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Flicking mindlessly through Freeview channels and wincing whenever I saw the LINDO WING sign, I grumbled and mumbled with the best of the ‘miserable gits’ up and down Britain who couldn’t care less about the soon-to-be-born Prince. It wasn’t that I felt irrational and overblown hatred towards a small, blameless newborn baby. To be honest, I don’t even hate the royals. What my entirely rational hatred was directed at was the rolling news channels that stayed on this story like hyenas baying for blood.
In the weeks leading up to Kate’s presumed due date, news coverage was respectfully sparse. We didn’t really ever need to know how big the baby bump was or if Kate had experienced morning sickness or if she’d sent William out to the shops at two o’clock in the morning to buy the peanut butter she was craving. There was the occasional mention that the future king still had not yet deigned to make an appearance. Fast-forward to the news that Kate had entered St Mary’s hospital and cue every news outlet scrambling to stand crowded and crushed behind metal barriers directly outside the Lindo Wing until, hallelujah, the Duchess gave birth in the afternoon of July 22nd.
The fun was not over. Then came the long wait for the press and crowds of excited people (seriously, who were these people – monarchists, overzealous baby fans, or merely Union Jack merchandise vendors?) who all wanted that golden money shot of the happy couple and their new baby boy.
I can’t have been the only one who steadily became uncomfortable with how many lenses and intrepid journalists jostled outside that hospital. Half of me wanted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to sneak out the back exit, go round the crowd of paps and then toot a car horn to grab their attention before speeding off into the sunset, cackling all the way because they’d denied the world’s press the ultimate Royal photograph.
It became clear that the undoubtedly, and understandably, overwhelmed parents had to face the music eventually, so stay tuned because it could be any minute, though it’s astounding how ‘in the next hour’ actually means ‘sometime later this evening’). As the hours whiled away, the questions asked of these ‘Mother and Baby’ magazine editors went from dull to duller. No matter how good the studio news anchor is, there’s only so much you can ask about babies. ‘What will he be called?’ ‘How will they raise him?’ ‘Is blue too cliché of a colour for boy baby clothing now?’ Truthful answer to all: I don’t know.
You’d think, therefore, the news channels would quickly get bored, but how wrong you would be. The news latch onto this kind of story with all its inane intricacies because it’s an undeniably ‘good news’ story. For a few days, let’s forget about all the wars and poverty and politics and the recession, remember that? No, of course not, the world has bigger fish to fry – a woman has just given birth to a baby.
Now, reigning in my inherent grumpiness just a tad, I want to wish the happy couple joyous felicitations on the birth of their beautiful boy, Prince George Alexander Louis. Whether you wish to employ a nanny like Mary Poppins or take a more hands-on approach to parenting is entirely your affair, regardless of what News 24 may otherwise suggest by asking every Tom, Dick and Harry what they think you should do. It has been well over a week since that steps-shot was plastered over every news channel and paper but can I for one just say thank you to every single news outlet for providing the public with a relentless and monotonous block of coverage. At least it gave Nicholas Witchell a chance to get out the BBC studio and, most importantly, gave the public a ‘good news’ story instead of clearly insignificant news like US whistleblowers or ‘right-to-die’ appeal cases or the sit-in protests unfolding in Egypt. I mean, you call extensive coverage of the Royal Baby news in comparison to all that?