It’s a boy! New successor to the British Crown.

Yesterday will go down in history, not only was it the hottest day since 2006 but at 4.24pm a new successor to the throne was born.

For a couple of weeks the worlds press has been camped around the streets outside St. Mary’s hospital in London awaiting the birth of the first child of Kate and Prince William, or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as we are now supposed to call them.

The baby has been stubbornly sticking to its own schedules with even The Queen having stated she was waiting for its birth so that she could go on her annual Scottish holiday.

Easel Announcement

The official announcement from the hospital on the Royal birth.

According to tradition, the official announcement of the birth was signed by the doctors overseeing the birth and posted by the gates of Buckingham Palace.  The birth was also proclaimed by a traditional town crier.

Town Crier

Tony Appleton, a town crier, announces the birth of the royal baby, outside St. Mary’s Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London, Monday, July 22, 2013. Palace officials say Prince William’s wife Kate has given birth to a baby boy. The baby was born at 4:24 p.m. and weighs 8 pounds 6 ounces. The infant will become third in line for the British throne after Prince Charles and William. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

As is tradition, all babies that were born yesterday in the U.K. will receive a silver coin which shows how far things have come since Prince Charles was born and new born babies were given increased bacon and butter rations for the day.

This is only the second time in history that 4 generations of monarchs and future monarchs have been present at one time, the only other being with the long lived and Great Queen Victoria meeting most of the pre WW2 monarchs.

Royal Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms of The House of Windsor

However the future King will actually be the 43rd monarch since the Norman invasion of 1066 which deposed the even older Anglo Saxon monarchs (which I recently found out I am directly descended from!) though as the Normans were really from Scandinavia rather than France there is a lot of mixed blood lines that pre-date the Normans.  The future King is also the 41st direct successor from King Egbert.  A similar modern day parallel can be drawn from Queen Victoria whose descendants now sit on the thrones of much of Europe.

Victoria's Royal Family

Queen Victoria with Prince Albert and her many, many children.

The birth of any baby is always a joyous occasion whoever they might be.  However Baby Cambridge is probably the only one for whom the church bells will ring throughout both the UK and throughout The Commonwealth.

At 2pm BST there will be a 41 gun salute in Greens Park by the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery and at the same time at The Tower of London there will be a 62 gun salute by The Honourable Artillery Company.

There have been official congratulations from around the world with The Palace issuing a statement

The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news

The Prime Minister David Cameron has said that it is wonderful news

“It is an important moment in the life of our nation.” “It’s been a remarkable few years for our Royal family – a royal wedding that captured people’s hearts, that extraordinary magnificent Jubilee and now this royal birth. All from a family that has given this nation so much incredible service,”

There have been similar statements from the Australian and Canadian leaders amongst many others.

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and next in line to the throne was said to be “overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild”.

“It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy,” he added.

“Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone’s life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so 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.”

Blue Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls lit up in blue to inform tourists that the new royal is a boy

It is one of the bizarre features of the world that the United States in being one of the few countries (and off the top of my head, the only colony) to have fought a war to gain freedom from the Crown is perhaps the country most obsessed with the birth of the future King with American news channels giving rolling coverage to the birth.    Niagra Falls was lit blue in celebration of the birth of the boy and  President Obama issued the following statement:

“Michelle and I are so pleased to congratulate The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the joyous occasion of the birth of their first child, we wish them all the happiness and blessings parenthood brings. The child enters the world at a time of promise and opportunity for our two nations. Given the special relationship between us, the American people are pleased to join with the people of the United Kingdom as they celebrate the birth of the young prince.”

Time Square Announcement

News breaks out in New Yorks Time Square. Millions of Americans will wonder who Kate and William are and millions of British will wonder who are Rutgers Athletics? Maybe Rutger Hauer has branched out?

The health of the monarch has traditionally been tied to the well-being of the nation.  A sickly King or Queen meant the possibility of a war of succession or foreign invasion.  The times the country has done well has often mirrored the reigns of ambitious or dedicated monarchs.  Though this has lessened in recent years, a good example of this can be seen in the film The Kings Speech where despite having perhaps the greatest public speaker ever in Sir Winston Churchill, it was still left to the shy King to give his rousing speech to the Empire on radio at the start of WW2.

