GB has had two main topics of conversation this week. 1) The weather. And we have had a lot of weather to talk about. In the last hour we have had brilliant sunshine, flash floods, gales, thunder, lightning and hail. I am just waiting for the yellow warnings about locusts and plague.
2) The new royal. Yip, we have another royal small person, as yet unnamed at the time of writing. It took a month for Charles to be officially named so nobody is holding their breath. The bookies favs are George, John, James, Alexander but ---- and this is not pro Scottish prejudice, this is a quote from British BBC TV News this morning--- 'The royal couple met in Scotland, are very fond of Scotland so it's thought there will be a Caledonian name in there somewhere.'
Tradition says that they cannot name the child while a royal is alive with the same name. So that rules out Andrew as a first name, but they might stick a Bruce or a Wallace in. Not Hamish one would hope. For the moment he is the Prince of Cambridge. His surname will be Mountbatten-Windsor. His dad is William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten- Windsor.
From a Scottish POV, the cynics are already saying that if that's so, it's an attempt at showing unity as the independence election looms large. If we do get independence the present queen will be our Queen Elizabeth the First (technically). The other 'Elizabeth of England the First' cut the head off Mary Queen of Scots. Ok that was in 1587 but we will just not let it lie. I was told today that when the young Queen Elizabeth 2 came to Scotland as a new monarch, she was not allowed to wear the Scottish crown but she was allowed to touch it. At that time there was a passion for burning the new post boxes that had ERII (Elizabeth Regina 2nd) on them.
The other new thing about this wee chappie is he didn't need to be a boy to be next in line to the throne. He will also be allowed to marry a Catholic if he wants. Previous monarchs could marry anybody of any faith but not that one. I'm not sure if they also changed the law about the PM not being a Catholic either and if they didn't they should have while they had the rule book out. The new royal will be able to marry without applying to the monarch for consent. Up to now, what if he was monarch when he decided he wants to marry? Did he ask himself?
Anyway, thousands flocked to the palace to see the notice going up on the easel. They knew it was coming because the royal messenger was seen leaving the front door of the hospital, and nipping away, trying not to smile.
The notice "announced the 16:24 BST delivery of the baby, 8lb 6oz." Then "King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and Honourable Artillery Company will fire gun salutes in London later. At 14:00 BST on Tuesday, the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery will stage a 41-gun salute in Green Park, after riding past Buckingham Palace."
There was also a 62-gun salute from Gun Wharf at the Tower of London. Hope that was out of earshot of a wee baby trying to get to sleep. And his exhausted mum.
What does amaze most folk here is the fascination the foreign media have for the royal family. The cameras outside that hospital were from all over the globe, we had snippets on our news of how the birth was reported in China, the USA, outer Mongolia ( Ok I am lying about the last one) but when we saw that the Washington Post has a special correspondent for the 'Haricot bean' (Rhyming slang for 'the queen') it makes us think a bit.
About the £245 million pounds this wee kid is worth to the ailing British economy.
The dad was present at the birth and he said that they 'could not be happier". A statement said "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news."
Prince Charles (granddad) added his own congratulations. He and the Duchess of Cornwall were "overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild". Then said "It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy. Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone's life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future."
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones both congratulated the couple on behalf of the Scots and Welsh peoples. As "they enter their journey into parenthood".
The birth of a child in direct line to the British throne is an event that only occurs once every 30 years or so. This wee chappie can trace his line back more than a thousand years to good King Egbert of Wessex. And barring revolution, his life is mapped out pretty much. At some point, in about 50 years, he will ride to Westminster Abbey in a golden coach to be crowned monarch.
He can look forward to a life of intense privilege. And will live under a dark shadow of intense scrutiny and pressure that none of us would wish for our own. It must be said that some of them in the past have suffered from 'not being the brightest spark in the tank' and others have had debilitating self doubt. It must be incredibly difficult to feel that you are worthy, and indeed develop a sense of self worth when surrounded by high achievers, knowing that you yourself have never had to prove a thing.
That's why I'm glad Catherine and William seem well grounded, Catherine has already said that her son will be surrounded by as much normality as possible.
Apart from the charismatic Kate and Wills, and Queenie herself, everybody's favourite/most respected royal is Anne probably. She is the hardest working royal. She swears, she gets cross at horses. Let's face it, horses don't care if you are royal or not, they will still throw you in a puddle. Olympians get there by hard work. As did daughter Zara. Money might buy them the best horses but sheer grit got them what they achieved.
It's that old sense of unearned privilege of a hereditary system that the meritocrats and republicans detest above all else. BUT William and Harry are out there working, testing themselves in the wide world and getting the chance to grow as people and find their own feet among peers. William is an RAF search and rescue pilot. Harry is going back to join his unit in Afghanistan.
If the wee chap needs any lessons on how to be a great monarch, he needs to look no further than great granny! She has guided that family through some terrible times and even the staunchest of republicans must admire that woman for what she has achieved.
So, I wish them all well...
Caro GB 26/07/2013
PS Since I wrote that bit, he has been named - George Alexander Louis. Proving very popular already- both baby and name. Present Queen's dad was George ( although his first name was Albert) Alexandrina was actually Queen Victoria's first name ( she was Alexandrina Victoria) and of course wee George's dad is Louis after Lord Mountbatten. Previous Georges are interesting- one got beheaded and another drowned in a vat of mouldy wine.