the fact that "this baby will have their religion, career and whole life mapped out."

"[T]he more the royals are in the media the more people start actively thinking about the issue. And the more opportunities we get to challenge the whole institution," said Republic.

In June, members of Republic picketed a 1,000-boat flotilla down the River Thames celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne. Signs saying "citizen not subject" were greeted with hisses and a recitation of the national anthem by pro-monarchy attendees nearby.

[PHOTOS: British Subjects Have Over-the-Top Queen Rally]

The U.K. has a long history of anti-monarchy sentiments. But the dissent isn't always tolerated. During the 2011 royal wedding of William and Kate, police rounded up citizens in London who went off-script and planned to protest, rather than celebrate, public wedding events. The arrests were later challenged in court.

Although American media has been almost unanimously positive about the prospects of a royal baby, The Associated Press interviewed several London residents who were either indifferent or irritated by the news.

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Steven Nelson writes for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at snelson@usnews.com.