What can only be described as a throng gathered outside Buckingham Palace Monday afternoon as an announcement neared on the birth of Queen Elizabeths great-grandchild. The child, boy or girl, would be destined to be the monarch succeeding his or her father, Prince William, once he succeeds his father, Prince Charles.
As it turns out, the successor to William will be his now-brand-new son, 8 pounds and change, born to William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate. The baby boy was upon arrival receiving all sorts of gifts from the queens subjects, including a lifetime pass to a nice zoo in Australia.
The Brits have in recent years had a stormy relationship with their royals. There have been scandals here and there, from the royal divorce of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana to accusations regarding the popular but flamboyant Fergie to the antics of Williams younger brother, Prince Harry. But factor in the arrival of an heir to the throne, and all is at least forgotten for a while.
For another thing, the Duchess is wildly popular, and Prince William has conducted himself with considerable grace since being launched into the spotlight after the death of his mother, Diana.
Television sets here in the U.S. of A., where ancestors taught the English a thing or two and won freedom at Yorktown, still were turned to royal watching. (Were over it, but some of the British are still a little touchy. If the kid is named George somewhere along the way, it wont be for General Washington.)
For the English, the birth reminds them of the longevity of their empire, and its durability. And the Windsors are pretty durable as well, with Queen Elizabeth having ruled for 60-plus years. The new prince, in other words, may have plenty of time to train for the top job.