Kate Middleton has given birth to a baby boy, and media outlets across the world have provided uninterrupted coverage ever since the announcement that she had gone into labor. The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William's child is third in line to the British throne, after Prince Charles and William himself.
Monarchists in Britain and royal family fans across the world have been glued to TVs and Twitter in anticipation of the birth, and The Guardian is live blogging the day. Many Britons are obsessed with the pomp and ceremonies that surround the royal family, and participate in betting pools on the sex or name of the baby.
Tradition dictates that after the baby is born, a medical bulletin will be taken from St. Mary's hospital in London to Buckingham Palace to inform the Queen and the rest of the family. The sex and weight of the baby are publicly announced, but the name may not be immediately given.
The birth is expected to provide a mild economic boost to the country, as people look to celebrate the occasion and purchase commemorative items. The coverage may seem overblown, but the child's arrival could have been historic for the Commonwealth had the child been a girl:
After centuries of male-preference primogeniture, in which a girl who'd otherwise be heir to the British royal throne can get leapfrogged by her brothers, the Commonwealth countries have agreed to change their policy, which would put Kate and William's daughter, if they have one, third in line for the British throne, even if she someday has brothers.
Yet some don't understand the tooth-and-nail and anticipation surrounding the royal baby, or the mania surrounding the family:
[T]here is nothing like living in a constitutional monarchy to turn one into a republican. The birth of a royal baby, particularly, underscores the medieval nature of the institution—the hard, creepy bloodstockiness of a caste system enshrined in law … It's forever surprising to me how many British friends, believers in egalitarian values in every other realm, subscribe to the view that the royal family is powerless, harmless, and largely deserving, in some unquestionable way, of the immense privilege that it hoards.
What do you think? Does the royal baby deserve so much attention? Take the poll and comment below.
- Read Stephanie Slade: D.C. and New York's Real Estate Regulations Hurt the Poor
- Read Jamie Stiehm: Immigration, Gun Control, Syria and Obama's Disappointing Second Term
- Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad