Nothing cheers up a room like a baby. In the case of a royal birth, it’s got what it takes to rev up an entire nation, or even a half-dozen.
We’ve known for some time that Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, have star power. Not surprisingly that has carried through and multiplied with the birth of their first child this week.
Brits are agog over the arrival; surveys reveal a majority of them quite happy with the monarchy.
And elsewhere in the Commonwealth – no doubt even here in Canada where the idea of a British monarch as official head of state is divisive, the birth of the yet-unnamed third in line to the throne will be enough to titillate even the on-again, off-again royal watcher.
In Atlantic Canada the sentiment for the royal family is marginally higher. Local stores can be seen putting up window displays to mark the occasion.
Joyous to be sure, but for those seeking an excuse to analyze the relationship this country has with the monarchy, it’s easy to think back a few decades when members of the royal family had tongues wagging the wrong way.
William and Kate have gone a long way toward turning that around – with their attraction as celebrities and their much less staid image compared to generations preceding them.
So, there are plenty of best wishes for this third in line. Second, of course is his father, and first is his grandfather, Prince Charles. That suggests a long time to wait and see how people feel when this young fellow is ready to take the royal perch – or whether, in this country at least, the anti-monarchist forces finally have their day.
In the meantime, perhaps those who ascend to the throne will find ways to make the monarchy a bit more relevant. They can’t take sides on political issues in a democratic country, but could do more to provide inspiration on topics of universal interest. The position has changed radically over the centuries and is likely to change more to keep with the times.