The madness around Prince George

2013-07-28 14:00

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, confirmed conspiracy theories that she is not human and stayed pregnant for two years.

Okay, I made that one up, but it sure feels like it. In the giant summer sauna that is London in the grip of a heat wave, it is easy to lose your temper – and your sanity.

Prince William had barely popped the question when speculation started over whether Kate would secure the monarchy by producing an heir to the throne. (Bizarrely, given that the as-yet-to-be-conceived princeling’s grandfather had been waiting a good century or so to become king).

The royal wedding 27 months ago propelled the pregnancy rumour mill into overdrive.

Hardly a day passed without some tabloid or gossip magazine commenting on Kate’s weight – one particularly distasteful and unsubstantiated headline two years ago shouted “Broody Kate’s Anorexia Nightmare” – and even the perfectly normal acquisition of the puppy they called Lupo was supposedly a practice run for motherhood.

In the end, Prince George was only a few days overdue.

But not before his future subjects had to endure endless televised discussions and reams of newspaper copy on his gender, possible name, whether Kate would breast-feed, artists’ composites of what he/she might look like and whether the new addition would inherit the wild ways of uncle Harry or, worse, great-uncle Gary Goldsmith (Kate’s self-made millionaire uncle who was allegedly caught doing cocaine in a sting operation).

While the rest of Britain sought temporary refuge from the heat on the beaches, in fountains and in beer, the paparazzi, tourists and royalists descended on the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.

A picture of a firmly shut hospital door dominated all news channels and was streamed online by newspaper websites, clocking up a record number of hits.

By the time the future king was born on Monday afternoon, on the hottest day of the year, only the staunchest of republicans had the inclination – or the energy – to grumble.

The emergence of a freshly coiffed Kate with an obvious post-birth tummy, a beaming Prince William and the newborn swayed many a cynic.

On the train, men in suits read each of the 22 pages on the royal birth in the Daily Mail.

On Facebook, a tough-talking friend confessed to a lump in the throat. In the local coffee shopz, a group of obviously sleep-deprived new mums (sans personal hairdressers) loudly praised Kate for being “so normal” and at the newsagent on the corner all the talk was about how excellent a choice of name George was.

If not exactly delirious with joy, the overwhelming feeling among Britons is one of relief. Relief that the picture of the hospital door is off the screens, relief that a birth under such intense scrutiny went smoothly, and relief that everyone can get back to their grumpy old selves.

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