One of the main advantages of a good monarch is that they bring stability to a country.  Elected officials come and go but the current Queen has been on the throne for over 60 years.  They are seen as politically impartial and a symbol of nationhood and this means that they are generally much more popular than any President or Prime Minister.  It is easy to find out what David Cameron or Barack Obama think about everything but hardly anyone knows anything about the Queens opinion on anything.

One of the historic oddities of this means that the Home Secretary (the second or third top politician in the country) has to be present at the birth of the new monarch.  This harks back to the 17thC when the government found it difficult to believe that a particularly sickly mother could give birth to such a strong child and so ever since the Home Secretary has been present to make sure that the line of descent is legitimate.

untains in Trafalgar Square

The fountains in Trafalgar Square lit blue for a week in celebration

It’s sometimes forgotten that the Queen is not just the Head of State of the U.K. but also of many Commonwealth Countries around the world.  The birth of a boy has spared some difficulties as Great Britain has recently changed the laws so that the line of succession now passes to the first born child regardless of whether it is a boy or girl and so far similar laws have not yet been passed in some of the other Commonwealth nations.

However it is set to be a long time before the baby becomes King, most likely around 60 years at least which means many of the people today won’t be alive when this happens.

Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped crowds of people celebrating with a long queue of people stretching down the road from Buckingham Palace all just to see the official pronouncement of the birth of the future King.

Crowds at The Gates

The Crowds line up outside Buckingham Palace to read the official notice of birth.

However, not everyone is overjoyed, a member of the Russian Parliament The Duma has gone on record as saying he sees no reason to celebrate the birth of a child in his country’s sworn enemy and that sometime in the middle of the 21st Century it will drink its peoples blood.  Well, that is something nice we all have to look forward to.  I’ll put it in my calendar along with end of the world and flying pigs.

The baby has not yet been officially named though it is likely to be given several names with its first name likely to be along the lines of George, Henry, James or Philip.  It’s been a long time since we’ve had a King Arthur and King Stephen was 900 years ago though if the current Royal Family does want to hand over the throne to an even older blood-line, I am more than happy to step in to help out.

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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22 Responses to It’s a boy! New successor to the British Crown.

  1. Shame in a way that it wasn’t a girl though given the recent legislation. And female monarchs have been pretty good for the UK, perhaps not the first Mary, but apart from her, they have done OK. So few though.

    Your comment about 60 years away and many of us not being around struck home though! 😦

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    • Yes I agree, the female monarchs have been far above average generally. It would have been nice in a way especially as the next two monarchs are already set to be Kings.

      I know I will find it quite strange when we have a King instead of a Queen. Given that the Royals generally travel separately to avoid plane crashes and the like it seems unlikely the baby will be King much before that given how young William is. At the age of 39, I am probably at the upper end of people who have any hope of seeing him King though I think it unlikely myself! Apparently the average Windsor lives 14 years longer than the rest of us.

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      • Given the way the queen is going and the longevity of the queen mum, I’ll be surprised if I see William!

        I think a king will be odd too, having always been brought up with a queen.

        And who says money doesn’t buy life?

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        • Yes, given the huge life expectancy rates between the rich and poor parts of cities or even the north-south divide it does show how important money is. I know the Queen works very hard and doesn’t have much of her own life but on the other hand opening dozens of museums and buildings a year even when in your 80’s probably doesn’t compare to 40 years the rest of us have of getting up at 6am or so to work hard all day. Let alone with a miner, or shipbuilder.

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          • Yes, I agree she works hard and I wouldn’t want her job. I think it would be insufferably boring. I’d be more interested in being Andy and poncing off the state doing stuff all apart from a few useless trade missions.

            I think Anne has always worked hard too (see the women thing again!) and she’s the only one I’ve actually seen (hospital opening).

            Partner’s father was a miner, died at 59, years before I even met Partner. We’re currently getting up just before six, he’s working ten hours a day, more than 50 hours a week on a building site. I can’t see him making his centenary.

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            • Yes, Anne does so much charity work as I suppose they all do but with her it seems a passion rather than a job.

