Despite differences in the coverage around the globe, some themes were universal: there is eager anticipation of the announcement of the name of infant son of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, the release of the first photograph, as well as much speculation over what the world will be like when the young prince eventually ascends the throne.
The British tabloid press was predictably bombastic, with tabloid paper The Sun temporarily renaming itself “The Son” in honor of the birth of a new male heir to the throne.
More upmarket titles were more restrained. Notably, the Guardian’s website gave its readers the option to filter out royal-birth-related news with a “republican” button, as it did during the furore surrounding the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.
The media across the Commonwealth, which also recognize the British monarch as their head of state, was also somewhat more subdued in their coverage.
The Australian ran a range of stories covering everything from the media circus that will surround the child throughout his life to a comment on how Kate, notably a petite woman, could have had a baby weighing 3.8 kilograms (8 pounds, 6 ounces).
La Presse, a Canadian French-language broadsheet, carried similar stories: “What kind of parents will the Duke and Duchess be?” asked one of its bloggers, before underscoring that the new parents will be truly “modern . . . and of their time.”
Lacking any photographs of the young prince, the main English-language Canadian press led instead with pictures of Canadian landmarks including Niagra Falls and the CN Tower lit up in celebration of the birth.
The National Post noted that the royal couple was able to keep the news from the media for four hours through careful stage management and last-minute changes of plans, saying that Monday was a “day that ended as unexpectedly as it had begun.”
Meanwhile, the other leading Canadian paper, the Globe and Mail, delivered the birth announcement at the same time as it ran a comment that the child would grow up in a “claustrophobic environment.” Further coverage in the Globe noted that the arrival of a son had “royally disappointed” some on the Internet, who were “mourning the loss of a royal version of Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise.”
The Times of India introduced the new prince to their readership by highligting the “terse tradition” that surrounds the birth of an heir to the British throne, noting that an Indian-born doctor had assisted in the birth.
There was also intense coverage of the constitutional wrangling in several Commonwealth countries surrounding recent attemptsto allow a female to ascend to throne if she were born first. While the British parliament had approved the law, a number of Carribean states had not adopted similar provisions prior to the birth of the child. There had also been constitutional challenges from the Canadian province of Quebec and the Australian state of Western Australia over the issue.
The constitutional angle was picked up even in non-Commonwealth media, with Spanish newspaper El País carrying one of the longer stories published on the prince’s birth in the world press that dedicated several hundred words to the succession law.
The German press—always close followers of the British royal family—have been characteristically enthusiastic about the latest addition to the Windsor clan.
Die Welt, wishing the new parents “good luck,” welcomed the baby into the world with a story entitled “The Royal Baby, the 43rd to the throne since 1066” that dedicated several column inches to Britain’s record-setting temperatures this July.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine announced the birth with a story that led with the media circus surrounding the event, nothing that hundreds of “cameramen, photographers and journalists from all over the world” had congregated, waiting for the birth.
While the Frankfurter Allgemeine‘s reporter was quick to point out that despite the media circus there was little to be seen outside either Buckingham Palace or St Mary’s hospital, where the boy was born, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, a Swiss German-language newspaper, noted that the baby was greeted in Britain with “salutes, toasts with Guinness and cheering celebrities.”
The Arab press, meanwhile, carried relatively extensive coverage of the royal birth at a time of extreme social and political tension in the Middle East. Across the region, this morning’s papers carried wire stories detailing the time at which the child was born and his birth weight, as well as stories on the reaction from senior members of the British royal family.
Meanwhile, many with a less monarchist slant seized the opportunity to poke fun at the institution of British royalty.
“Woman Has Baby” was the cover story of this week’s Private Eye, a British political satire magazine.
In the United States, where the British royal family is a perennial topic of interest, the tabloid newspapers reacted jubilantly to the news. However, in a country that prides itself on having rejected the British monarchy over 250 years ago, the major broadsheets were somewhat more circumspect in their coverage.
The New York Times acidly noted that the birth “gave Britain a chance to celebrate itself by connecting its past to its present, something it is especially good at.”
At the same time, the Washington Post asked incredulously, “This baby is . . . an important baby?” before answering its own question: “Yes—he is the future king of England. Which is only slightly less momentous than a future queen of England would have been.”
In France, long known for its republican sentiment, Le Monde ran a blog with photoshopped images of the young royal couple in scenes from the Disney film, The Lion King, alongside more staid birth announcements.
The Greek press, meanwhile, were quite subdued in reporting the event despite the historical ties between the monarchies of Britain and the Mediterranean state. In their coverage of England on Tuesday, most preferred to lead with the story of British prime minister David Cameron’s crackdown on internet pornography.