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Greetings flood in as royal couple celebrate birth

26 July 2013

By Madeleine Davies and Serenhedd James


First photoshoot: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their new son outside St Mary's Hospital on Tuesday

First photoshoot: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their new son outside St Mary's Hospital on Tuesday

IN THE past, Archbishops of Canterbury were expected to attend the birth of a future sovereign. On this occasion, Archbishop Welby blessed the new royal heir not at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, but from a respectful distance.

"I am delighted to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the arrival of their baby boy," he said on Monday evening. "Along with millions here and around the world, I share in their joy at this special time. May God bless this family with love, health and happiness in their shared life ahead."

Earlier that day, he concluded a speech at Featherstone High School, Southall, with the suggestion that the audience "remember the Royal Duchess of Cambridge, who, in this heat, has gone into labour".

The new Prince, named George Alexander Louis, was born at 4.24 p.m., weighing 8 lb 6 oz. Members of the Church Times staff were outside Buckingham Palace when the details of the birth were mounted on an easel that evening. Dotted among the various foreign correspondents, people could be seen opening bottles of champagne and toasting the infant Prince's health.

As the night drew on, those still outside the palace got a soaking as the violent thunderstorm which followed the day's heat broke over the capital.

On Tuesday, Royal Salutes were fired in Green Park and at the Tower of London; and peals to celebrate the birth - of Cambridge Surprise Royal, fittingly - were rung on the bells of Westminster Abbey, and Cambridge Major on the Diamond Jubilee bells, now at St James's, Garlickhythe.

That evening, the Duke and Duchess emerged from St Mary's to introduce their son to the assembled crowds, including media from around the world. The Duke said that his son had "a good pair of lungs on him", had "fortunately" inherited his mother's looks, and had "way more" hair than him ("Thank God").

The Duchess said: "It's very emotional, it's such a special time. I think any parent will know what this feeling feels like."

Among those who accompanied the Duchess to the hospital was her private secretary, Rebecca Deacon, the daughter of the Vicar of St John the Evangelist, Studley, the Revd Selina Deacon.

On Tuesday in the House of Lords, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, said that the royal birth, in addition to "sustained sunshine, British victories at Wimbledon and the Tour de France, and an upsurge in that traditional English game of cricket" had left the country "basking in well-being.

"In all this warmth, we remem-ber today that a new stage has begun for a young family. The infant has no idea what symbolic authority may one day be his; and so meanwhile, we pray that their Royal Highnesses will be guided and sustained as they take up the joys and challenges of parenthood."

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon stated that, although the child was a boy, it was still "right" that the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 had passed earlier in the year (News, 27 April). The Act abolished male primogeniture and allows members of the Royal Family to marry Roman Catholics without forfeiting their right of succession.

Congratulations poured in from around the world. The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said that Australians wished "the royal bub all the best", while the Board of Deputies of British Jews issued a "hearty mazel tov".

Republicans were, for the most part, respectful in their response. Graham Smith, chief executive of the Republic campaign group, said: "The arrival of a new baby is always a cause for celebration - Kate and William will be thrilled. But we should remember that their son hasn't chosen to be royal. . . This is an opportunity for the rest of us to consider whether this circus is the best way to run things."

The christening of the Prince is likely to take place in the autumn in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace, administered by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In an article for the Mail on Sunday earlier this month, Archbishop Welby described the "sheer hope" brought by babies. Quoting Deuteronomy - "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" - he concluded: "Here is an image for a newborn, loved like a prince or princess, held in the arms of God, secure whatever happens."

Leader comment

Has too much attention been given to the royal baby? 





























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