              I have often thought of writing a blog to see if we are actually better off than Victorians. I have spent the last 10 years getting up just after 5am, commuting around London just to get to work. I am sure if you are lucky enough to work in an office in your home-town life must be definitely easier but otherwise we either work a long way from work and or work long hours. No matter how hard I work at home at the moment and I often am writing or working on my business plan for 12 hours a day, it is much less exhausting than going to work and that drive and just the general stress and routine of working for someone else a long way from home.

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              • I was reading a blog post recently about ancestors and it reminded me that although you can wander around a graveyard and see young deaths from hundreds of years ago, you can also see incredibly old people.

                I suspect our lifestyle has changed for the worse. While the average life expectancy has increased, probably due to medical intervention (neither I nor Partner would be here today), I’m not convinced that people are living to a ripe old age. For example, my parents died in their 70s, my grandmothers died in their 80s as did my great aunt and lots of other ‘great’ rellies. I even remember seeing a great great aunt when I was a kid, goodness knows how old she was.

                I think everyone has to do the London commute thing for a brief period in life. And, it’s not too bad when you are young and the money comes in. After that I went for the other option, near to work, although some of that did involve very long hours.

                Like you, I’d like to work from home writing but I lack the motivation to sell myself. Or there is always something else to do. It’s always at the bottom of the list.

                When I’ve sorted the MOT and the car insurance and fed the dog and mopped the floor and put the wash on and gone to the shops and and and … Get the idea?

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                • What a great comment, I entirely agree. There seems to be a good proportion of people in previous centuries who reached what would be considered a good age even today.

                  I think perhaps a small proportion of people are likely to live to around 90 but not really that many. Just in the recent decades, one of my grandfathers died when I was a baby and I would imagine only in his 50’s. My other Grandfather died aged 72 which is no different than many Victorians, one Grandma died aged 62 and the other did better and lived to her 80’s… however of course my mother died recently aged just 63 so perhaps that is 1 in 4 had a longer life and 2 had a short one.

                  People 100 years ago may have worked in smoky factories in poor conditions but usually their place of work was within walking distance. Our working days may be nominally shorter but many spend 3 or 4 hours commuting, getting in early or staying late and then being on-call or doing work emails at 10pm or a Sunday morning.

                  I think life has changed for the worst too. I feel the people born in the late 40’s and 50’s have done best. All the benefits of many things being free, jobs for life and lack of overcrowding whilst everyone from the 70’s onwards have increasingly have to pay for “free” rights, work longer hours and have a more uncertain and stressful life.

                  I know what you mean about writing, I have only had one day in the 4 months where I could actually do what I wanted and then I wrote by ebook. Every other day is either job hunting, cleaning the house etc and before you know it, its the evening.

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                  • I think you’ve got that one wrong about 40s and 50s (I’m late 50s, year wise although not literally agewise).

                    No things aren’t free, no jobs for life, I’ve been made redundant twice, my partner in construction endlessly gets laid off, (as he has done for the last 40 something years), we have both worked all hours under the sun which is what he is doing now. My office job involved working until after midnight with no extra pay. I was also on-call for no extra pay.

                    I live in the fifth most over-crowded place in the world, ie population density.

                    Life is always uncertain and stressful. Believe me. I have just had five days of hell.

                    When do you get your pension? How about you calculate your income and then the govt casually changes your pension date? Not good. Because that’s what happened to me.

                    Dole in Gib? £85 for two people a week. And you get £65 on your own?

                    If you think you have a hard life at 39, try being 54 with two degrees and unable to get a job, or 57 and working 55 hours a week of hard graft.

                    Not all baby boomers have an easy life. I can tell you about a lot of others.

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                    • I am sure that some baby-boomers do have it rough and I wasn’t particularly talking about myself having it tough. I think the 30-somethings today do have it harder than older generations on average but then the 20 years today seem to have it worse still with very little prospect of leaving home for 10 or 15 years, having a huge debt if they are lucky enough to be shoe-horned into university as there are hardly any apprenticeships.

                      I just had to check my pension age now as it was changed by the government about 3 years ago from 65 to 67, people younger are at 68 if it doesn’t get pushed back more later on.

                      I am currently on my 5th period of redundancy despite having 2 degrees. Despite previously having worked up to in 3 jobs in a day 5am-11.30am to make ends meet am making no progress now in getting just 1. Except during the Depression or in a mining community in the 80’s it is hard not to imagine there would be more opportunity and certainty in times past.

