Baby fever caps image turnaround for UK royals - WNCN: News, Weather

Baby fever caps image turnaround for UK royals

Posted: Updated:
LONDON -

A crowd cheered, hundreds of cameras clicked and an image of familial perfection was beamed around the world.
    
Prince William, his wife Kate and their infant son, the Prince of Cambridge, emerged Tuesday from London's St. Mary's Hospital to start a new chapter in their lives - capping a remarkable turnaround for a monarchy that had ended the 20th century at a low point of popularity.
    
The outpouring of public and official enthusiasm - including artillery salutes, marching bands and landmarks illuminated blue for the royal baby boy - showed that Britain's royal family is back in its subjects' affections, especially now that it has an adorable infant heir, third in line to the throne, who could be king into the 22nd century.
    
"It's had its ups and downs in public opinion," said veteran royal commentator Dickie Arbiter. "But in the last 20 years it has had more ups than downs."
    
Pictures of William, Kate and their baby, whose given names have yet to be announced, echoed a similar image taken 31 years ago, when Prince Charles and Princess Diana left the same hospital with baby William in their arms.
    
William and Kate looked much more relaxed than the awkward Charles and Diana, and within a few years the older couple's image of regal domestic bliss had been comprehensively trashed.
    
By the late 1980s and early '90s, the royal family was making headlines for all the wrong reasons. More often than not the stories were about marital troubles among the children of Queen Elizabeth II, especially for Charles and his unhappy wife Diana.
    
The divorce or separation of three of the monarch's four children in 1992, along with a damaging fire at Windsor Castle, led the queen - in a rare admission of private feeling - to dub it a horrible year, her "annus horribilis."
    
Then in 1997 came Diana's death in a car crash - a personal tragedy that also became a crisis for the monarchy. Warm, glamorous and unhappy in her royal marriage, Diana had - in the eyes of many - been badly treated by the royal "Firm." The queen and other senior royals, caught by surprise by an outpouring of public grief at her death, appeared cold and remote.
    
But that image has since been transformed, partly because of the dignified endurance of Queen Elizabeth II, now in her 62nd year on the throne.  At 87, she is the only monarch most Britons have ever known, a reassuring presence at the heart of national life who has in recent years given public hints of her private sense of humor - even agreeing to appear alongside Daniel Craig's James Bond in a short film for the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
    
If the queen gives the family gravitas, the emergence of an attractive young generation that includes William, his soldier-socialite brother Prince Harry and the glamorous, middle-class Kate gives it celebrity.
    
William's work as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, Harry's army service in Afghanistan, and Kate's girl-next-door charm have all proved assets. Even seeming faux pas such as Harry's strip-billiards antics in Las Vegas have done little but burnish his popularity.
    
William and Kate's Westminster Abbey wedding in 2011 was an extravaganza of pageantry that brought thousands into the streets for celebratory parties.
    
The baby adds a new layer of stability to help the institution thrive for another generation. For the first time since the 19th-century reign of Queen Victoria, Britain has three generations of living heirs to the throne - Prince Charles, William and his baby son.
    
Through Kate, the future king also has a dose of non-royal blood. Her family, although affluent, comes from an ordinary, middle-class background.
    
"I think this baby is hugely significant for the future of the monarchy," said Kate's biographer, Claudia Joseph. "It is the first future king for 350 years to have such an unusual family tree. Not since Queen Mary II has the offspring of a 'commoner' been an heir to the throne."
    
Diana was a commoner in the strict sense that she was not royal, but unlike Kate she came from an aristocratic family.
    
The importance of that common thread was echoed by Pippa Rowe, head teacher at the primary school in Kate's home village of Bucklebury, west of London.
    
"I think this will enable the children to have a real chance to connect with the monarch," she said. "They learn about kings and queens, but we are going to have a real live prince with one set of grandparents living down the road."
    
The cost of affection for the royal family, in our media-saturated times, is a hunger for intimacy. The young royals are global celebrities, and there is a vast demand for images and information about them from the world's media.
    
William and Kate will struggle against that hunger as they try to give their son a normal childhood, as much as possible out of the spotlight.
    
Arbiter said William's own childhood would help him give his son a balanced upbringing. William was educated alongside children from a wide variety of backgrounds, albeit at some of Britain's ritziest private schools.
    
"I'm not going to use the word 'common,' but it was a well-rounded upbringing," Arbiter said.
    
"And, of course, his mother gave him the high street. He knew what it was all about to go to a movie or go into McDonald's or a book store. He knew how to handle money, which is something older royals didn't do. He will bring up his children in the way he was brought up, and probably with some new touches from Catherine."
    
___

  • NewsMore>>

  • NC GOP Senate candidates face off as early voting begins

    NC GOP Senate candidates face off as early voting begins

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:15 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:15:49 GMT
    The four top-polling Republican Senate candidates, vying to unseat Democrat Kay Hagan, debated on Wednesday night in Raleigh, the night before early voting was set to begin. The primary is May 6, but voters can start heading to the polls on Thursday.During the half hour televised debate, State House of Representatives Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte said he was leading a conservative revolution in Raleigh, cutting regulations and taking credit for falling unemployment numbers. Tillis faces c...
    The four top-polling Republican Senate candidates, vying to unseat Democrat Kay Hagan, debated on Wednesday night in Raleigh, the night before early voting was set to begin. The primary is May 6, but voters can start heading to the polls on Thursday.During the half hour televised debate, State House of Representatives Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte said he was leading a conservative revolution in Raleigh, cutting regulations and taking credit for falling unemployment numbers. Tillis faces c...
  • Cary's Green Hope named top high school in NC

    Cary's Green Hope named top high school in NC

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:01:12 GMT
    Cary’s Green Hope High School was named the top high school in North Carolina by the U.S. News and World Report.
    Cary’s Green Hope High School was named the top high school in North Carolina by the U.S. News and World Report.
  • Road closures, detours for Tar Heel 10 Miler

    Road closures, detours for Tar Heel 10 Miler

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:24:41 GMT
    Traffic will be detoured in areas of Chapel Hill from 7 to 10 a.m. on April 26 for the Tar Heel 10 Miler and Fleet Feet Sports 4 Mile Run.
    Traffic will be detoured in areas of Chapel Hill from 7 to 10 a.m. on April 26 for the Tar Heel 10 Miler and Fleet Feet Sports 4 Mile Run.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:40:54 GMT
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.