Like the rest of us, members of the Royal Family were still waiting for their first glimpse of the new seventh-in-line to the throne yesterday. But there was no concealing their excitement at the prospect.
While the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remained at home, enjoying their baby son and recovering from his arrival in the early hours of Monday, the rest of the family were on duty at home and abroad.
In London, the Duke of Cambridge – now a royal uncle for the first time – said his younger brother was a very welcome addition to the ‘sleep deprivation society’.
The pinstripe Prince: Charles prefaced his speech to a diplomatic reception in Berlin with words of grandpaternal pride yesterday
Noting a happy royal pattern for spring births, the Duchess of Cambridge – whose two younger children have just marked their birthdays – added: ‘It’s such a great time of year to have a baby.’
Last night, the Prince of Wales received cheers and applause in Germany as he prefaced his speech to a diplomatic reception with words of grandpaternal pride.
Speaking in German, he declared: ‘It is a particular pleasure to be back in Berlin once again – especially as the grandfather of a brand new grandson!’
On the first day of his tour with the Duchess of Cornwall he had earlier told reporters: ‘We couldn’t be more delighted at the news and we’re looking forward to meeting the baby when we return.’ Nor could the Queen conceal her happiness. Hosting a Windsor reception for holders of the Order of Merit, she didn’t miss a beat when asked for the latest tally of great-grandchildren. ‘Eight!’ she replied proudly.
Camilla was handed an ‘It’s a boy!’ balloon during her visit to the Brandenburg Gate
The first public photographs of the baby, along with an announcement about his name and title, are due to be released at lunchtime today. Yesterday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said they were none the wiser about what their nephew will be called.
‘We’re looking forward to meeting him and finding out what his name’s going to be,’ said the Duchess during the couple’s visit to Greenwich in south-east London.
‘It’s such a special time, obviously with Louis and Charlotte just having had their birthdays it’s such a great time of year to have a baby. Spring is in the air.’
She had plenty of sympathy for her brother and sister-in-law, too: ‘These next few weeks are always a bit daunting the first time round so we wish them all the best.’
Yesterday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said they were none the wiser about what their nephew will be called
With a broad smile, the Duke professed himself ‘absolutely thrilled, and obviously looking forward to seeing them in the next few days when things have quietened down’. He joked: ‘I’m very pleased and glad to welcome my own brother into the sleep deprivation society that is parenting.’
Acknowledging he would have ‘plenty of advice’, Uncle William was in no hurry to deploy it. ‘I hope [in] the next few days they can settle down and enjoy having a newborn in their family and the joys that come with that.’
The Sussexes remained at Frogmore Cottage, their home on the Windsor estate, watched only by the incessant air traffic passing in and out of nearby Heathrow.
‘We’re looking forward to meeting him and finding out what his name’s going to be,’ said the Duchess during the couple’s visit to Greenwich in south-east London
Across the Home Park, however, a crowd had assembled on Windsor’s famous Long Walk as the international media circus stood beneath the castle walls watching nothing much at all.
This time a year ago, the bunting was going up for the biggest party Windsor has ever seen. Upwards of a billion TV viewers would tune in to see the great transatlantic royal romance sealed at St George’s Chapel against this great medieval backdrop.
Now you’ve overtaken me, Your Majesty!
The Queen wasted no time in comparing notes with another great-grandparent at an official function yesterday.
Hosting a luncheon for members of the Order of Merit, she fell into discussion with Jean Chretien, the former prime minister of Canada, about their growing families.
He said: ‘Congratulations. Another great-grandchild!’ The Queen replied happily: ‘Yes, I know.’ She was then asked, ‘How many of them have you got now?’, to which she replied: ‘Eight.’ At this, Mr Chretien quipped: ‘You beat me by one!’
The Queen and Prince Philip were also joined by Sir David Attenborough, David Hockney and inventor of the internet Sir Timothy Berners-Lee among others. The Order of Merit honours leaders in the arts, sciences, culture and military and is limited to 24 living members.
Jean Chretien, the former prime minister of Canada, told the Queen: ‘You beat me by one!’
One year on, and the same international news crews are here to report on the first fruit of that happy union.
Once again Windsor, an apparition of majesty in stone, is bathed in spring sunshine – a great advertisement for British tourism. Having decided to make this town their home, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been brilliant for business.
The locals are certainly grateful. Some say the Sussexes have done more to promote Windsor as a destination than anyone since Queen Victoria. They just dearly wish they might see them in town now and then.
‘We’d love to see him in here,’ said Sharon Ball, barmaid at the Prince Harry pub on Windsor High Street. ‘William used to come in a bit when he was a boy at Eton. But we’ve never seen Harry.’
She added that business has shot up since the pub changed its name from The Three Tuns in 2017. The most popular dish is the Prince Harry Burger (with extra bacon and cheese) and the most popular beer is the brand new Windsor Baby Pale Ale, produced by the Windsor & Eton Brewery in honour of the new arrival.
There has been no special beer for previous royal babies, not even Prince George.
That young Master Sussex should be deemed worthy of a new brew is a tribute to the strength of local support.
‘The royal wedding was massive for this town and we’ve never really looked back since,’ said Stuart O’Brien, landlord of The Two Brewers, on the edge of the Home Park and, as such, Prince Harry’s local.
This week has been a rather strange experience, however, for those diehard royalists who make a point of turning out for these notable royal landmarks. ‘I have to say we are all a little saddened that there’s nothing to see,’ admitted John Loughrey, 64, from south London, who had spent the three previous evenings camped on the street outside the castle.
Given that he knew there would be nothing to see, why do this? ‘You want to be here for these moments. And I’m staying here until we see the first picture of the baby,’ he said, breaking off for an interview with Poland’s main breakfast television show.
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‘This is major news in Poland. We love royal babies. In fact, we think that Prince Louis may have been conceived in Poland during William and Kate’s royal tour there,’ explained Polish TV presenter Anna Senkara. Inside the castle, an event of very considerable importance was taking place.
The Order of Merit is among the most exalted awards in the gift of the Sovereign – given for ‘exceptional distinction’ in the arts, learning and statecraft and restricted to 24 members. Its ranks have included many Nobel prizewinners.
Its members get together with the Queen just once every two years. Yesterday’s reunion included the inventor of the worldwide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough, and the playwright, Sir Tom Stoppard.
It was all the more notable given that the oldest living recipient, the Duke of Edinburgh, emerged from his retirement to attend.
Even this illustrious gathering, however, could not compete with the big news on the other side of the ramparts: still no name for a child which the waiting world has yet to see.