                      You’ve inspired me to do a blog post comparing working now and 100 years ago to see how it works out generally. Either way, it is hard to see the new royal baby having to suffer anything comparable to the 1 in 3 babies born into poverty in Britain today.

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  2. I might be the only one terrified they’re gonna give the baby one of these ‘modern’ names that are simply ridiculous. Did you know that the 49th person in line to the throne is called Zenouska? Queen Zenouska? Really?

    They’ll probably end up calling the baby Cambridge…

    However, I wouldn’t mind a King Alan (hint, hint).

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    • I think there could be a lot worse options than Alan. I was thinking the same yesterday about modern names. I would quite like Arthur; if my memory is right King Henry VIII had an older brother called Arthur but he died before becoming King. What a different place we would be living in if that hadn’t happened.

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  3. sknicholls says:

    Thank you for sharing this momentous occasion with such a thorough lesson in history. One of my favorite pastimes is to read about Royal families. I have also never seen such a good image of the Coat of Arms with the details explained, but was curious about them..

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    • There are a lot of books over here showing what all the symbols mean on Coats of Arms. Not many come close to being as complicated as there’s is though. There are several website where you type in your name and they show you what you coat of arms is. I am sure that with your surname, there would definitely be one for you!

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      • sknicholls says:

        I have never thought to look it up. My husband may have it somewhere.

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      • sknicholls says:

        You know, you got me thinking on this one. My mother’s family were Durhams. We have been able to trace our family back to William Henry Durham, who fought in the Civil War, and Silas Mercer Durham, who fought in the Revolutionary War, through those war records, We have never been able to find where Silas was born or buried. How would one go about finding out such information if he came from England?

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        • Apparently the oldest mention of the Durhams goes back to Dumfrieshire in SW Scotland and that is about 1,000 years ago.

          You might not know but Durham is a beautiful City in NE England so it is also very possible that your family come from around there.

          There are some genealogy websites which can tell you when the first Durhams came to America and where they landed, I think the first went to Virginia. They show the various generations over the centuries. I guess you’d have to find out which ones are most likely to link William and Silas to their arrival in the colonies.

          Once you have a firm name, it should be quiet easy to locate your ancesters in England or Scotland. There are central online registers for the whole UK based on church records. Most of it has already been researched, the hardest bit is probably finding out which person it was that came to America. After that is done it should be straight forward. If you decide to look into it more send me an email and I will see if I can help but you could have a look at http://www.ancestry.co.uk for starters.

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          • sknicholls says:

            Thank you so very much for your time. You have really stimulated my interest in this. I have grandchildren now, and I think with their father’s Hispanic origins and background, they should also be well informed of their mother’s (my daughter’s) 🙂

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            • You’re very welcome. That sounds like a great idea and it would be neat to know exactly where you came from.

              I understand why its important to appreciate everyones background but just going from what I see in the news, the amount of famous Americans or politicians that stress their Hispanic, Italian or Irish ancestry but they don’t mention or seem aware of their English, Scottish or Welsh families which are often really clear by their surnames (I know some are anglicised).

              Do let me know what you find out 🙂 You might like to do a search on my blog and find out about my family tree (What’s in a name?) though I really need to update it now with a new post.

              I have family connections with the same area of Scotland that the Durhams were first mentioned in and also with the Durham area of England so we could be related 🙂

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              • sknicholls says:

                That’s fascinating. I have bookmarked the page you sent. Being from Georgia and it being one of the thirteen original colonies, most southerners are very proud of their British roots despite the Revolutionary War. I know my cousins are. I remember my grandmother making scones and tea cakes and they always came in from the farm work to have tea in the afternoon. Some traditions will live on forever. Since I have retired and no longer work an 8 hour shift, I do the same. I have lived in Florida for the past 16 years, and while they practically accept me as a native now, my historical connection will always be with the colonies and England.

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  4. Boyer Writes says:

    Congratulations to all the people of the United Kingdom. It is refreshing to see a couple that seem to want to be as ordinary as royals can possibly be. May they always be so blessed and also the little one that has no idea what life has in store for him. Thank you, Stephen, for sharing some history with us. Nancy from Boyer Writes in the USA

    Like

  5. Pingback: It’s a boy! New successor to the British Crown. | A Dialogue on the Prayer Furnace.

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