Soon after Buckingham Palace announced the birth of the heir to the British throne, a notice was placed on an easel in the palace’s forecourt just like the announcement of Prince William’s birth on June 21, 1982, a traditional element of royal pageantry. Hundreds of well-wishers have gathered at Buckingham Palace.
"It's a boy!" one man shouted, prompting a mass chorus of cheers from the crowds outside the palace that quickly swelled to 15 deep.
Royal fans and whirring media helicopters quickly descended on Buckingham Palace as news spread across social media of the royal birth.
Earlier during the day, there were only a few interested parties milling about hoping to catch the much-talked about easel.
However, once confirmation came from the palace, a melee of clambering, excited fans swarmed along the palace’s perimeter fence.
On this monumental occasion, there were not the throngs of royalists, tourists and well-to-doers lining the streets patriotically waving Union Jack flags. The reaction was more pared-down than the Royal Wedding but there were still a smattering of hardcore fans clad in royal-style regalia.
“This is how people imagine England and I think it’s fantastic news for William and Kate – they’ll be great parents,” said Sandra Steeds, a student from Romford, 25 kilometers northeast of London.
Of course, this historic day has stirred the hearts of watchers globally – families like the Bailey’s from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA: “It’s like a sporting event and we [his wife and son] wanted to be a part of this history," Reade Bailey said. "My son has made us return here three times today – and he’s told all his friends via Facebook.”
Bailey, 50, continued: “I’d like to have seen Princess Diana as a grandmother because she fascinated people all around the world.”
Indeed, Catherine seems to have taken on that humanitarian mantle at which Princess Diana was so adept. She had a cross-generational appeal with Melody Shi, 28, saying: “I like her because Kate is pretty and she has a great taste in fashion."
Although some fans were hoping to see the first girl in British history ascend to the throne as the first born, the majority of well-wishers are just pleased to hear the glad tidings proclaimed on the official easel.
Prince William’s simple statement summed up the mood: “We couldn’t be more happier,” and neither could the adoring fans.